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IN HONOUR OF THE BARD

Rabindranath Tagore received the Nobel prize in literature for Gitanjali on November 13, 1913, exactly 100 years ago. To celebrate the centenary of Rabindranath Tagore receiving the Nobel prize, Bhowanipore Baikali Association presented a dazzling evening of poetry, music and dance at the Science City auditorium on November 13. Spearheaded by Pramita Mallick, a wonderful Rabindrasangeet singer and an impeccable organizer, Thou Hast Made Me Endless was a presentation with a difference. Every minute detail was dealt with care and concern to arrange a flawless programme.

It was crisp and precise with a galaxy of artists on the stage. Soumitra Chatterjee, Sharmila Tagore, Harsh Neotia, Lee Alison Sibley and Sangeeta Datta read and recited from Gitanjali. Sugata Bose, a Harvard University professor, was made the master of ceremony.

Interspersed with their reading and narration, dance and songs were presented in an easy pace. The chorus of 200 singers from Baikali Association was marked by practice, precision and perfection. A special chorus was presented by senior singers like Srikanta Acharya, Rezwana Chowdhury Bonya, Swagatalakshmi Dasgupta, Lopamudra Mitra, Indrani Sen, Srabani Sen, Indranil Sen and others. They sang “Tumi kemon kore gaan karo hey guni” in an engaging manner. The song was arranged in a unique manner.

Sharmila Tagore was restrained yet emotive in her recitation of “Aji hote shato barsho pore” and its English version. Soumitra Chatterjee was simple, sophisticated and uninhibited. Sharmila Biswas and her group danced with the song, “Amare tumi asesh korechho” in the Odissi style. Biswas was expressive herself and her group’s choreography reflected an imaginative vision, but then, all Tagore songs are not suitable for choreography. Another presentation by them was with the song, “Jagate ananda jajne”, with Saswati Garai Ghosh as the lead dancer.

Pramita Mallick rendered “Ei to tomar prem ogo” in her spontaneous manner, and Priti Patel intelligently choreographed it in the Manipuri style with manjira. The song is refreshing and serene, and dancers in white dresses with bright red tassels and with manjiras in their hands made the performance visually appealing. Costume or aharya is important for choreographies such as this one.

The performance of “Sundaro bote tabo angad khani” by Manipuri martial art dancers (picture) was exceptional and captivating. Only male artists performed with this song. Purbita Mukherjee presented an enjoyable number with the song, “Alo amar alo”, combining the Manipuri, Bharatnatyam and Kathak styles. Alakananda Roy danced with “Aji jharer rate”, with Pramita Mallick as the vocalist. The senior Manipuri dancer, Purnima Ghosh, was agile and expressive, defying her age. The Mamata Shankar ballet troupe maintained their signature style in their performance. The programme ended with “Ekti namaskare probhu” — all the dancers and singers participated in the grand finale.