Sunday, 17 June 2018

Portrait of a tortured artist - The Eastern Eye: Column by Dr.Utpal K Banerjee


Taray Taray presented on May 29 by Swapna Sandhani – on their 26th anniversary – was a wonderfully vivid filigree of the Van Gogh saga encapsulated at multiple levels. At one level, it is young Ritwik (essayed very well by Riddhi Sen) suffering from hallucinations that he is the torch-bearer of the past legacy of Van Gogh. Lovingly looked after by wife Sharmila (Surangama), he is undergoing treatment by a psychiatrist Ruksana (donned most competently by Reshmi Sen).  In recapitulating Holland and France as the artistic milieus of the 19th century, Van Gogh is seen as the suffering, struggling painter – remarkably brought alive by the brooding acting style of the thespian Anjan Dutta – with whom Ritwik’s life is entwined as his younger brother, Theo, who has a love-hate relationship with sibling Vincent, while supporting him financially all through his years of gnawing penury. 

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Monday, 11 June 2018

Interview - Aditi Mangaldas on 10 x 10 - Shveta Arora


Kathak exponent and guru Aditi Mangaldas recently had younger dancers of her Drishtikon Repertory Company, present short thematic pieces as part of a production called Ten By Ten. Aditi Mangaldas elaborates on how a theme becomes several different concepts and pieces and how it all goes from idea to staging.

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Saturday, 9 June 2018

Fantasy: The Ominous and the Hilarious - The Eastern Eye: Column by Dr.Utpal K Banerjee


The proscenium stage in the eastern metropolis saw recently two significant forays into the worlds of hallucination: the one of a perilous all-encompassing autocracy and the other a boisterous rock-and-roll comedy, enveloped by a darling ghost who recites sonorously from Kalidasa's Meghadootam at eleven o'clock every night! 

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Thursday, 7 June 2018

Why Kumudini Lakhia’s Kathak stands out for its presentation - Footloose and fancy free with Dr. Sunil Kothari


When Kumudini returned from London after performing with Ram Gopal and settled in Ahmedabad after her marriage with musician Rajani Lakhia, she was already an internationally renowned dancer. Her exposure to world dances, ballets, costumes, lighting and showmanship helped her a lot to improve the presentation aspects of Kathak.

She received scholarship from Govt. of India to study Kathak under Lucknow Gharana maestro Shambhu Maharaj in Delhi in late 50s. She had studied Kathak under Radhelal Mishra of Jaipur gharana and dancer Ashique Hussain Khan. However, with her innate sense of aesthetics she was not happy with the way Kathak was presented in those years. She was aware that the art she was learning was from the traditional gurus who were supported by a feudal system. And that is the first thing she planned to do away with, to free Kathak from feudal system. During the Mughal rule Kathak in courts was presented to please the rulers and the salutations were de rigour, to the ruling Nawabs.  

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Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Unexpected Odissi bonuses - Taalam: column by Leela Venkataraman


Considerable time has passed since one saw Jyoti Srivastava in a full- fledged solo Odissi performance, which is why her recital devoted purely to abhinaya, at SNA’s Meghdoot III theatre for an event featuring one senior and one junior dancer, was pleasantly surprising! Always known for her abhinaya, her centre-piece of interpretation of the eight nayikas, all strung to Oriya lyrics, was a welcome change from the routine recitals.  After the Mangalacharan with Krishna Stuti, came the Ashta-nayikas, the lyrics comprising music by Ramhari Das with rhythmic punctuations conceived by Dhaneswar Swain. The sensitively conceived dance composition was by Guru Durgacharan Ranbir. In the typical Debaprasad Das approach to Odissi, the dance was bereft of an overdose of elaborations or sancharis. But the less embroidered version, when performed with intensity, was very persuasive..... 

Seeing the glossy printed pamphlet on Swapna Rani Sinha, one wondered how a dancer who is mentioned as having achieved so much is not even known in Delhi. This disciple of Durga Charan Ranbir, sitting in Odisha’s Angul, the district headquarters, has been running a school Nrutya Nilaya, apart from organising a festival Satkosia Mahotsav at Angul, since the last six years.  But what emerged as a major surprise were the slim, well turned out, proficient dancers of her group performing at Habitat’s Stein auditorium. Swapna Rani’s own choreography of the Shiva Shatakshara Stotram set to raga Madhyamadi by  composer/singer Ramhari Das with rhythmic inputs by Guru Dhaneswar Swain in  Ata and Jati talas , saw a well coordinated group perform. In the Durgacharan Ranbir  fashion, movement is punctuated by powerful frozen moments (interpreting ideas like Shiva with the snake garlanding his neck - vasuki  kantha  bhooshanam -  or the blue throated Neelakantha lord) designed for the entire group with the well balanced dancers very still, heralding each of the syllables Na Ma Shi Va Ya ....

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Monday, 4 June 2018

Book Review - Indian Dance under Gender Radar - Dr. Utpal K Banerjee


The Moving Space: Women in Dance
Ed. By Urmimala Sarkar Munsi & Aishika Chakraborty
Primus Books, Delhi, 2018
ISBN: 978-93-86552-50-1, Rs. 1395

As the book introduces itself, it highlights the idea of the 'space' created, occupied and negotiated by women in Indian dance. It initiates a dialogue between dance scholarship and women's studies, and brings together scholars from a multidisciplinary background, emphasizing the cardinal point that research and practice have roots in both these areas. The book takes dance as a critical starting point, and endeavours to create an inclusive discourse around the female dancer and the historic, gendered and contested 'spaces' that accommodate, or are created by her. 

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Friday, 1 June 2018

Anita says...June 2018


"We should consider a day lost in which we don’t dance at least once."
- Friedrich Nietzsche (Philosopher)

May is a month of heat, holidays and hiatus.

It used to be that dancers would take a break from the searing heat to rest, recoup and reflect.
No longer. 
Too many dancers - too many platforms - too little money. The conundrum continues…

With such low expectations, dancers are content to zip their mouths and accept performance opportunities without any remuneration - in India.

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