Nothing could be a more befitting tribute to Odissi maestro late Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra than the five-day Indian classical dance and music festival organised annually. A decade old, the Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra awards festival-2013 saw stunning performances by renowned artistes at Rabindra Mandap here.
While Odissi danseuse Bijayani Satpathy from the Nrutyagram, Bangalore opened the festival with Parvatipanchaka, an invocation to the female form of the divinity, tabla exponent Nayan Ghosh set the rhythm of the fest with a blend of toda, tukda, tihai, chakradhar, paran in teen tal. Tributes were paid to the doyen of Odissi music Pandit Raghunath Panigrahi on the inaugural day on September 5.
On the second day, Pandit Ulhas Kasalkar won hearts of audience with his soulful singing of Bilambita Tiliwada in Raag Behag and a bandish Kise Bijari Chamka set to Raag Kafi, while Deepak Maharaj, son and disciple of Kathak legend Pandit Birju Maharaj presented Kathak.
The third evening of the festival was opened by flute maestro Ronu Mazumdar. Accompanied by Atul Raninga on keyboard, Ramdas Palsule on tabla and Mukul Dongrey on western drum, Mazumdar presented different musical genres including Bollywood, Indian, Jazz and classical.
Bharatnatyam dancer Rama Vaidyanathan presented her own composition Mayuri Allaripu, showing the different moods of a peacock on the fourth evening. This was followed by sitar player Purbayan Chatterjee’s presentation of different musical notes with melody in Rag-Anandikalyan set to taal Rupak, Drut-Tintal, Madhyallaya-Ektal, Gat-Alap, Jod, Jhala and Gat. He was accompanied by Anubrata Chatterjee in tabla. The concluding day was another delightful evening for the viewers when artistes from Srjan, which had organised the festival, showcased their new production Geetamrutam, a story from the epic Mahabharata.
This year, the Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra awards for 2013 were conferred on Shankar Behera and Ghanashyam Panda for their contribution to the field of Odissi dance and music, respectively. Behera’s dancing career, spread over four decades, began under Kelucharan Mohapatra’s tutelage. Similarly, Panda joined Utkal Sangeet Mahavidyalaya in 1965 and was trained under legends such as Guru Singari Shyam Sundar Kar, Nrusingha Nath Khuntia, Sangeet Sudhakar Balakrushna Das and Guru Gopal Chandra Panda. As solo and accompanying vocalist, he has extensively toured India and abroad with Kelucharan Mohapatra and many other dancers. He has sung for 20 Odia films and one Hindi film and has significantly contributed to the growth of Odissi music.
Instituted in 1995 in the honour of the dance maestro, the annual Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra award is given to artistes who have contributed to performing arts. The award is given in four fields - dance, music, theatre and cinema - all of which the guru was associated with in his long career. The award comprises Rs 50,000 in each field along with a citation for lifetime achievement.
Organiser Ratikant Mohapatra of Srjan, son of Kelucharan Mohapatra, said that the aim of the festival was to create awareness and to sustain the traditions of classical dance and music.