Chandigarh, March 20 : Captivating performance by Kathak virtuoso Shovana Narayan and Santoor maestro Tarun Bhattacharya marked the inauguration of the two-day 39th All-India Bhaskar Rao Nritya and Sangeet Sammelan here today at Tagore Theatre. Inaugurated by the Governor of Punjab and Administrator, UT Chandigarh, General (Retd.) S.F. Rodrigues, it’s one of the oldest and an annual feast of classical music and dance being organized by Pracheen Kala Kendra for the last 38 years uninterruptedly to pay homage to Gayanacharya Bhaskarbua Bakhle. Sh. S.K. Monga, IAS, Vice-Chairman, Smt. Shobha Koser, Registrar and Sh. Sajal Koser, Secretary of the Kendra also shared the dais.
The programme got off to a majestic start with mesmerizing spell by Tarun Bhattacharya’s Santoor recital. Hailed as music ambassador of India, Tarun Bhattacharya is the disciple of Bharat Ratna Pandit Ravi Shankar. He is well recognized for his raagdari — feel for melody — as well as layakari (mathematical calculations). His music possesses a rare dynamic vitality, with a highly developed aesthetic sense and an impressive command of rhythmic syncopation that touches the soul. He has introduced many innovative techniques into his playing including the use of fingernails in picking patterns by hammering with one hand and plucking with the other.
The Santoor `vadan’ by Tarun Bhattacharya showed the range of the Santoor which is generally known as an instrument with limitations, by playing “Raga Kirwani” in its varied formats of alaap, jod followed by jhala. The alaap was poised and well-paused, giving every note the chance to bloom. Notes flowed systematically and the section was punctuated by different Tihais and Taans. In jod, the rhythmic variation was enjoyable. His systematic jod bore the stamp of sound training. But it was more prominent in the jhala portion, conveyed through a different diction and designs. He produced some swift sequences with arrested resonance of the strings. It sounded quite pleasant.
He then moved on to play two rhythmic compositions set to “Jhap taal” followed by “Teen taal”. The artiste made an excellent delineation of this portion and received thunderous applause from the audience. His strokes have showed his own individual style based on unmistakable Maihar Gharana which speaks volumes of his Teyyari.
Ram Kumar Mishra kept brilliant pace with his combinations and permutations. Ram Kumar is the maternal grandson of Pandit Anokhelal Mishra and the son of Pandit Chhannulal Mishra. At every sam of his Jhap tala, it seemed as if the last beat of his tihai were hugging the last note of the Santoor affectionately. His balance of the Tabla and bayan was also good.
When a versatile and renowned exponent of Shovana Narayan’s caliber performs Kathak, it is always a treat to watch. After Tarun, she took the centre-stage to prove her dexterity in this classical form of dance. She brings an individual verve and vivacity to her performance. A performer, guru, scholar, researcher, choreographer, bureaucrat and author of international eminence, Shovana Narayan has her own individual style of dancing Kathak. She combines artistry with keen observation and humanism. She has re-defined the ethos and vocabulary of Kathak enriching it with ennoblement. She is a visionary danseuse who has amalgamated the best of both the worlds, the past and the present with her sheer commitment.
She opened her recital with an invocatory piece “Vandana” followed by “Teyyari ang” of Kathak. Shovana represented youthful spirit of Kathak and her pure dance had the velocity of a cavalier charging ahead and the finesse of an artist executing minute filigree work. In the thaats and parans, her footwork had both speed and subtle, a rare combination indeed.
Shovana then moved to present her concluding abhinaya piece “Vinati”, the poem which seeks to delve into the un-chartered hidden recesses of Kunti’s mind and understand her dilemma and anguish. She was accompanied finest team of artists namely Shakeel Ahmed (Tabla), Vijay Sharma (Sitar), Madho Prasad (Vocal) and Nitin Jain (Light effects).