Kapilas Bhuyan  

Five-Day Music & Dance Extravaganza Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Award Festival 2023 Begins September 5 at Rabindra Mandap, Bhubaneswar 

The much-awaited five-day long dance and music festival of Srjn is going to take off this evening at Rabindra Mandap, Bhubaneswar and will continue until 9th September. This is the only festival that stands out for its quality presentation and national stature over the years since 1994. While Srjn is a residential school of the disciples of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra repertoire of Odissi dance, this festival is dedicated to its founder with the title Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Award Festival.

Guru Ratikant Mohapatra, Director of Srjn and son of Guru Kelucharan puts it saying that some 30 years ago the major disciples of Guruji got together at NCPA, Mumbai and had come up with this idea of establishing a Gurukul in the name of their revered Guru. Thus, Srjn came into being as Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Odissi Nrityabasa in 1993, and had been working incessantly since then to spread the footprints of the Odissi dance on the Global arena.

During the ceremony, experts in the fields like dance, music, theater and film are being awarded for their lifetime achievements. In this line up, this year veteran artists Anant Mohapatra and Dr. Sonal Mansingh are selected for their dedication and contribution to the field of theater and dance respectively.

Besides, Rupa Gayatri Panda and Siddhi Waikar in Odissi, Vishal Krishna in Kathak and Anup Das in Odisi Music (Mardala) are also selected for the current year as the recipients of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Yuva Pratibha Award. All of them are going to be awarded during the occasion.

Every year the celebration has two segments – dance and music. In the dance segment this year the showcased dancers are Shashwati Garai Ghosh (Odissi), Shila Mehta (Kathak), P Praveen Kumar (Bharat Natyam) and Amrita Lahiri (Kuchipudi), and the musicians are Lalgudi GJR Krishnan and Lalgudi Vijaylakshmi (Violin), Jayateerth Mevundi (Hindustani Vocal), Niladri Kumar (Sitar) and Akram Khan (Tabla).

The closing performance of the festival will be an Odissi Group Presentation by Srjn Ensemble with the title AVAHANAM – Invoking Excellence in Art and Beyond, and as claimed, an amalgam of the traditional and the experimental in a bouquet of neo-classical choregraphs in Odissi dance.

Looking at the profiles of the danseuses and musicians and their statures, it can be well assumed that the recitals over these five days are going to be very exciting and jubilating.

Best wishes to Srjn.

(The writer is a Journalist, Critic and National Award winning Filmmaker.)