Fest follows guruji's footsteps

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By NAMITA PANDA
  • Published 1.09.11
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Bhubaneswar, Aug. 31: An annual dance and music festival, founded by eminent Odissi dancer Kelucharan Mohapatra 16 years ago, will showcase some eminent musicians and dancers this year.

The festival organised by Srjan, Mohapatra’s dance school, will begin on September 7 in the city. The Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Awards to be given during the festival were announced today.

Reputed Odissi dancer Kumkum Mohanty, one of the distinguished disciples of Mohapatra, would be conferred with the award for her lifetime contribution to dance, while veteran film actress Gloria Mohanty would receive the award in the field of cinema, said Srjan director and Odissi guru Ratikant Mohapatra.

Kumkum is widely recognised for her immaculate abhinaya (a dance form) in Odissi. Her special contribution to the classical dance form is her efforts towards setting up the Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Odissi Research Centre in 1984. She also guided the publication of Odissi Pathfinder, a guidebook laying down the detail codification of Odissi steps.

The danseuse fondly remembered her guru on the occasion and said it was his blessings that had always helped her perform.

“Even today, when I perform on stage, the images of guruji’s directions come alive and I follow them automatically. I feel, at that moment I’m at my best on the stage,” said the septuagenarian dancer.

Gloria, who has been active in cinema for the past six decades since her first film Sri Jagannath in 1949, was also elated to hear the news. “It is God’s grace that people still love me,” she said.

The five-day festival will feature performances by ghazal singer Jagjit Singh, flute exponent Pravin Godkhindi, a kathak recital by Uma Dogra, hindustani pakhwaj recital by Pandit Bhawani Shankar, bharatnatyam by Priyadarshini Govind, Mohan Veena by Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt accompanied by Pandit Kumar Bose on tabla, mohiniattam by Sunanda Nair, violin recital by Kala Ramnath accompanied by Md Akram Khan on tabla.

Ratikant and his disciples from Srjan will present their new production Ravan, the music for which has been composed by Debasish Sarkar.

“The festival was founded by my father with a view to popularise music and dance among the viewers as well as encourage and promote talented artistes. Though his absence has been felt for the past six years, we are trying to make the festival a grand cultural event,” said Ratikant.