Monday, 18 February 2019

Unrequited Love, Unrelenting bigotry - The Eastern Eye: Column by Dr.Utpal K Banerjee


Cyrano de Bergerac, the famous 1897 play by the dramatist-poet Edmond Rostand, is cast in the mould of the proverbial parable of 'Beauty and the Beast', except that the Beast here uses the vision of a handsome, yet dumb male upfront - as a friend to support -- to entice the incurably romantically-minded Beauty through recitations and verses. Only at the very end, the Beauty realises that the Beast was her destined lover, Cyrano. Rostand's memorable dialogue alludes to the final recognition: The Beauty says: I love you. And the Beast's ugliness falls like a magic veil...

Syed Waliullah (1922 - 1971) was a Bangladeshi novelist, short-story writer and playwright, whose 1948 award-winning debut novel, Lal Salu (translated by the author, calling his English version as 'Tree without Roots'), castigated fundamentalism and religious bigotry in Islam - as perpetuated by orthodox self-seekers - with whiplash sarcasm. Made into a memorable film, Lal Salu -- by Bangladesh's prime cineaste, Tanvil Mokammel -- went on to win many laurels.


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Saturday, 16 February 2019

Sight for the gods: Rukmini Devi's Ramayana - Footloose and fancy free with Dr. Sunil Kothari


It is no exaggeration when I write 'sight for the gods.' The eternal appeal of Ramayana and its six series presentation by Rukmini Devi transports us to another world. I had first seen it in Mumbai at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan during the World Vegetarian Congress. I was under a spell. I had never seen anything so aesthetically beautiful in all its departments, be it music, lighting, sets, design, costumes, dancing, abhinaya - the overall impression was indelible. I still see before my eyes Adyar Lakshman enacting the role of Dasaratha, Dhananjayan and Balagopalan as Rama and Lakshmana, in that unforgettable sequence of Sita's anxiety if someone else would break the bow, and looking from a window, the way one young Uma as Sita was framed. Even after sixty one years, the impression remains so vivid!

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Monday, 11 February 2019

A good start on discussions on Dance Issues by Academy - Taalam: column by Leela Venkataraman

Unlike the past when dance was only to be practiced and seen, today there is a willingness to discuss issues in the world of dance and it is encouraging that a body like the Music Academy has taken the step of organizing Dance Discussions coinciding with its annual festival of dance. Still in its nascent stages, this small beginning can lead to more ambitious interactions. Conceptualised by Kami Vishwanathan and Sujata Vijayaraghavan, the first discussion on 'Teaching 21st century skills through classical dance' (which is another way of looking at what classical dance offers for the world and concerns of today), had Rajika Puri now settled in the USA as Moderator. Nalini Prakash, a board-certified dance/movement therapist and co-director of Spilling Ink, a multi arts organization in Washington D.C, spoke about the collective empathy and multi sensory expression derived out of learning not just Bharatanatyam but other art expressions (from puppetry to pottery, she became more exposed to in Spilling Ink) , which she as a certified movement therapist draws on to help set right the disconnect in body, mind and spirit in her clients. She finds the non threatening language flowing from these arts most suitable vocabulary for a movement therapist.

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Monday, 4 February 2019

The Youth Brigade of Odissi - The Eastern Eye: Column by Dr.Utpal K Banerjee


How does grooming of a classical dance form for the tiny tots make progress from year to year -- under the vigilant eyes of a dedicated teacher? It was a rare opportunity for this critic to observe four budding artistes - Asmita Kar, Tanishka Roy, Moumita Pal and Shinjinee Bhattacharya -- literally grow from last year's Taranga Dance Festival to this year's event, nurtured with the loving care of Nandini Ghoshal, a second-generation Odissi guru. Nandini herself was first initiated into her classical style under Poushali Chatterjee of Kolkata and then received a sustained teaching process under the redoubtable Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra for 17 long years, graduating into the leading roles of his dance dramas thereafter. Handed over the reins for youngsters now, how did Nandini handle her onerous mission?

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Saturday, 2 February 2019

Ensemble productions in three dance traditions in Drishti National Dance Festival - Taalam: column by Leela Venkataraman


For some reason, Bengaluru's Drishti Art Foundation's annual festival is called the National Dance Festival - which can mean everything or hardly anything. But what held my attention was the Art foundation established by T.M. Vikranth and artiste Anuradha Vikranth, the curator of this event. Visiting the studio with its indoor and outdoor spaces, and having a brief interaction with a few of the students, I was struck afresh with a sense of irony, about Bharatanatyam which despite its many students does not easily attract large audiences for its performances, holding such a fascination for many youngsters qualifying for or already qualified in, other-than-dance professions like medicine, law, teaching, science etc. From a scientist father-in-law with deep fascination for the arts, and a life partner in Mr. Vikranth working round the clock supervising out-of-performance matters, Drishti Art Foundation is more like a family enterprise established by T.M. Vikranth and Anuradha Vikranth with Dr. T.M. Manjunath as chief patron. From what one could make out, the aim of the foundation was not just the Dhristhi or (treating people to) a view of the arts but also educating them by bringing about an awareness through the experience of seeing - leading hopefully, to more discerning audiences.

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Friday, 1 February 2019

Roving Eye curated by Anita Ratnam - February 2019

Anita says...February 2019

HOPE has two daughters
Their names are ANGER and COURAGE
Anger at the way things are
And Courage to see that they do not remain as they are
- St Augustine of Hippo

When it's over, I want to say, 
All my life I was married to amazement
I was the bridegroom, taking the world in my arms
- Mary Oliver, American poet 

A loud round of cheers for two wonderful dancers we admire! NARTHAKI NATARAJ and PRABHU DEVA. Bharatanatyam has been their cornerstones and both have taken it in different directions with stunning success. On stage and on screen, these artistes have created an aesthetic and kinetic that is being admired and applauded. 
NARTHAKI, student of Natyacharya Kitappa Pillai
PRABHU DEVA, student of Natyacharya Udupi Lakshminarayana
MILENA SALVINI, for her contribution to Kathakali 
PADMASHRI AWARDEES - TAKE A BOW! 

And congratulations to all the performing artistes in theatre, various music genres and other folk arts who were recognized by the Government of India.

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