Saturday, 4 September 2021

Evolution of Kathak in post independent India - Taalam: column by Leela Venkataraman

Referred to as the 'Maha Kumbha' of Kathak, Sangeet Natak Akademi's marathon fifteen day festival conducted under the auspices of the Kathak Kendra, featuring interviews with art scholars and celebrated artists alongside lec/dem sessions and performances, was one of its kind - even while some of the choices in selection and those left out of the reckoning, may have caused mixed feelings. This concept of the Kathak Kendra Director Suman Kumar, curated by Subhash Chandra, running in tandem with the celebration of seventy five years of India's Independence, was titled 'Vande Maataram', (Bankim Chandra Chatopadhyay's composition based on the rich iconography in the country, saluting 'Mother India'). While many participants expressed the appropriateness of the title at this point in our history, a few others voiced the opinion that something less 'political and declamatory' would have been better. Clarified in the timetable of events as "diverse expressions in Kathak", what finally emerged in the mixed event largely stressed individual journeys in Kathak, with fleeting moments, when thinking minds communicated the message that arts cannot live in cuckoo land, cut off from the concerns of a nation.

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