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Varied facets of Kathak

Tuesday, December 06, 2016
By Vijay Shanker

Dadar Bhagini Samaaj, Hindu Colony, presented a unique Kathak programme entitled 'Kathak Pratyagati' performed by accomplished Kathak exponent Paullomi Mukherjee and her troupe at their Hall in Dadar. The performance was noteworthy for the varied facets of Kathak and the theatrical exposition 'Karna-Kunti Samvaad'.

The  Nrityadarpana Foundation under the creative direction of Guru. Paullomi Mukherjee porrtrayed an onward journey of Kathak dance from the temples to the Moghul era and its evolution till date, Kathak Pratyagatee  encompassed religion, culture, age and geography. Kathak dance as it traverses through time, began with the Saraswati Vandana, Ya kundendu  rendered by Sneha Jagtap. Kasturi tilakam was presented in a unique portrayal of Krishna as the greatest adornment of his mother presented by Guru Paullomi Mukherjee. A gandabandh shagird of late Ramadevi Lacchu Maharaj, her nuanced abhinay truly reflected the style of late Lacchu Maharaj ji, who was renowned for his abhinay. Ardhaang, a composition by Pt Birju Maharaj, marked the entry of Sunil Sunkara. Combining it with excerpts from Ardhasheesh by late Pt Lacchu Maharaj, it brought together compositions from two generations of the Lucknow gharana. A raas geet by Shradha M, Arushi, Vaishnavi and Shradha D was a perfect ending to the temple Kathak section.   

From the temple to the Moghul durbar, Kathak dance underwent a complete makeover during the moghul era. Chautaal presented by Swati Thorat was followed by a ghazal presented by Anupma Harshal.  Anupma portrayed a naayika with a secret lover, who is suddenly faced with the situation where everyone has come to know of her love. Jhaptaal tarana by both Anupma and Manju Shastri, a creative piece  composed by Aparna Biwalkar marked the end of this era. The dancers received orchestral support from Harshal Waadhavlikar on Tabla, Aparna onvocals and Vishal on Sitar.

A moment of reunion of Karna and Kunti captured by poet Rabindranath Tagore in the Karna Kunti Samwaad was presented by Paulomi and Sunil in an English translation.  On the eve of the great war did Kunti really come to strike a maternal chord with Karna or to shield her sons from his wrath?
Paullomi and Sunil gave a theatrical performance based on Kathak abhinaya that truly embodied the characters. Sufi kathak or the sufi path as it is known, is about the amalgam of the soul with divine. Sunil presented Chhap Tilak Sab Cheeni, one of the most notable compositions of Amir Khusro.
His simple but heartfelt abhinaya struck a chord with the audience. He ended the piece in the sufi dervish spins that reflect meditation in motion.  The final performance, the baithaki lawani and thumree, that brought about a confluence of two sister artforms. The subtleness of Kathak and the loud abhinaya of  lavani were presented by Paullomi and Charusheela Gollam through two compositions, Rajasa and Lat Uljhi Sulja Ja baalam, both of which depict the swaadeenapatika naayika.. The program ended with the slogan for peace. that invoked the shanti rasa.

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