Shila Mehta’s Kathak Recital Enthrals Audience In Odisha Capital

Bhubaneswar: The second evening of the 29th OMC Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Award Festival featured the much-awaited performance by Kathak exponent Shila Mehta and HIndustani vocal by Jayateerth Mevundi.

The evening commenced on Wednesday with the lighting of the lamp by the chief guests Odisha’s Tourism and Culture Minister Ashwini Kumar Patra, Head, Corporate Affairs of Paradeep Phosphates Limited S R MIshra; East Coast Railway General Manager Manoj Sharma; music composer and singer Lakshmikant Palit, and festival director Guru Ratikant Mohapatra.

The programme commenced with a solo Kathak dance recital by Shila Mehta of the Lucknow Gharana and the founder-director of Nupur Zankar Academy of Performing Arts and Research Centre, Mumbai. She was accompanied on the live orchestra by Sunando Mukherjee on the Sarod, Vivek Mishra and  Amitangshu Kumar Brahma on the Tabla, and Jaydeep Sinha on Vocals.

Her recital comprised three eclectic and beautiful dance presentations that stayed true to the integrity of her Gharana. Commencing with the powerful Shiva Stuti, the dance and music composition of which were directed by her Guru, the renowned Pt. Vijay Shankar, Shila Mehta later moved on to an eclectic Bhava Tihai in Teen Taal, illustrating pure nritta sequences characteristic to Kathak, portraying Gopucha—the gaits of different animals, representing the rhythmic flow and ebb of the waves of the ocean through the movement oeuvre of Kathak, and bringing life to the bhava of the episode of Sita Haran from the Ramayana. In the style of the legendary maestro Pt. Birju Maharaj, the incredible vitality of life was brought to the fore through the subtleties and nuances of the Kathak idiom as Shila Mehta’s years of experience immensely enhanced the aesthetics of the performance.

Her third and final presentation was Geetasara, the epic dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna and the episode of the Vishwarupa Darshana. This exploration into the divine vision that Arjuna was bestowed with was a befitting finale to the dance recital. The synchronous musical accompaniment, dramatic lighting, and appealing stage effects added to the climax of this composition.

The second recital for the evening was by feted Hindustani Vocalist and torchbearer of the Kirana Gharana, Jayateerth Mevundi with  Anushula More on the Harmonium and Narahari V. on the Tabla, whose musical accompaniment added great depth to Jayateerth Mevundi’s harmonious surrender to the divine on the auspicious occasion of Sri Krishna Janmashtami. With a diverse spread of bhajans and presentations in obeisance to the endearing Lord Krishna, Jayateerth Mevundi’s absolute Bhakti enraptured the audience, who were captivated till the very end by his mellifluous voice.

The third evening on Thursday will feature a Bharatanatyam solo by the renowned P. Praveen Kumar, known for his technical virtuosity and inspiring professionalism. This will be followed by the Sitar recital of Niladri Kumar, acclaimed world-over for his stellar Sitar performances and his pioneering work on the Zitar.

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