Celebrating Indian art

The Bharat Muni Utsav at Bhubaneswar was a conclave of the best in Indian classical dance and music.

January 12, 2012 08:56 pm | Updated July 25, 2016 08:34 pm IST

Indian theatre personality Ratan Thiyam being conferred the coveted Bharat Muni Samman in Bhubaneswar from Orissa’s Culture Minister Prafulla Samal.

Indian theatre personality Ratan Thiyam being conferred the coveted Bharat Muni Samman in Bhubaneswar from Orissa’s Culture Minister Prafulla Samal.

A festival named after the creator of Natya Shastra , the ancient treatise on performing arts, the annual Bharat Muni Utsav being hosted in Bhubaneswar by Odissi dancer Puspita Mishra's Kalingayana Touryatrikam has emerged as a major event in India in just four years.

The festival features both stalwarts and young acclaimed artistes of classical dance and music but what made it more famous is the annual Bharat Muni Samman instituted to honour a living legend of Indian performing arts. Kolkata-based Bharatanatyam exponent Thankamani Kutty, Kathak maestro Pandit Birju Maharaj and Hindustani vocalist Pandit Jasraj have been past recipients. This year the award was conferred on the acclaimed Manipuri theatre personality Ratan Thiyam.

Four well-known Odissi dancers were invited to perform in the two-day festival.

They were Kumkum Mohanty, Ratikant Mohapatra, Gita Mahalik and Sujata Mishra.

Kumkum's expressional dance piece Dhira SamireYamuna Tire from poet Jayadev's Geet Govind , was a treat for connoisseurs. Similarly, Ratikant's involved depiction of the character of a devotee of Lord Rama set to a Tulasidas' bhajan – Sriramachandra Krupalu Bhajamana , was both intense and convincing. Gita and Sujata also excelled in their abhinaya . Hyderabad-based dancer Ananda Shankar Jayant staged her composition Simhanandini . And her painting with the dancing feet – an exclusive and typical feature to Kuchipudi – added excitement to the presentation. Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Prativa Puraskar awardee young and acclaimed Sattriya dancer Meernanda Borthakur was brilliant both in her pure and expressional dance presentations.

Popular Hindustani flutist Pandit Ronu Mazumdar and internationally acclaimed American saxophonist and composer George Brooks were the star attractions of the festival. Ronu's recital of the popular raag of Abhogi,raag in medium and fast tempo was a treat for the music lovers. Amazing was the American musician's grip over the Indian musical tradition.

Odissi music's best known vocalist Bijay Jena mesmerised the audience with a recital of two songs delineating the raganga and the bhabanga aspects of the music tradition.

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