The first physical cultural festival in the country, and the second in the world after Venice International Film Festival in the post-lockdown time was virtually inaugurated yesterday evening amid much fanfare by Chief Minister Mr. Naveen Patnaik. “The beautiful open-air auditorium at Konark has witnessed several prolific performances with the grand Konark Sun Temple at their backdrop.
This land is aptly called Utkala, given the synergy it witnesses among India’s classical dances including Odissi, Bharatanatyam, Manipuri, Kathakali, Kathak, Kuchipudi and Sattriya. This celebration has been made possible by the untiring and united efforts of Government of Odisha which has courageously tackled every challenge posed by the pandemic. It is our firm belief that the show must go on”, Mr. Pattnaik said in his virtual opening address.
The opening performance was presented by the Bhubaneswar based Orissa Dance Academy, with the recitals of ‘Shivam Dimahi’ and ‘The Question’ choreographed by the senior danseuse and guru Aruna Mohanty. Whereas ‘Shivam Dimahi’ was a tribute to Natraj, the Lord of Dance, ‘The Question’ was an emotive and colourful narration about how we human beings have been constantly seeking answers from our own divine inner-self.
As the subsequent recital of the evening, Sridevi Nrityalay, Chennai presented a series of renditions under the title ‘Sivaya Namah’, viz. Chāpumālika Alārippu, Natesha Kauthuvam, Varnam, Kalabhairava Ashtakam, Shankara Srigiri and Sivan Mangalam et al. The group performed under the able guidance of the Bharatanatyam dance exponent Sheela Unnikrishnan.
Bharatanatyam as a dance form heavily leaned on abhinaya, and the dancer expresses her emotions through the nritya with movement and mime, followed by shabdam and varnam. The varnam which is the most important composition of the Bharatanatyam repertoire encompasses both nritta and nritya.
The dance performances were streamed live on Plasma TVs mounted on the beach and social media sites to be witnessed by the larger public.
It is to be mentioned that the seats for the viewers at the venue are put having enough gap in between to adhere to the Covid-19 protocol, and the total number of 500 viewers are allowed to physically witness the 5-day festival rhythm and dance.
(The writer is a Senior Journalist and National Award winning Filmmaker)