Bhubaneswar: The concluding evening of the Award Festival on Wednesday witnessed the presentation of the prestigious NALCO Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Award.
This year, instead of the two awards presented each year to acclaimed artistes from the fields of Dance, Theatre, Music, and Cinema, Srjan presented five such awards. The NALCO Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Award has a respectable allocation of Rs.1,00,000/- to each artiste and a citation. The “NALCO Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Award 2019” was presented to Guru Harmohan Khuntia, Tabla maestro, for his immense contribution to the field of Music, to Guru Durga Charan Ranbir, veteran Odissi dance Guru for his invaluable work to the field of Dance, to Dr. Sunil Kothari and Smt. Leela Venkataraman, eminent Dance Critics and Authors, for their lifetime achievements and contribution to the performing arts, and to renowned Art Photographer, Sri Avinash Pasricha, for his pioneering work in the field of Photography.
In addition to the above, the Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Yuva Prativa Samman, was given to five exceptionally talented performing artistes under the age of 40 years in the field of classical dance & Odissi music to acknowledge their outstanding performances. Its primary focus is to revive the all-important role of the solo dancer in the classical idiom, in an effort to instill a continuing sense of purpose in the young dancer and bring to life the individual brilliance that the dancer lives for, and strives for. The NALCO Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Yuva Prativa Samman 2019 is presented with a cash prize of Rs. 25,000/- each and a citation, and this year it was presented to Smt. Swapnokalpa Dasgupta (Odissi Dance), Sri Rahul Acharya (Odissi Dance), Smt. Rajashri Praharaj (Odissi Dance), Smt. Anwesa Mahanta (Sattriya Dance), and Sri Satyabrata Katha (Odissi Music).
Following the award ceremony, the Srjan dance ensemble presented the production ‘Namami Gange’, an Ode to Mother Ganga, choreographed by Guru Ratikant Mohapatra, scripted by Pandit Nityananda Mishra, and set to Shri Lakshmikant Palit’s music. ‘Namami Gange’ is the story of the descent of mother Ganga from the locks of Lord Shiva. Beginning with an invocation to Ganga, the story of the river starts with the Ashwamedha Yagna of King Sagara. It moves on to cover its journey from the Himalayan peaks, through the hills of Gomukh, travelling across the Gangetic plains, and finally into the Bay of Bengal. Once, in its glorious past, mother Ganga provided enormous benefits to all who inhabited its banks, and ungrateful man in his greed and his folly has repaid the river’s generosity with senseless acts of destruction. Celebrated in history and legend, the mighty Ganga, once the harbinger of life, is now a cauldron of desecration and death.
The presentation appealed to the audience and the people of India, to wake up now, stop this plundering of mother Ganga’s sacred waters, bring her back to her former glory and enable her to flow tirelessly, unceasingly, eternally, forever smiling, forever nurtured by our own kindness. Bearing a strong social and environmental message, ‘Namami Gange’, is a production in the neo-classical style of Odissi, woven into a highly aesthetic artistic tapestry with intricate choreography, music, and appealing light designing.
Presented by the dancers of Srjan, Rajashri Praharaj, Ritu Sengupta, Pragna Parimita Das, Aishwariya Singhdev, Sipra Swain, Preetisha Mohapatra, Reebdhita Barua, and Maya Krishnamurty, this dance was performed energetically and with near perfect synchronisation. Aided by the brilliant light designing of Debi Prasad Mishra, the eight dancers seamlessly transitioned through the attractive formations, using their bodies as props, while doing justice to this topical and important issue of the destruction of mother Ganga. This neoclassical choreography was interspersed with beautiful traditional and novel movements, and the steps brought the nuances of this intricate piece to life, engaging the audience’s attention throughout. Namami Gange was indeed a befitting conclusion to this grand, yet heartfelt celebration of 25 years of dedicated service to the mission of the Indian Classical Arts.