Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar 2008 awardees for Carnatic music presented a delightful evening of melody in New Delhi. The young awardees took the stage for brief presentations during the Akademi’s festival that always follows the annual award ceremony.

Delhi rains, of late, have become notorious for causing water-logging and long traffic jams. But one rainy evening this past week was enjoyable for an altogether different reason. It was an event to showcase the talent of the awardees of this year’s Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar instituted by Sangeet Natak Akademi. The young awardees took the stage for brief presentations during the Akademi’s festival that always follows the annual award ceremony. Though the rains forced SNA to shift the venue from its spacious open-air Meghdoot auditorium to the adjacent closed hall on its campus, the young awardees put up spirited performances. The first day of the festival presentedCarnatic musicians V. Sumithra and Manasi Prasad (vocal ), C.S. Balabhaskar (violin) and B.S. Purushotham (kanjeera). The time allotted was around half-an hour and it was indeed a tough task for these youngsters to showcase their talent within this short time. While Sumitra chose to include a ragam-taanam-pallavi within the brief time slot (which one feels is not an intelligent decision under the given situation), Manasi Prasad presented one composition each of Tyagaraja and Muthuswami Dikshitar and one Meera bhajan. Sadly, Balabhaskar’s gimmicks (fast-paced swara sequences, including the interwoven ragamalika passages) during his violin recital weren’t all that pleasing. The kanjeera accompaniment of B.S. Purushotham was delightful.

The not-so-often heard composition of Tyagaraja, “Inthanusu varnimpa” in raga Kundakriya, which Manasi presented, and the subsequent swaraprastaras were quite impressive. Dikshitar’s “Sri Ramachandro” in raga Sriranjani underwent a somewhat detailed presentation. Under the given situation, Manasi managed to delineate the raga, bringing to the fore its features, took up a phrase for niraval and presented swaraprastaras. These spoke highly of her manodharma talents. As her last item, she presented a Meera bhajan. Instead, one felt that she could have finished with a javali, tillana or a tiruppughal.

After presenting Dikshitar’s “Kadambari” in raga Mohanam, V. Sumithra dashed off to present the ragam-taanam-pallavi. Expectedly, it was a hurried affair. After a fine delineation of raga Shanmukhapriya and a melodious taanam, Sumithra presented the pallavi “Dasarathe karuna payonide pahi” in Adi tala. The subsequent swaraprastaras were rich in creativity and included ragamalika swaras in Sama and Behag. Sumithra ended with a tillana in raga Hamsanandi. Delhi’s VSK Chakrapani on the violin, and K.N. Padmanabhan on the mridangam provided effective support in both these concerts.

C. S. Balabhaskar started off his recital with Tyagaraja’s composition, “Gurulekha” in raga Gowrimanohari. As his main item, he presented Muthuswami Dikshitar’s composition “Sree Kantimatim” in raga Hemavati. While both these compositions were well presented with utmost care for the sangatis, he could have avoided the fast-paced swara passages. Delhi’s M.V. Chandrasekhar on the mridangam and the Chennai-based award winner B.S. Purushotham on the kanjeera provided good support to the concert. Their tani avartanam (percussion solo) in Adi tala was delightful and captivating. On the whole, it was an enjoyable rainy evening.

The award was instituted in 2006 by SNA with an aim to encourage outstanding young talents in diverse fields of performing arts and give them national recognition early in life so that they work with greater commitment and dedication in the life-long pursuit of their chosen art form.

Yuva Puraskar Awardees

MUSIC:

Rajnish Mishra, Ritesh Mishra, Vishal Jain, Jai Shankar Mishra, Debopriya Chatterjee, V. Sumitra, Manasi Prasad, C.S. Balabhaskar, B.S. Purushotham

DANCE

Gayatri Balagurunathan, Gauri Diwakar, Vijay Kumar N., Bimbavati Devi, Rahul Acharya, Arunima Kumar, Meerananda Barthakur, Purvadhanashree

THEATRE

Sumit Sharma, Amitesh Grover, Vijender Kumar, J.L. Saritha, Irawati Karnaik, Ajay Kumar, Govind Singh Yadav, R.K. Sanaton Singh

TRADITIONAL/FOLK/TRIBAL DANCE/MUSIC/THEATRE/PUPPETRY

Ritu Verma, Dayaram, Sayed Mohammad Irfan, Mayanglambam Mangansana, Shabir Ahmed Saznawaz Soofiyana Kalam, Pramod Kumar Nahak Prahlad Natak, Sudarshan K.V., Srikanta Bose

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