By Vijay Shanker
KSNA award winners
The Kerala Sangeeta Nataka Academy presented awards to well known artists living outside Kerala who have contributed immensely towards the enrichment and propagation of the classical arts. The award winners from Mumbai were Bharatanatyam exponent Lata Surendra and musician K.N.P. Nambisan. Guru Lata Surendra heads the Anjali Bharata Natyam Research Trust. The other awardees were Rema Srikanth (Bharatanatyam) and Ayswaria Wariar (Mohini Attam) from Gujarat, and K.C. Poduval (theatre) from Maharashtra.
It was a noble gesture on Lata Surendra’s part to invite all the award winners and organise a programme to felicitate them at the Karnataka Sangha auditorium in Mumbai.
The dance-drama Chaturvidha Madhuram choreographed by Lata Surendra, portraying four ways of reaching the Almighty, saw the coming together of two classical dance styles. Lata performed Bharatanatyam with her disciples, while Sujata Nair and disciples of guru Jayashree Nair perfomed Mohini Attam.
Nrityavid for Darshana Jhaveri
Tejas Foundation presented the Nrityavid title to veteran Manipuri exponent Darshana Jhaveri for her “outstanding contribution towards the enrichment and propagation of Manipuri dance”. The Indradhanush festival organised on the occasion, featured accomplished dancers like Padma Sharma, Gauri Sharma, Deepak Mazumdar and Rupak Mehta. Disciples of Sandhya Purecha presented compositions of Narayana Teertha from the Krishna Leela Tarangini at the P.L. Deshpande mini auditorium in Mumbai.
In another programme organised by Sarfiraje Bhonsle Centre at the same venue, Mumbaikars got an opportunity to watch seasoned performers like Dr. Vasundhara Dorawamy from Mysore and Kathak exponent Rekha Nadgauda. Vasundhara has made a fine synthesis between yoga and classical dance. Her Bharatanatyam performance, depicting the angika abhinaya of the peacock as the vahana of Lord Kartikeya, left a lasting impression.
Kathak is her devotion
Kathak exponent Shaila Arora is in her sixties but that does not deter her from performing. Her recital at the Y.B. Pratisthan auditorium won the hearts of the audience, as she danced with deep involvement.
Shaila Arora started learning from Roshan Kumari and went on to learn from guru Ganesh Hiralal of the Jaipur gharana. She believes that art should be for art’s sake and nothing should affect the purity of the art. She does not perform for monetary gain. Shaila was felicitated by the minister of culture, Devtale at a function organised by the Mumbai Kathak Academy.
Tribute to G.V. Ramani
G.V. Ramani was one of the first Bharatanatyam teachers in Mumbai. As a tribute to his memory, Gayatri Subramaniam organised a dance festival at the Angri Kala Sanskruti Bhavan in Nerul under the auspices of the Takshashila Dance Academy, featuring students of the school, as well as Bharatanatyam by Sujata Nair and Kuchipudi by Amrita Lahiri. Both the dancers presented impeccable performances. The chief guest, veteran Mohini Attam exponent, Dr. Kanak Rele complimented Gayatri’s efforts and spoke about the contributions of Guru Ramani and his wife Ranganaki Ramani who were instrumental in propagating Bharatanatyam in Mumbai several decades ago.
Bharatanatyam exponent Ramesh Koli organised ‘Samarpanam’ – a programme in honour of his mentor and guru Sandhya Purecha, at the Ravindra Natya Mandir. It was a moving experience to watch Ramesh felicitating his guru Sandhya and performing ‘pada seva’ by washing her feet, a rare gesture of reverence.
Ramesh Koli presented a brief version of the Ramayana which was noteworthy for its dramatic quality. He is among the few dedicated male classical dancers in Mumbai, and is running his dance academy called Nritya Kalanjali in Kalyan, Mumbai.