Whoever coined the adjective ‘incredible’ for India has to be lauded. Such is the wonderment one feels seeing the vast cultural heritage of the country. When this is projected at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS), a heritage monument, the very pride of this Maximum City, it weaves a magical ambience.
The evening began with ‘Drums of India’ by Rajeev Mahavir, the eighth generation musician, leading a band of percussion players. The anchor listed Indian musical instruments from Natya Sastra — the string, the wind, percussion and solid (bells and cymbals).
The popular ‘Gananayakaya’ sung by Yash Mahavir was followed by riotous rhythm that filled the open ambience. In what was termed a train journey, musical taste of many states, panning the Indian panorama: Maharashtra represented by Anand Panchal, Sridhar Parthasarathy on the mridangam representing Tamil Nadu, ‘Kesariya Balama’ for Rajasthan, Punjabi bhangda on drum pads, Malhar Mahavir, Narendra Krishna on Pakhawaj and Nishad Vaidya wielding various instruments in a seamless transfer of rhythm from one player to another.
Enlivening sounds of the Dholki segued into Lavani, the 300-year-old art form of Maharashtra. Deploying a medley of pre-recorded songs including ‘Ya Raoji,’ ‘Reshamacha Rengacha’ and ‘Kheltana rang bai Holicha,’ the dancers enthralled the audience with their buoyant performance.
A new initiative
“Our culture is our identity within and without the country,” averred Sabyasachi Mukherji, director general of CSMVS. He enumerated the century-old history of the planning, architecture and the kinetic Mumbai spirit in constructing and maintaining this monument, with public funding.
Aashima Mehrotra, director, Ministry of Tourism, felicitated the artistes. She said that “Heritage belongs to all of us.” She spoke in detail about the ‘Adopt a Heritage’ venture to involve tourism operators, citizens and corporates in adopting heritage sites, many not known. You can select a site, give a one-page expression of interest for a better vision of the site, and an empowered committee will facilitate you to become a ‘Monument Mitra.’
In a collaborative effort, the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India will jointly work towards this goal of adopting heritage sites.
The finale ‘Nrityarang,’ conceived and choreographed by Shubhada Varadkar, was a confluence of Indian classical dance. Training in Odissi under Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra and Bharatanatyam under Guru Mani have made Shubada a versatile artiste and choreographer with a quest for perfection.
The invocatory Bhoomi Mangalam was presented by all the participating artistes. After a neat and well-coordinated tillana by Vaidehi Rele Lal and Trusha Panchal, Sarita Kalele and Nikita Banawalikar presented Tarana that included some tode, tukade and fast footwork to showcase the essence of pure Kathak choreographed by Kalele’s guru Uma Dogra. Kathakali by Renjish Nair was illuminated in bright lights and hasta mudras. Manipuri padavali by Anusua Roy highlighted the image of Krishna with his flute. Mitali Varadkar and Shreya Sabharwal were the Odissi duo. Mitali varadkar’s brilliant balancing act with one leg stretched, moving in a full circle, elicited applause.
The finale group offering of ‘Koti pranam to Janmabhoomi’ was a melodic elaboration of Vande Mataram with signature moves in ‘Shanti.’