Utsav Educational Society’s Two-day Indian Classical Dance Festival, Saare Jahan Se Accha, showcased Bharatanatyam by Rama Vaidyanathan and Mohiniyattam by Bharati Shivaji among others.
A two-day virtual classical dance festival, ‘Saare Jahan Se Accha’ organised by the Utsav Educational and Cultural Society, Ranjana’s Odissi Dance Academy in association with by Ministry of Culture Govt of India, showcased various Indian classical dances including Bharatanatyam, Mohiniyattam, Kathak and Odissi. Celebrating India’s 75 years of freedom, the event held on Nov 27 and 28, was curated by Odissi exponent and Padma Shree awardee Ranjana Gauhar.
The first day of the festival featured eminent artists including Kathak dancer Vidha Lal and Bharatanatyam exponent Rama Vaidyanathan. The dance festival started with an invocation to the divine mother in all her various manifestations, each one evokes a distinctive attribute of the Goddess as the destroyer of all that is evil and protector of her devotees in every sphere of life followed by a Pallavi in Raag Bhairav performed by the disciples of Guru Ranjana Gauhar. Both were choreographies Gauhar. Vidha Lal, a Bismillah Yuva Pururskar awardee and disciple of Kathak exponent Geetanjali Lal presented two solo pieces.
The first, “Badarwa Garajat” was a portrayal of the emotions of a young maiden where nature is intensifying her longing to be with her beloved. Following this was a “Shuddha Nritya” piece in dhrut laya highlighting the various components of the Jaipur kharana. The programmes of the first day concluded with a Bharatanatyam recital of Rama Vaidyanathan who presented an Asthapadi from the Geetha Govindam. A jealous Radha’s contradicting emotions as she is overwhelmed by the sweet memories of Krishna’s mesmerising form. Even though he mocks her while dancing the rasa dance with the other gopikas, her heart constantly revels in his unparalleled beauty.
The second day of Utsav’s classical dance festival began with an Odissi recital where Vrinda Chadha a senior disciple of Guru Ranjana Gauhar presented ‘Jukhi Ayi Badariya Sawan Ki’ based on the poetry of Mira Bai . Mira says the black clouds are swollen and filled with rain that fills my heart with joy. Meera imagines that the dark clouds as Krishna. She adorns him with garland and sandalwood paste only to realize, it is not he after all, but simply, the dark clouds. Set to Raag Megh and Taal Jati, this is an item is a choreography of Guru Ranjana Gauhar.
A Manipuri dance recital led by Sanjib Battacharya began with an invocation to the divine entities followed by Mandali Baddha Nartan. This composition is one of the last creations of Guru Bipin Singh. It is combined with very intricate and different rhythmic patterns with dance movements.
His second item Gati Prabhanda, this composition incorporates different Gaits (Gati-Sajat) of birds like Stork (Baka Gati ), Wagtail (Khanjan Gati ), Parrot (Shuka Gati). The dance movements based on Tandava aspects interpret the intricate rhythm patterns of the syllables of the drum based on talas like Tanjao, Tanchep and Menkup.
The last presentation of the evening was by Mohiniyattam Padmashree Bharati Shivaji. She presented an ashtapadi from the Gita govindam “Chandan Charichit” sung in the temples of Kerala for centuries, Gita govindam was sung as part of daily rituals. It is a living tradition even today in the Guruvayur temple. This item describes the glory of Krishna and his dalliance with the gopis while Radha is watching the beautiful gopis around Krishna.
The event was supported by India International Centre and was live cast on Utsav’s Facebook and YouTube channels.