Masters in their own fields to walk the honour ramp - Odissi exponent, tabla maestro and veteran actors to get Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Award

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  • Published 3.09.14

Bhubaneswar, Sept. 2: Four stalwarts from different fields will get the Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Award on September 9. Each of the artistes has contributed immensely to their art forms.

Odissi dance guru Sudhakar Sahoo, 80, started learning Odissi vocal from his father at the age of seven and gotipua dance at the age of eight from Guru Duryodhan Mohanty of Cuttack and Jayaram Kundu of Jajpur. He was also a disciple of Guru Debaprasad Das and received training in Odissi music from Guru Sangeet Sudhakar Balakrishna Das.

After joining Annapurna Theatre, Cuttack as a dancer in 1951, he made a mark with many memorable performances such as the play Para Kalam. He has composed a number of abhinayas, pallavis, dance dramas and folk dance items and was also an accomplished artiste of ‘Bandha Nrutya’ in Gotipua.

The winner of Odisha Sangeet Natak Academy Award in 1992 among various honours from private cultural organisations, Sahoo said he was humbled to receive an award named after the legendary Odissi exponent now.

“Kelu babu was not only a great artiste but a wonderful human being. I will accept the token of love named after him as a souvenir from the amazing person himself,” said Sahoo.

Another special artiste to be honoured is Niranjan Satpathy. Born in 1927 in Bhanjanagar, he studied intermediate in Arts at the air force during the Second World War.

After serving in the air force during the war in India, Singapore and Japan, he got repatriated to India in 1947 and got a release from active service and was selected to be a sergeant under Orissa police. Instead, he took to stage as a professional actor.

As an artiste at Annapurna Theatre-A group since 1947, he became a household name with the plays Buxi Jagabandu and Ghara Sansar. He formed a union of the artistes with the help of the then chief minister Biju Patnaik and built a stage in Cuttack in 1952 and thus was born the theatrical institution under the style and name of Janata Rangamancha.

He has produced many plays and directed more than 25 of them at Janata Rangamancha. He has also had a 45-year career with All India Radio. He is known for the 1950 film Sri Jagannath and others such as Ghara Bahuda, Ghara Sansar, Adina Megha, Nijhum Ratira Sathi and so on. He has been awarded by Odisha Sangeet Natak Academy for his contribution to theatre.

Tabla exponent Pandit Umesh Kar will also be awarded with the Kelucharan Mohapatra award this year. Known as one of the finest tabla artistes from Odisha, he hails from Puri. A disciple of his father Badya Vinod Khetra Mohan Kar and Pandit Jnanprakash Ghosh, he plays tabla in Farukkhabad and Delhi styles. With more than 50 years of hard discipline and dedication in music, Umesh is known for his charismatic taals and rhythms he creates on the tabla. He has mastered instruments such as mrudangam, dholak and mardala and has accompanied great artistes such as Ustad Bismillah Khan, Pandit Ravishankar, Pandit V.G. Jog and Girija Devi. He is a recipient of Sangeet Natak Academy Award and the State Governor Award.

Film personality Prashanta Nanda, who was a jury member for the awards for the last 15 years, will also be presented with the award this year. He started as a child artiste and has successfully forayed into the fields of acting, direction and production.

He has also been a storywriter, dialogue writer, screenplay writer, lyricist, music director and playback singer. Apart from receiving many national and state awards for his films, he was given the Jayadev award for lifetime contribution to films by the culture department.

“Kelucharan Mohapatra is a legend and this award means a lot to me. More than a recognition, I will accept it to express my respect towards him,” said Nanda.