By Kedar Mishra
Photo: Arabinda Mohapatra
It indeed is a good news for the art lovers in Odisha that a park named after the legendary Odissi Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra is opened up in the Gadhakan area of Bhubaneswar. The park bearing a life size statue of the late legendary Guru was inaugurated on the 31st Foundation Day of Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) by the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Odisha, Shri Naveen Patnaik. The inaugural function attended by many political dignitaries, remarkably ignored the fact that Guruji’s family members are present in the city of Bhubaneswar, however, were not present during the ceremony. Later it was learnt that the family members did not even receive a mere courtesy call or an invitation card from the host BDA. Guruji’s son and renowned dance Guru Ratikant Mohapatra in a statement said that, “It is normal practice to invite their family members during the inauguration of the statues of legendary figures. But no such courtesy was shown to our family. We are sorry for being deprived of the opportunity to participate in the inaugural ceremony.”
The sordid story of negligence and ill-mannerism does not end here. The statue which was inaugurated by the Chief Minister was built of with poor sculptural skill and was aesthetically a poor looking one. There is a terrible lack of symmetry and it does not resemble to the original figure of Guruji. A disheartened Ratikant further said, “Looking at my Father’s statue, I assume that the artist is a pure novice and is yet to learn the art of sculpting. Even the birth and death information of Guruji in the inaugural plaque is incorrect.”
It is a matter of great disrespect and carelessness of BDA and highly a condemnable act, said a senior citizen and fan of the legendary Guru. Kelucharan Mohapatra is one of the founding fathers of Odissi dance and he single handedly has created a galaxy of stars in the field of Odissi like Sanjukta Panigrahi, Sonal Mansingh, Madhavi Mudgal, Gangadhar Pradhan, Sujata Mohapatra and many more. As an Odia, he was the first recipient of the Padma Vibhusan, the second highest civilian honour after Bharat Ratna, from Government of India. If tried, it could not have been difficult to get a good photograph of Guruji to take as model or obtain information on his life from Srjan, the institute founded by Guruji himself. Careless BDA officials did not care to go in detail and just made it a clumsy affair. There is a popular demand from artiste’s community to rectify the mistakes of the sculptures and immediately install an aesthetically good looking statue by consulting proper sources.