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Tributes to a great maestro

Tuesday, September 26, 2017
By Vijay Shanker

The Rashtriya Sanskritik Mitra Mandal, Chembur, celebrated thier annual 'gurupoornima utsav' at the Afac High School Auditorium. In its presentation 'Adaranjali 2017', students performed classical music and dance as a mark of tribute to Tabla maestro and mentor, the  late Taalmani Pandit Brijraj Mishra.

Birju Bhaiya, as he was popularly known, was an unsung hero who received his formal training in classical dance from Acharya Sukhdev Maharaj, Acharya Pande Maharaj and Acharya Chaube Maharaj. Having received training in Tabla by Pandit Sharada Sahayaji, he mastered both the art forms in an exemplary manner. Although he was trained in Kathak dance of the Benaras Gharana, he later went on to excel in playing the Tabla.

Students of Hindustani classical singing, under the able guidance of Sushri Aparna Apte Biwalkar, began with an ode to goddess Sarswati, followed by 'Omkaar Swaroopa' and 'Gurudev Dutta aarti'. They also rendered “gunja sa he ek taara”. An initiative of the Taalmani Brijraj Mishra Kala Foundation has been to train students of the Mamnoli village, Murbaad in Hindustani singing, under the guidance of Aparna and Harshal Wadavlikar.

Performances in Kathak commenced with a 'Ganesh vandana' rendered by Dr. Anupma Harshal and Manjula Shastri, with artistic inputs from their mentor, accomplished Kathak exponent and actress Paullumi B. Mukheerjee and Sunil Sunkara. The conceptual presentations included Teentaal, Raastaal, Jhaaptaal and Ektaal by the students. A beautiful Bhajan 'Krishna khad-e madhuban main' was performed by tiny tots with enthusiasm. The tabla accompaniment by Harshal Wadavlikar bore special significance in the performance as the bols played were articulate and precise. The drums Tabla ensemble had students present the taal section with a jugalban-di which was rhythmic.

The highlight of the programme was the surprise performance by renowned Kathak exponent Jayantimalaji, who performed the 'aamad' wih the expresion of her eyes as a tribute to the late guru, while her Japanese student Hiroko S. Fukuda, presented a small 'toda'. Paullumi B Mukheerjee did the 'nauka kee gaat' that left everyone mesmerised. A fine tribute indeed.

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