By Kedar Mishra
Whatever may be the impression in local press and motivated criticism in social media, Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Award Festival stood out tallest as one of the finest and well organized festivals of Odisha. Being a private house affair it has its own target audience and the organizers are not supposed to make a political circus by making it a free for all show. It’s an exclusive show and there is no alternative to it. From 5th to 9th September we saw stalwarts like Vyjayantimala Bali, Hariharan, Karraikkudi Mani, Madhavi Mudgal, Manju Bhargavi and others performing. It’s a festival where quality of performance is never compromised. Srijan’s director Ratikant Mohapatra works hard to make it one of the leading classical event of the country and for that he deserves three cheers. Being a choreographer and organizer he justifies both the role with equal commitment and finesse. The festival is a grand success; undoubtedly credit goes to Srjan team.
The closing evening was all set for Srijan’s home production. Lighting the ceremonial lamp Chief Minister of Odisha Sri Naveen Patnaik inaugurated the finale and presented 18th Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Award to iconic Gotipua Guru Sri Birabar Sahu and legendary theatre actor and director Sri Ramachandra Pratihari.
Srjan, as the brain child of legendary Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra carries forward the rich legacy of Odissi dance to the new generation. It offers salutation to its founder by creating new dance pieces and trickle down the creative wealth of Guruji to a new world. Every year Srijan presents few of new compositions by its in house repertory. This year was no exception. Ratikant composed three new dance pieces. Bho Shambho, an invocation to lord Shiva, Devi Stotra, taking Adi Sankaracharya’s Ananda Lahari as textual base and Viswas, A song of Kabir – all three compositions carry the distinct signature of Guruji’s legacy. Rich music, synchronized body movements, graceful and appropriate gestures and aesthetic designs make the productions impressive.