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GRAND NARRATIVES

The Mahabharat is one of the major Sanskrit epics of ancient India. It has been presented in different genres of art like drama, film, serial, literary work and so on. Artists have the freedom of presenting and investing this vast epic with a great philosophical significance according to their understanding. It is not easy to penetrate the depth of the theme and, at the same time, to maintain the form of the presentation. Soumyajit and Sourendra presented Mahabharata, a live stage musical, at G.D. Birla Sabhagar recently. Keeping in mind the epicís variety, universality and the enormity of its scope, Soumyajit and Sourendra crafted the production in a novel manner ó a Broadway-style presentation, as they characterized their production.

According to them, just as Veda Vyasa had crafted the Mahabharat as a melting pot of narratives and characters, so they had included different forms of music and dance to enhance their interpretation of his vision. So we saw Bhishma as a dhrupad singer while Draupadi was a Bharatnatyam dancer. Krishna sang thumri and Shakuni was a contemporary dancer. The Pancha Pandavas were a team of a capella singers while Duryodhana was a jazz vocalist: Dhritarashtra sang Tagore songs, Ganesh was a Chhau dancer: Karna was an orator while Gandhari performed Arabian music. Thus thumri, ghazal, jazz, Tagore and dhrupad all merged to create grandeur. The costumes were designed accordingly. Harsh Neotia played the role of Vyasa, Sourendra and Soumyajit of Reader and Krishna respectively. Souraja Tagore, a brilliant Bharatnatyam dancer, did justice to her portrayal of Draupadi as a humiliated and avenging queen. Ganesh as Chhau dancer was not impressive. Anirban Bhattacharya ,with his clear diction and powerful expression, was apt as Karna. The set was appropriately designed by Soumik and Piyali.

Shatabdi Nrityayan presented an evening of Odishi dance at the ICCR to celebrate its 14th anniversary. The programme featured students and teachers of the institution under the guidance of Guru Durgacharan Ranbir. Directed by Shatabdi Mallick, a talented Odishi dancer who has nurtured the style of Guru Debaprasad Das, the evening began with mangalacharan followed by an abhinaya by Leena Das. Choreographed by Durgacharan Ranbir, pallavi, a pure dance based on Raga Bajrakanti, was enjoyable. The duet presentation by Manoj Kumar Pradhan and Shatabdi Mallick showed practice and understanding of the art form. Mallick excelled in her abhinaya number choreographed by Debaprasad Das. The next presentation was a Sambalpuri folk dance, performed by the students of the institution. It was lively and energetic. The programme came to an end with a dance-drama, Buddha.