Saturday 4 May 2019

Samsmaranam: 15th anniversary of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra - Footloose and fancy free with Dr. Sunil Kothari

Srjan, Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Odissi Nrityabasa presented a two day program of Odissi dance by Srjan Ensemble and Shivagni Musical Ensemble on 6th and 7th April at Rabindra Bhavan at Jalpaiguri, West Bengal. I was told by senior local Kathak dancer Kuntal Raha that she had seen Guruji on television for the first time and invited him to Jalpaiguri in the year 1998. Many saw Guruji and were completely won over by his affectionate nature, minus any arrogance that he was a great guru. 

Paushali Mukherjee, a disciple of Guruji and also a mardala player, a student from Rabindra Bharati University trained in turn many young disciples, among whom was Pompi Paul from Jalpaiguri, who established Kalpodrum institution there to start teaching Odissi. Two years ago, Pompi arranged an evening of Odissi dance in Jalpaiguri but I could not make it. However, this year I got an opportunity when Guruji's son Ratikant Mohapatra, after visiting Jalpaiguri for a workshop, accepted the suggestion of Ritu, a member of Srjan Ensemble, to have Guruji's 15th anniversary program in his memory in Jalpaiguri. With help of her brother-in-law and renowned theatre director, actor Amalkumar Sengupta, Srjan planned a major event including Shivagni Music Ensemble. Thereby hangs a tale.

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