Dying folk art fest concludes - Performances by artistes from across state

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By NAMITA PANDA
  • Published 28.03.11
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Bhubaneswar, March 27: Stellar performances at the Dying Folk Art Festival blew away controversies over arrangements made by the organisers Orissa Sangeet Natak Akademi.

The festival showcased performing arts from different parts of the state that are struggling for survival concluded on Saturday.

While there was displeasure among a section of the audience about the late commencement of the event on the first day, some others were upset about banners having ignored the use of Oriya completely.

“We saw the artistes waiting in line at the entrance of the auditorium to receive the culture minister. Rather, the artistes being guests here should have been welcomed,” said Sanjukta Biswal, who had come to watch the performance. While the fascinating dhumpa sangeet from Ganjam district was the highlight of Friday evening, on the concluding day it was Keonjhar’s rod puppet, better known as kathi kandhei, that cast a spell on the audience.

The dhumpa music was played by a troupe of 10 musicians on different percussion instruments. The main instrument was the cylindrical hollow bamboo, wrapped in colourful zari. Four musicians played the instrument with sticks to produce a peculiar beat that created foot-tapping music.

Kathi kandhei by Magunicharan Kuanr was a play by the beautifully carved rodpuppets that were dressed and painted. A performance from an episode of Ramayana, was filled with humour and folk music. Among other folk arts performed at the festival on the last two days was Sabda Swarapata by artistes from Bargarh district where young girls wearing costumes similar to Odissi performed a unique dance form on Sanskrit shlokas or hymns. Geeti natya or folk dance drama was captivating with the artistes staging a portion from the Mahabharata. Accompanied with music and songs, the drama was performed impressively.

Similarly, the well-known Rama Leela, that too has been pushed to the dark by modern options of entertainment, was a nostalgic experience for many viewers. The story of Lord Rama was performed by male artistes, who played the female characters.

“I remember having watched Rama Leela as a kid in Cuttack. But today, it has simply vanished,” recalled Debi Prasad. “It used to go on all night. But the restrictions for sound pollution and the lack of support for the art form has spelled doom for it,” he said.