Saturday, 18 October 2014

Interview - Jhelum 60, Smitalay 25 - Lalitha Venkat

Jhelum Paranjape is a leading dancer, teacher and choreographer of Odissi. Her school Smitalay is the dance wing of Sane Guruji Arogya Mandir, where Odissi is actively taught and performed. Jhelum’s long-standing association with her guru and mentor Kelucharan Mohapatra has blossomed into a beautiful and creative relationship with Odissi.
Noted for her originality in choreography, technique and stage design, her versatility ranges from classical Odissi dance to experimental dance movements. She reaches out to the audiences by creating new mediums for expressing unique contemporary issues through her dance. Some of her popular productions include ‘Leelavati’ showcasing mathematics through dance, ‘Bollywood Hungama Odissi Ishtyle’ of Odissi dance choreographed to old and new Hindi film songs from the 40’s to the present day, ‘Jalasri’ depicting conservation of water and nature, ‘Meghadoot’ based on a Marathi translation of Kalidasa’s epic Meghadootam, ‘Savitri Vadatey’ conveying the importance of women education. Her solo productions include ‘Jani mhaney’ based on the abhangs of saint poet Janabai and ‘Maeri’ portraying the bond of motherhood.

Smitalay completes 25 years on 17th October 2014. The start of a yearlong celebration is a 5 day festival spread over 4 venues in Mumbai featuring 6 of Smitalay’s productions. Jhelum talks about her dance journey. 

Read the interview in the site


  1. Wonderful interview with my Guruji! The only thing the article misses is her unique teaching methods, where Jhelum Tai adapts to what the student needs. She truly implements a "no child left behind" policy, so long as the student is motivated! Must be from her years as a professor =).

  2. I have been blessed to have been a student of Jhelumtai ever since I was 11. All those have learned from her will agree with me that she is the best teacher one could ask for and hence most loved by all. She is very progressive,open ,creative, supportive, affectionate, understanding and positive which shows through all her work and even in this interview. Leaving the city of Mumbai, going far from her and the comfort zone of Smitalay, learning from different teachers, getting exposure to different world has made me realise all the more how lucky I am to have her in my life. :-)

  3. Reaching out to a larger section of audience is really commendable but usage of any other language except Odia & Sanskrit is like tampering the basics of the dance form. The classicality of Odissi has been detoriating to such an extent that, few people are using Ravindra sangeet instead of Odia or Sanskrit songs & using Dugi Tabla as a replacement of traditional Odissi Mardal.............

  4. To a great surprise few people are so smart that, they even use Hindustani music instead of Odissi music. Does simply wearing a Bengapatia around the hip & a Tahia on the head and swinging on the stage is ODISSI?