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Tribute to a mentor

Wednesday, August 22, 2018
By Vijay Shanker

The Sangeetanjali Music School celebrated the 21st Guru Purnima Sangeet Mahotsav at the ISKCON Auditorium in Juhu last Saturday, with performances of music and classical dance. This programme was unique because it commemorated the veteran mentor Acharya Anupam Rai's contribution spanning  more than five decades.

The program commenced with a short documentary on Pandit Anupam Rai's contribution as a performer, teacher, choreographer and composer in the field of Indian classical music and dance.

The evening began with a Hindustani classical vocal by the young talented singer Anuratn Rai. His rendition of 'Raag Shree' was spell-binding due to the clarity of his notes and fast 'taans' of varied rhythmic complexities with the essence of his gharana (Rampur sahaswan and Seniya maihar). Anuratn concluded his recital with a beautiful rare 'tarana' – 'Raagini Purvi'.

Thereafter, record-breaking singer and danseuse Anurita Rai performed an effective devotional 'bhajan', a philosophical romantic 'geet' and a 'Sufi Kalam'. Her clear and sharp emotion-soaked voice touched the hearts of listeners.

The last presentation was a Natwari Kathak Dance by beautiful young and talented dancer Shriya Popat. She began with a 'doha' defining Natwari Kathak, followed by a 'Krishna Stuti' in 'Gaj-Jhampa' of 15 beats. The unusual 'Guru paran' was presented in 'Pratikeern Jaati', 'Teen Taal'. Her Lucknow gharana 'thaat' was performed with grace. Finally the program concluded with scintillating footwork in 'Khand Jaati' danced to perfect rhythm. The audience was amazed to see her rendition of 'Ardhnarishwar Paran'. Shriya's last socially relevant presentation 'Betiyan' wherein she depicted love, beauty, excellence, perfection and pain of young girls, created a lasting impression.

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