Shanmukahapriya, the cultural wing of the Subrahmanyam temple in Chedda Nagar, Chembur organises the Natyanjali festival every year wherein dancers from India and abroad participate with lot devotion and perform as an offering to the lord of dance — Nataraja.
The Subrahmanyam temple is possibly the only temple in Mumbai to have the majestic statue of lord Nataraja, hence it is the ideal premises to have the festival organised in the temple mandapa. Th credit for organising this festival in such a magnitude goes to Subrahmanyam and the veteran dance mentor Guru Jayashree Nair of Upasana Academy of Dance in Chembur.
The first day of the fifteen day festival showcased the performance of dance teachers and dancers and the participants were Geeta Venkateshwar, Girija Nair, Jayashree Rajgopalan, Jyothi Mohan, Kala Srinivasan, Kashmira Trivedi, Lata Raman, Manjula Manoj, Nandini Ashok, Naresh Pillai, Padmini Radhakrishnan, Prema Nagasundaram, Shamal Pawar, Suhasini Padale, Viyalakshmi Ramanujam and Vijayalakshmi Suryanarayanan, all in the Bharata Natyam style, and in the Kathak style were Sunil Sunkara, Alakananda Mukherjee, Chetan Saraiya and Harshada Jambhekar and in Kuchipudi style was Vijayashree Pillai and the only Odissi dancer was Sarmishta Chattopadhyay.
The dancers commenced with the invocations and the Mallari wherein the deity is taken on a procession with music with varied instruments like the nadaswaram and the drums. Welcoming the Lord to bless his devotees, this was followed with Shivaloka and Nadanam, the celestial dance of Lord Shiva wherein all the gods participate. Lord Brahma maintains rhythm, Lord Krishna plays the flute while Nandi plays the mridangam etc. Shivashtakam portrays the glory and the majesty of the Lord which was performed in different styles and it was interesting to watch Sunil Sunkara play Lord Nataraja as the role suits his personality. The dancers concluded the performance with the brisk and concise Thillana. It was interesting to watch some of the dance teachers perform, nevertheless, there was harmony and coordination in the performance.