Friday 6 August 2021

Dance at dawn - The Eastern Eye: Column by Dr.Utpal K Banerjee

'Bandish' is a pan-Indian lexicon for the text of classical music or the libretto of a specific song. Interestingly, it resonates with the Bengali word 'Bandi', meaning 'the one in bondage', and makes one immediately hum Kazi Nazrul Islam's inspiring hymn: Iron gates of captive jail / Break them down, let freedom prevail...The yearlong pandemic lockdown prevailed with dark, dreary nights with everything going bleak and virtual and their apparent recession just at the moment glows with some hope, to be welcomed by open-armed physical bonhomie - could this lull permit a brief song-and-dance workout? The reverberations do hark back to the 1950s' Hollywood romantic blockbuster, Singin' in the Rain, with Gene Kelly's joyous steps and aerial leaps filling the screen in a perfect Music Hall routine amidst pouring downpours.

Bandish Arts, a recent non-profit organization set up for artists' welfare and assured payment for performance (to replace "pay and perform" mentality) founded by Swati Athmanathan - a Chennai based disciple of Guru CV Chandrasekhar and Santanu Roy, a Kolkata based disciple of Samrat Dutta --promoted, during the brief respite in lockdown some elements of performing arts on, first, online platform and covered 100 episodes of performances and interactive sessions in the entire globe and later opening up in the physical form. Later, it curated Bandish Arts - Season2 for Kolkata Chapter on March 12 at 'Rangkarmee Usha Ganguly Manch,' a studio theatre created in the memory of Usha Ganguly, the doyen of Hindi theatre in Kolkata, whom the Bharatanatyam dance world had gifted to the metropolis and whom the city lost during the pandemic.

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