The Parampara festival was a celebration of dance, music and traditional theatre. SHYAMHARI CHAKRA

For the past five years, Orissa's capital city of Bhubaneswar has been hosting the annual Parampara festival of performing arts that aims at highlighting the traditional theatre, music and dances of Orissa. Aptly the name of the host organisation is Parampara and it was formed by two veteran film personalities of the State — Bijay Mohanty and Prasanna Mishra.

The recently concluded two-day, fifth annual Parampara festival featured two memorable Oriya plays — Hatahata and Ravana Chhaya — that stood out for their satire and humour. Plays in this genre are increasingly becoming a rarity in Orissa these days and thus the presentations received rave response from the theatre fraternity and connoisseurs as well. Ravana Chhaya was more exciting with wonderful weaving of a play within a play in which the artistes essaying the roles of mythological characters from The Ramayana become conscious of their own identity and start behaving like ordinary human beings. Thus Ravana was seen protecting Sita from the lusty looks of a character in the play. Prasanna Mishra directed this play that Sankar Tripathi scripted.

The music segment had an electrifying presentation of tala-vadya-kutcheri, a group presentation of percussion instruments, conceptualised and presented by mardal exponent Dhaneswar Swain and his troupe members from Utkal Sangeet Mahavidyalaya, Orissa's premiere institute of performing arts. Similarly, veteran vocalist, composer and Guru Ramahari Das — who was conferred the coveted Sangeet Natak Akademi Award last year — mesmerised with his soulful rendition of astapadis from saint-poet jayadev's Geet Govind. Odissi vocalists Bijay Kumar Jena and Sangeeta Gosain also excelled in their presentations.

Bhubaneswar-based, internationally acclaimed Rudrakshya Odissi troupe staged a pulsating presentation of Rudrakshya founder Guru Bichitrananda Swain's brilliant choreographic compositions - Tala-Madhurya and Mahakali Dhanyam. Tala Madhurya was a unique exploration of the intricate rhythmic patterns of Odissi mardal through the Odissi dance vocabulary.