By Kedar Mishra

Madhavi Mudgal performing on the first evening of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Award Festival at Rabindra Mandap, Bhubaneswar on Wednesday
Madhavi Mudgal performing on the first evening of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Award Festival at Rabindra Mandap, Bhubaneswar on Wednesday
Remembering a maestro and paying tribute to his grand memory through few of the finest performing art forms of India is indeed the golden bench mark of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Award Festival. Conceived, conceptualized and designed by Guruji himself in his lifetime, this festival sets up a new trend in the city of Bhubaneswar. Artistes of great caliber flew up to perform in honuor of Guruji and a truly pan Indian sensibility grew up with this great festival. After demise of Guruji, the festival is ably led by his son and his prime disciple Ratikanta Mahapatra. Leading the legacy to a greater height, Ratikanta has been extending the vision and imagination of his illustrious father. The 18th edition of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Award Festival got a gala opening on September 5, 2012 at Rabindra Mandap. The stage dominated by a life size image of Guruji as backdrop, was truly inspiring and it created a feeling as if the immortal soul is on and around the stage.

Odissi Delight

Opening the festival Madhavi Mudgal, one of the finest and gifted disciple of Guruji entered into the stage with typical Odissi Chali and her gracious stage presence unveiled a kind of Mangala Bakyam. Taking legendary Hindustani vocalist Sunanda Patnaik’s classic composition ‘Jagannatha swamy nayana patha gami…‘as Mangalacharan, Madhavi moved on from wings to center with grace, gait and feel of surrender. Precision and exactitude are two distinct element that made Madhavi’s dancing different from others. Hardly she goes for over pouring. In Jagannathastakam, she presented a few cultural glimpses of Lord Jagannath’s ritual. It was spiritual as well as a kind of cultural chronicler. In Abhinaya she chosed to portray a Birahini Nayika, a beloved separated from his lover during rain. The well known lyrics of Upendra Bhanja ‘E ghana kalare kanta kari ja gale ekanta…‘ is not new to Odissi composition. Literal connotation of this song could have been avoided and something extra ordinary from between the lines were definitely expected from a great composer like Madhavi. Her deep involvement with the text and controlled emotional display make a good show. However, there were few compositional errors which were small, but certainly needed ratification. Showing the flooded river ‘Nadi mane hele brudhhi…‘, which means (rivers swell due to rain), was shown with vertical hand gestures which was not appropriate. Many words sung by the singers Purnachandra Majhi and Manikuntala Bhowmik were mispronounced and the singing sounded lifeless. The great energy shown by the dancer on stage was not properly supplemented by the vocalists. I don’t mind taking a Hindustani influenced Gayaki for Odissi composition, but nuances of Odia lyricism is a basic requirement. Harming those nuances kills the real Bhava of the Abhinaya. There were a few arbitrary and wrong pronunciation of Upendra Bhanja’s poetry.

Madhavi’s forte is her Pallavi and she showed it once gain. Set to Raag Jhinjhoti and taal Khemata, the elaborative Nriitta piece was a delight to watch. Pallavi is not all about discharge of energy, rather it is a poetic distribution of moods and poeticism of body, that is always proved by Madhavi’s presentation in Pallavi. She concluded her hour long performance taking few couplets from three Astapadis of Sri Jayadeva, composed by three great musicians; Pt.Jasraj, Pt.Madhup Mudgal and Pt. Bhubaneswar Mishra. It was always a delight to watch Madhavi Mudgal dancing.

Wah Kya Baat Hai!!!

Vocalist Hariharan performing on the first evening of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Award Festival at Rabindra Mandap, Bhubaneswar on Wednesday
Vocalist Hariharan performing on the first evening of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Award Festival at Rabindra Mandap, Bhubaneswar on Wednesday
Undoubtedly he is one of the finest singers of our time. His incredible control over voice and magical ability to fuse many styles to bring up a terrific harmony- can never be challenged. Be it Ghazal or Bollywood, semi-classical or contemporary fusion, he marks his golden signature at the very core of human heart. ‘Usne jab mujhse kiya ehede-e-wafa ahista….‘ when he pronounced ‘Ahista….‘,it was really cool, smooth and romantically breezy. His Bollywood blockbusters like ‘Tuhire..tere bina mein…‘from Bombay, ‘Roja jan-e-man‘ from Roja are incredible musical treats. Yes, am talking of Hariharan, the sweetest and smoothest voice of our time. He enthralled the audience in Rabindra Mandap concluding the first evening of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Award Festival. The evening got a new lease of life with versatile genius Hariharan’s lively singing. The master charmer took up the stage with few known and popular Ghazals.

The First evening was a grand treat of dance and music. The show will go on till September 09, 2012.