Pracheen Kala Kendra's Golden Jubilations
Woman's Era|July 2021
Celebrating Golden Jubilee of All India Bhaskar Rao Nritya and Sangeet Sammelan.
Sudipto Mullick

Frailties in intentions are its true defeat. Despite the mandatory shelving of the golden jubilee celebration of Pracheen Kala Kendra, Chandigarh initiated All India Bhaskar Rao Nritya & Sangeet Sammelan last year — for which huge losses were factored — they nonetheless, powered through to reprise it albeit in the phygital format this year. Inevitably, the original celebratory tone of pairing the illustrious exponents who had previously illuminated this prestigious stage with their practicing progenies had to be greatly rethink owing to the ongoing pandemic.

The vestige of that schema was almost an eventuality with Padma Bhushan Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt billed to inaugurate this conference, held at Tagore Theater, alongside his son, Salil with a duet. However, senior Bhatt was held prisoner to an unanticipated health issue. He did air a congratulatory video message, after which, junior Bhatt took to a solo Satvik Veena rendition launching into raga Jogeshwari, but not before rueing the lack of prevalence of rare ragas like Gangeshwari, Kameshwari, and Parameshwari — all of which, including the one he staged, being Pandit Ravi Shankar's own inventions. One wished him to have subsidised the posturing and instead extended the equivalent earnestness to performing. He and tabla player Abhishek Mishra, both were then combined by Rajasthani folk artist & khartal player Kutla Khan — who handsomely held up his end and Paarth Koser, a cub drummer, to render a mash based on raga Bhopali, pahari and folkmusic, in succession.

During this week-long turnout, Odissi danseuse, Vidushi Sujata Mohapatra — disciple & daughter-in-law of the legendary guru Padmavibhushan Kelucharan Mohapatra, and her troupe had essayed Mangalacharan — a terpsichorean oblation to Lord Jagannatha followed by Jayadeva's Gita Govinda, choreographed by her mentor, Hansadhvani pallabi and allied items. She then soloed an evocative abhinaya-steeped Shabari before bringing in her troupe to conclude with Moksha contiguous with a hymn to the president goddess. She and her troupe were an incarnation of applied mathematics stimulated by melody. Be it core engagement, sharpness, individual/group symmetry and spatial exploration, it was blinding, none more so than the lady at its heart.

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