Hypnotic grace

Sharmistha MukherjeePhoto: Ch. Vijaya Bhaskar

Sharmistha MukherjeePhoto: Ch. Vijaya Bhaskar  

Her name raised curiosity for a connoisseur and a novice alike. She was here to spread Indian culture through her brilliantly choreographed Taal Dhamaal , a Kathak presentation organised amidst the balmy surroundings of Haailand theme park at Chinakakani.

The show was all about getting her audience to connect with her craft without looking at her as a famous father's daughter. Sharmistha Mukherjee apparently finds it easy to win people, than her father, Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

Teyyari, layakari, khubsoorthi and nazaakat , the four key components that determine the degree of quality and beauty of kathak performance were in tact. Following a progression in tempo from slow to fast and ending with a dramatic climax, she churned out sequences of Laya Parikrama and Mehfil-e-Tarannum , unfolding splendour of a bygone era of the courts of the Mogul kings. The precise footwork, multiple pirouettes executed at lightning speed, exquisite grace of Kathak which is very hypnotic in nature, had the audience spell-bound.

Her portrayal of powerful emotions of love and pangs of separation based on the couplets of Sufi saint Amir Khusrau spoke about complete surrender of oneself to the beloved.

Draped in an ornated lehenga-choli with an odhni ( veil) that accentuated the element of grace, she danced to the couplets of Sufi Saint Amir Khusro with a high degree of technical and expressive precision.

Khusrau darya prem ka, ulti wa ki dhaar, Jo utra so doob gaya, jo dooba so paar. ” (Oh Khusrau! the river of love runs in strange directions. One who jumps into it, drowns and one who drowns, gets across.) Her expressions had their own maze of thoughts and interpretation of music, poetry and a blend of several other emotions portrayed through dance. In a brilliant depiction of devotional poetry of the medieval centuries and the highly cultivated court poetry of the 18{+t}{+h}and 19{+t}{+h}centuries which celebrated Shringaar, the sentiment of love, Sharmistha floored the audience with her remarkable grace and poise.

An accomplished Kathak dancer with many years of performing experience, she trained under doyens of Jaipur Gharana, the late Pandit Durgalal, Uma Sharma and Rajendra Gangani. She has performed in major festivals in India and abroad.

People who had walked in with a great amount of curiosity to watch the country's Finance Minister's daughter perform, walked out talking about how Sharmistha had carved out her independent identity.

P. Sujatha Varma

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