The HCL Concerts received an overwhelming response for their sensational show, comprising Bollywood and Beyond, the specially curated fusion of popular Bollywood songs by Kavita Krishnamurthy and the mesmerising Violin numbers by L Subramaniam and his versatile orchestra; and Parampara, presented by Hema Malini, Esha Deol and their Natyavihar Kalakendra, in Bharatanatyam and Odissi dance styles, at the Siri Fort Auditorium this past Friday.

The crowd puller star of the evening was Hema Malini, the Bollywood actress and Bharatanatyam danseuse, who opened Parampara with her solo Pushpanjali and Ganesh-stuti “Vakratunda Mahakaya…”, the invocatory number.

The graceful dancer looked as beautiful as she looked decades ago. This was followed by a solo performance by Esha Deol, presenting Devi Durga in Odissi style, eulogising the attributes of Devi, both compassionate as bestower of eternal bliss and the aggressive counterpart like the Mahishasura-Mardini.

Hema Malini performing at the HCL concerts in Siri fort auditorium, New Delhi
Hema Malini performing at the HCL concerts in Siri fort auditorium, New Delhi

 

Hema Malini next presented the Purandara Dasa composition “Venkatachala Nilayam” in Bharatanatyam. Esha and the group followed with the Ashtapadis of Jayadeva like “Lalita lavanga-lata” and “Chandan-charchit Neel-Kalevar…”, “Dhher Samire Yamuna teere…” and “Kuru Yadunandana…” from Geet-Govinda; an attractive choreography by Sujata Mohapatra before the whole troupe, along with Hema Malini, presented Nari Shakti, an ode to the inner strength of women, right from the times of Manu “Yatra Naryastu pujyante…” to the present age.

The well-recorded music and variety of dances were engaging but the constant distraction by the digital images in the backdrop, created disturbance.
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Romeo and Juliet by Kalashram

The ongoing 8th Theatre Olympics of the National School of Drama showcased a unique production of Romeo and Juliet, the immortal love saga of William Shakespeare, in the language of Kathak.

It was a mega production of Kalashram, the Arts Institute of Pt Birju Maharaj, with 75 of his students from Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai participating.

An unbelievably alluring choreography in Kathak was by Saswati Sen, who also played the lead role of Juliet, looking delicate and gorgeous all at the same time.

The thoughtfully-conceived music by Pt Birju Maharaj and Louis Banks gelled beautifully well to create the desired effect in each and every scene.

The colourful costumes were convincing and the fabulous sets by Anup Giri contributed a highly professional touch to the beautiful ballet. Lighting by Dinesh Poddar also did wonders.

Nearly all the characters, especially Deepak Maharaj as Romeo, Pt Kishan Mohan Maharaj as Lord Capulet, Mamta Maharaj as Lady Capulet, Vipul Gupta as Friar Laurence, Harsh as Count Paris and Paramita Maitra as Nanny looked convincing.

The whole ballet, especially the fight scenes, came alive with the Aamad, Tode, Tukde, Paran, Chakkaradar and the emphatic Tihais.

It was amazing to note that not a single word of spoken language was used anywhere. This also proves the admirable capability and strength of the language of Kathak, if used imaginatively.
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International Ancient Arts Festival

Reela Hota, the gifted Odissi dancer, is also the founder of Rays of Wisdom Society that organises the annual International Ancient Arts Festival (IAAF).

Projecting music and dance as the vital therapeutic tools in traditional systems of healing, the two-day IAAF was held recently at The Ashok Amphitheatre in collaboration with the ITDC and The Ashok with support of Union Ministry of Culture.

International Ancient Arts Festival.

 

Linking different forms of cultural events under one roof, the IAAF presented artistes from Guinea and Switzerland along with those from India, bringing unison of different countries, to achieve a balanced lifestyle through the arts.

The IAAF took a meditative start with Odissi dance on the Veda Mantra “Ekoham Bahu Syam”, focused on the theme of self-liberation by the spiritual dancer Reela Hota; conceived and choreographed by Yoga Guru Smt Vijayalakshmi Hota.

Highlights of the second evening were Nandighosha group from Switzerland, the Djembe player Barbara Bangoura from Gunea and Kathak by Guru Shikha Khare and group.

Guru Shikha Khare and group opened their presentation with “Asato ma Sadgamaya…” and invocation to Krishna, ending with “Shri Krishna sharanam Mama…”.

This invocatory piece was followed by the technical aspect of Kathak, showcasing their rhythmic virtuosity on recorded music that had iteresting variety from Sargam to Trivat and Tarana, concluding with Jugalbandi and Sawal-Jawab. Prerna Kohli, a Clinical Psychologist, and Sonia Bhandari, Consultant Art Therapist at Vimhans Hospital, spoke on Arts and Healing.