Vivid recitals marked the seven-day Bisuva Sankranti celebrations.
The Oriya New Year Bisuva Sankranti (April 14) is celebrated in diverse ways in Orissa. But Chinta O Chetana, a cultural body heralded the New Year with a seven-day fete called Baisakhi. Evidently, its seven evenings (starting April 15) of cultural programmes had numerous performances but every day the show began in a style of its own.A sizable idol of Lord Jagannath (brought from Puri to Bhubaneswar) was ritualistically used at the precincts of Jayadev Bhaban, the venue. After installing the idol, a danseuse presented a Devadasi dance recital as an offering. A spectacle indeed!But one only wished all the programmes were of a high order. Of the initial two days of programmes, only a few were found up to the mark.A Bharat Natyam recital on Dasabatara by the Calcutta-based danseuse Devjani Majumder's group of seven artistes was of special interest since Jayadeva's Sanskrit song in the Geeta Govinda is being widely used in Orissa. Also, all the epoch-making Odissi gurus (Pankaj Charan Das, Kelucharan Mohapatra and Debaprasad Das) choreographed Odissi pieces on Dasabatra in their individualistic Odissi style. Devjani Mujumder's composition, therefore, called for a scrutinising mind. And it was a rewarding experience to see this Thankamani Kutty's disciple performing with her troupe. The postures and even most of the mudras she has used are different from Odissi; and her conceptualisation of the avatars is also different. Even this single item continued for 35 minutes; but imaginative choreography and the flavour of Bharat Natyam riveted the spectators' attention.Another danseuse who created a lot of interest was the Malaysia - born Preeti Malastkar who danced an Odissi item choreographed on a well - known Oriya song, Mana uddharana kara he tarana. This song by the great eighteenth century poet Upendra Bhanja is an appeal to Lord Jagannath to redeem mankind. The Malaysian artiste danced with competence, with appropriate facial expression, mudras and movements. While estimating this two days of performances of Chinta O Chetna the most disappointing was Ratikanta Mohapatra's Odissi presentation of Allaha and Jatayu Mokhysa. The former was danced to the tunes of a recorded Tamil song and the latter to that of a Hindi song. There was absolutely no Odissi flavour in the dance either. Ratikanta may do well to follow the footsteps of Kelucharan Mohapatra, his late father.