29th OMC Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Award Festival 2023: An Ode To Classical Dance & Music

Bhubaneswar: In its 30th year of establishment, the iconic Odissi dance institution Srjan—Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Odissi Nrityabasa (instituted on September 3, 1993) is hosting its annual classical dance and music festival in memory of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, with the aim of creating and sustaining awareness of our classical traditions in dance and music. Being organised in collaboration with Sri Sri University (SSU), Cuttack from September 5–9 at Rabindra Mandap at 7 pm every day, the 29th OMC Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra (GKCM) Award Festival 2023, is a premier event in the cultural calendar of Odisha since 1995.

After the auspicious lighting of the lamp and formal commencement of the Award Festival, the welcome address by Guru Ratikant Mohapatra, Director, Srjan and Dean, Faculty of Arts, Communication and Indic Studies (FACIS), SSU was followed by speeches by the eminent guests of honour, Shri Ashwini Kumar Patra, Minister of State, Tourism, Odia Literature Language and Culture, Excise; Prof (Dr.) BR Sharma, Vice Chancellor, Sri Sri University, Cuttack; Shri Ashok Tripathy, Former Member, Board of Revenue, Government of Odisha & Independent Director, Steel Authority of India Limited; and Shri Pankaj Lochan Mohanty, Managing Director, MGM Minerals.

This edition of the Award Festival will have solo dance performances accompanied by a live orchestra in the first half every evening, followed by music recitals in the second half. In line with this festival design, the inaugural evening opened with a stellar Odissi dance recital by Shashwati Garai Ghosh from Kolkata, a seasoned Odissi dancer and senior disciple of renowned Odissi guru Sharmila Biswas. In her two-part presentation, she commenced with a befitting invocation to Goddess Devi, Mahamaya, who is the embodiment of life, the divine effulgence of worldly existence. This presentation choreographed by Ghosh was set to the music composition of Srijan Chatterjee.

She concluded with a beautiful abhinaya, adapted to the Odissi idiom by Guru Sharmila Biswas from a choreography of Guru Kalanidhi Narayanan. Based on a shloka from the Šrī Krishnakarṇāmrutam composed by the 13th century Sanskrit poet, Shri Bilvamangala, Ghosh presented Ramo Nama Babhuva, the endearing story of mother Yashoda putting a reluctant and tiresome baby Krishna to sleep by narrating to him, the epic Ramayana. Her recital was interlaced with a nuanced abhinaya exploring Vatsalya Rasa, while the invocation showed the power and finesse of her nritta and abhinaya in consonance. She was accompanied on the violin by Suramani Ramesh Chandra Das, on the flute by Srinibas Satapathy, on the Mardala by Budhanath Swain and on vocals by Rajesh Kumar Lenka.

This was followed by a recital by the Carnatic violin duo of Lalgudi GJR Krishnan and Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi from Chennai, fifth-generation exponents of the Shishya Parampara of Saint Tyagaraja. They began by exploring the musical nuances of Raga Kalyani, seamlessly transitioning between improvisation, sawaal-jawaab, and structured melodic patterns both in the violin and the percussion, accompanied on the Mridangam by Kuchibhotla Sai Giridhar and the Kanjira by S. Sunil Kumar, mesmerising the audience with their distinctive musical brilliance showcasing both their individual identities and dual synergies. After this composition of the great Saint Tyagaraja, they went on to present a composition of one of the three jewels of Carnatic music, Muthuswamy Dikshitar. As a tribute to Guru Shri Kelucharan Mohapatra, they then presented the timeless ashtapadi of Shri Jayadeva, Kuru Yadu Nandana, and completed their captivating evening of music with a composition by their father, the great Vidwan Lalgudi G. Jayaraman, in the Raga Sindhu Bhairavi.

The second evening of the festival on September 6 will commence with a recital by Kathak exponent, Shila Mehta, accompanied on the tabla by Vivek Mishra and Amitangshu Kumar Brahma, on the Sarod by Sunando Mukherjee, and on vocals by Jaydeep Sinha, followed by the Hindustani vocal rendition by Jayateerth Mevundi, aided by Narahari V. on the Tabla and Anushula More on the Harmonium.

The entire festival has been curated, conceptualised, and designed by Guru Ratikant Mohapatra, with the programme execution by Debiprasad Mishra.




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