Jalsaghar promises to organise monthly events spanning a full calendar year to mark its golden jubilee. The second in the chain, held at Vivekananda Hall, quite judiciously featured a star and a devoted classical musician-duo that saw the auditorium packed to capacity.

It was the scintillating sitar-duet by Pandit Harashankar Bhattacharya and his worthy son-disciple that greeted the audience — most of whom had turned up to see Kabir Suman in his latest avatar as a Bangla khayal exponent! The torchbearers of the complex and ornate Jafferkhani-baaj selected salient features of a few Kafi thhaat-based ragasand created a bouquet of melodies in alap with the help of Patadeep, Pilu and Zilla Kafi.

They reversed this order in gatkari, which displayed Zilla in sthaayi, Pilu in manjha and Patadeep in antara. The concluding jhalaalso incorporated the seasonal Miyan ki Malhar.

All this was handled by them deftly as they played perfectly chiselled raga-phrases and blended them sensitively with deep understanding of their emotive appeal. As a result, even the non-initiated listeners enjoyed this pure classical session ably supported by Arunabha Mukherjee’s tabla.

Kabir Suman, a trendsetter of Jeebonmukhi gaan, is striving to set another trend — this time in the arena of khayal singing. Supported by Indrajit Pradhan’s tabla, he chose raga Sur Malhar to sing self-composed Bangla khayal bandishes set to jhaptal, teental and rupak and raga Megh, based on the tune of the famous tarana sung by Ustad Amir Khan, his favourite vocalist.

But his compositions were more like Ragpradhan gaan, describing the beauty of monsoon. Going by his soliloquy, apparently, he is oblivious of the fact that the so-called poor lyrics, mostly based on SaasNanadiya, are capable of hinting at the deep rooted philosophy that shuns the mundane and yearns for the Supreme Being; and also that the Nayaks and Vaggeyakars of yore did not pen or tune anything that does not encrypt the characteristics of the raga and tala — the chief components of a khayal bandish.

Frankly, the salient features of the ragas were better displayed by his accompanists, Hiranmay Mitra (harmonium) and Debashis Haldar (esraj). The melodious, mellow tonality of the latter was extremely pleasing.

Myriad dance forms

An Indian classical dance festival was organised at ICCR recently by Malashri, an institution dedicated to preserve and promote cultural activities through training and demonstrations of different dance forms including pure and fusion forms in addition to Tagore Nritya Natya.

The evening began with Odissi by Manjima Sarkar and Maumita Dutta, two talented disciples of Odissi danseuse and Guru Arpita Venkatesh. Both began with a Saraswati Vandana comprising Mangalacharan (ekataali) and the stotram (taal khemta); then Dutta moved on to Jog-pallavi set to raga Jogand ektali while Sarkar presented Bato Chharo Suhato Nagoro(Rupak, Kalyan), an abhinaya based on an oeuvre of Kavi Banamali Das and composed by Guru Arpita Venkatesh. Durga Stuti, based on raga Patadeep, ektali and triputa, composed by Guru Debaprasad Das and choreographed by Pushpita Mukherjee was presented by Sumoyee Mukherjee later.

In between, Manipuri dancers Kankana Singh and Ivana Sarkar, disciples of Guru Kalavatidevi and her daughter Bimbavatidevi presented Shiva Vandana based on Shiva Panchaksharam stotra and followed it up with Kaliya Daman and Pontha Jagoi (meaning dance competition).

The item is inspired by an episode of Nitya Raswhere the gopis tell Radha and Krishna to compete with each other. Radha presents the elegant lasya and Krishna performs the forceful and graceful tandava.

Next, a kathak recital by Avishikta Mukhopadhyay and Srijani Ghoshal, disciples of Guru Ashimbandhu Bhattacharjee, began with Guru Vandana and moved on to Teentalreplete with the traditional intricacies of upaj, thhat, tukra, paran, lari et al. They concluded with a ghazal(Kabhi ban sawar ke) describing the beauty of spring in life’s cycle.

That was followed by a Bharatnatyam recital by Puja Chatterjee, Ausua Sur and Puja Poddar, disciples of Rahuldev Mondal. With Todyamangalam based on Raga malikaand taal-malika as the opening item, they presented a Tillana(Natabhairavi, aditala). Shinjan Nrityalaya under the direction of Guru Aloka Kanungo began their presentation with Kamodi Pallavi set to Ektaal and Khemta, performed by Shuvra Maity and Paulomi Chakraborty.

Finally a group presentation titled Mahavidya, a unique dance piece based on the ancient tradition of shabda nritya, depicted women power (Shakti).

Out of Dasha-Mahavidya the infinite powers of Kali, Shodashi, Chhinnamasta and Bagalamukhi were depicted.

The dancers were Paulomi Chakrabarty, Shuvra Maity, Srijoni Das, Urjasree Basak and Swaralipi Roy.