To pay tribute to the martyrs of our freedom struggle, Padma Shri recipient and noted Odissi dancer Ranjana Gauhar is busy with her annual festival, ‘Saare Jahan Se Achha Festival' in New Delhi. The festival, which began yesterday at the India Habitat Centre with performances by Padma Subramaniam and Ranjana Gauhar, concludes this Thursday. Excerpts from an interview with the artiste:
On the festival
It will focus on Indian classical dance forms only. We have artistes from all over India for the performances: Padma Subramaniam for Bharatanatyam, Pallavi Krishnan for Mohiniattam, Alekhya Punjla for Kuchipudi, Rani Khanam for Kathak and me for Odissi.
On the title ‘Saare jahan se achha'
The idea is to pay tribute to the people who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of India.
As a member of the artiste community, I felt compelled to bring out a platform where we could pay homage to them, our way. This line from Iqbal's poem itself explains a lot. We want to connect everyone and also make people feel proud to be Indians. This line signifies the beauty and simplicity of that feeling.
We want to reach out to as many people as possible. Therefore, we are keeping the language simple. For example, I am performing Odissi. The structure and musical mode of the dance is not tampered with, but we have chosen a Hindi poem to perform. Since 2007, this is the fourth year of this festival. Last year, Kathak dancer Uma Dogra presented a performance using the Tricolour and some old shots of Gandhiji. People loved it so much that they were moved to tears.