Krishna reigned supreme all over the Capital’s cultural calendar this past Janmashtami week. The Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra (SBKK) presented Krishna, its most popular dance-drama for five consecutive days at Kamani Auditorium. The spectacular show offered the intrinsic truths of life most appealingly as enumerated through the engrossing mythological tale of Lord Krishna. His various Leelas lying within the folds of innumerable anecdotes inspired the audience in both their traditional and modern contexts. SBKK director Shobha Deepak Singh’s meticulous direction covered all the aspects of Lord Krishna’s persona with melodious music, brilliant choreography, imaginative costumes, lighting, sound and technical support that created an awesome ambience contributing to its resounding success.
The Bharatiya Sangeet Sadan, in association with IIC, celebrated Janmashtami with Radha-Madhav presented by the Padma Bhushan awardee Uma Sharma and her group. The evening opened with the colourful Rasa-Leela Nritya by her young disciples. Radha-Madhav was conceived and presented in the traditional Nritya-Abhinay style of Kathak. The audience was enthralled by the sensitive Nritya Abhinaya on the poetry of Swami Haridas, Surdas, Meera, Jayadev, Raskhan, Dev-Kavi and many more by the one and only Uma Sharma, trained in the art of Abhinay under the Abhinay-Samrat Pt Shambhu Maharaj. The live orchestra was conducted by Pt Jwala Prasad who also provided vocal support and music direction.
The well conceived Krishna Utsav of Utthan Samiti was organised by Spandan communications at the Triveni Sabhagar. The inaugural evening of the two-day festival opened with a captivating Kathak recital by Namrata Rai, revolving around Krishna. Namrata opened with Krishna Vandana and moved on to crisp footwork in Upaj improvisations. The traditional repertoire of Kathak that followed with That, Amad, Paran, Chakradar Tihai and so on, was also woven in the context of Krishna. For instance, That, had different stances of Krishna standing with the flute, with the crown of peacock feather or under the Kadamba tree. After the Teentala, she displayed her virtuosity in Jhaptaal. Akram Khan’s electrifying tabla inspired her to showcase the best she had learnt under Guru Madhukar Anand and Pt Udai Mazumdar. Abhinay on the popular Dadra "Nazariya lag jayegi" was adorned with the Ghunghat and Rukhasar ki gat. The live orchestra was good but for a weak "Padhant". Namrata received loud applause for her concluding 35 pirouettes.
Krishna Utsav continued with Lord Krishna’s favourite musical instrument, with a melodious Flute recital by Ajay Prasanna. The gifted son and disciple of Pt Bholanath Prasanna, Ajay opened with Alap in the most timely evening raga Puria-Kalyan and gradually proceeded with three compositions set to Madhya-Vilambit, Madhya Laya and Drut Teentala; accompanied by the ace Tabla player Shubh Maharaj. The Banarasi Dhun in Mishra Khamaj, played with imaginative Bol-Banav, reached its last leg with a scintillating Laggi of Tabla. Ajay also obliged the audience playing their "farmaishi songs" like "Bada natkhat hai Krishna Kanhaiya…".
Tarana Arts presented the 7th episode of their annual concert series, in association with the Lok Kala Manch, with "Main Hoon Meera", a solo musical enactment by the singer-actor Manisha Agarwal from Mumbai, at Vasuki Auditorium. The show, with music composed by Pt Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, with Anup Jalota&’s voice for Krishna, was preceded with a video clip of this production brought out by Times Music and launched by Hema Malini at Iskcon Temple, Mumbai. The video clip opened with "Padharo mhare des…", where Manisha was seen with singers like Jagjit Singh and Sultan Khan. Manisha Agarwal as Meera enacted it with the recorded score this evening.
The concert had opened with a Kuchipudi duet by Matushri Majumdar and Ayana Mukherjee, the talented disciples of Guru Jayarama Rao. The young dancers opened with the invocation to the dancing Ganesha with "Shri Vighna-Rajam bhaje…" and followed it with Durga Stuti. The concluding Tarangam also showcased the dancers in flawless technique.