29th OMC Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Award Festival 2023 begins


In its 30th year of establishment, iconic Odissi dance institution Srjan—Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Odissi Nrityabasa (instituted on September 3, 1993) is hosting its annual classical dance and music festival in memory of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, with the aim of creating and sustaining awareness of our classical traditions in dance and music. The 29th OMC Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra (GKCM) Award Festival 2023, a premier event in the cultural calendar of Odisha launched in 1995, is being organised by Srjan in collaboration with Sri Sri University (SSU), Cuttack from September 5–9 at Rabindra Mandap at 7 pm each day.

After the auspicious lighting of the lamp and formal commencement of the Award Festival, the welcome address by Guru Ratikant Mohapatra, Director, Srjan and Dean, Faculty of Arts, Communication and Indic Studies (FACIS), SSU was followed by speeches by the eminent guests of honour, Shri Ashwini Kumar Patra, Minister of State, Tourism, Odia Literature Language and Culture, Excise; Prof (Dr.) BR Sharma, Vice Chancellor, Sri Sri University, Cuttack; Shri Ashok Tripathy, Former Member, Board of Revenue, Government of Odisha & Independent Director, Steel Authority of India Limited; and Shri Pankaj Lochan Mohanty, Managing Director, MGM Minerals.

This edition of the Award Festival will witness solo dance performances accompanied by a live orchestra in the first half of each evening, followed by music recitals in the second half. In line with this festival design, the inaugural evening opened with a stellar Odissi dance recital by Shashwati Garai Ghosh from Kolkata, a seasoned Odissi dancer and senior disciple of renowned Odissi guru Smt. Sharmila Biswas. In her two-part presentation, she commenced with a befitting invocation to Goddess Devi, Mahamaya, who is the embodiment of life, the divine effulgence of worldly existence. This presentation was choreographed by Smt. Shashwati Garai Ghosh set to the music composition of Shri Srijan Chatterjee.

She concluded with a beautiful Abhinaya, adapted to the Odissi idiom by Guru Smt. Sharmila Biswas from a choreograph of Guru Smt. Kalanidhi Narayanan. Based on a shloka from the Šrī Krishnakarṇāmrutam composed by 13th century Sanskrit poet, Shri Bilvamangala, Ghosh presented Ramo Nama Babhuva, the endearing story of mother Yashoda putting a reluctant and tiresome baby Krishna to sleep by narrating to him, the epic Ramayana. Her recital was interlaced with nuanced abhinaya exploring Vatsalya Rasa, while the invocation showed the power and finesse of her nritta and abhinaya in consonance. She was provided able accompaniment on the Violin by Suramani Ramesh Chandra Das, on the Flute by Shri Srinibas Satapathy, on the Mardala by Shri Budhanath Swain and on Vocals by Shri Rajesh Kumar Lenka. The light designing further reinforced the vibrance of her performance.

This was followed a recital by the Carnatic violin duo of Shri Lalgudi GJR Krishnan and Smt. Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi from Chennai, fifth-generation exponents of the Shishya Parampara of Saint Tyagaraja. This illustrious duo began by exploring the musical nuances of Raga Kalyani, seamlessly transitioning between improvisation, sawaal-jawaab, and structured melodic patterns both in the violin and the percussion, accompanied on the Mridangam by Shri Kuchibhotla Sai Giridhar and the Kanjira by Shri S. Sunil Kumar, mesmerising the audience with their distinctive musical brilliance showcasing both their individual identities and dual synergies. After this composition of the great Saint Tyagaraja, they went on to present a composition of one of the three jewels of Carnatic Music, Muthuswamy Dikshitar. As a tribute to Guru Shri Kelucharan Mohapatra, they then presented the timeless ashtapadi of Shri Jayadeva, Kuru Yadu Nandana, and completed their captivating evening of music with a composition by their father, the great Vidwan Lalgudi G. Jayaraman, in the Raga Sindhu Bhairavi.

The second evening of the festival on September 6th commences with Kathak recital by renowned Kathak exponent, Smt. Shila Mehta, accompanied on the Tabla by Shri Vivek Mishra and Shri Amitangshu Kumar Brahma, on the Sarod by Shri Sunando Mukherjee, and on Vocals by Shri Jaydeep Sinha, followed by the Hindustani Vocal Rendition by Shri Jayateerth Mevundi, aided by Shri Narahari V. on the Tabla and Smt. Anushula More on the Harmonium.

The artistes were aided by the skilful and distinctive light designing of Shri Debiprasad Mishra and Shri Sujith Raj, the seamless sound engineering of Shri C. Anand Krishna and Shri Sujith Raj with technical engineering on live and background visual media by Shri Dhilip Kumar. Online viewers can find the live stream on Srjan’s Facebook page and YouTube channel 7 pm onwards. The event is being attended both physically and virtually by several dignitaries, influential citizens, luminaries from the world of Art, and audiences from across India and abroad. The entire festival has been curated, conceptualized, and designed by Guru Ratikant Mohapatra, with the programme execution by Shri Debiprasad Mishra. Shri Mrutyunjaya Rath ably conducted the proceedings of the evening.




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