Bhubaneswar : In keeping with Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra’s heartfelt wishes, Srjan has been conducting the Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Award Festival for the last 24 years. After his passing in 2004, this event has assumed special meaning for all of his students and all those whom he has touched worldwide. The inaugural day of the 25th OMC Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Award Festival was held on September 5, 2019 at Rabindra Mandap Bhubaneswar. The Award Festival has always been organised with the aim of giving the Odisha audience an exposure to classical fare of the highest level, presenting stellar performances by classical artistes whom they have not had the opportunity to witness. To commemorate the 25th year celebration of the GKCM Award Festival, Srjan organised a seven-day festival in place of the annual five-day event.
The inaugural evening of the festival commenced with the auspicious lighting of the lamp by eminent dignitaries, Shri Debi Prasad Mishra, MLA, Baramba, Shri Anup Jalota, Bhajan Samrat; Smt. Praveena Kala, Chief General Manager, SBI, Shri Pankaj Lochan Mohanty, Chairman, MGM Group and Shri Ratikant Mohapatra, Director, Srjan.
The highlight of the evening was the performance by celebrated Bhajan singer, Shri Anup Jalota, popularly known as the Bhajan Samrat. Shri Jalota, with his evergreen voice and captivating presence, commenced his recital with an invocation. He dedicated this evening of music to the legendary Odissi Guru Shri Kelucharan Mohapatra and as a tribute to Guruji’s immense contribution to the classical Arts, each rendition was based on a classical Raag. Among his notable songs were the celebrated Bhajan Aisi Lagi Lagan, set to Raag Kirvani and Jag Mein Sundar Hain Do Naam set to Raag Gurjari Todi. Bringing in a strong classical touch to his evening’s repertoire, Shri Anup Jalota was ably accompanied by Sushree Koyel Tripathy on the Vocals, Shri Rashid Khan on the Violin, Shri Pradeep Ghosh on the Tabla, Shri Himanshu Tiwari on Guitar. His recital highlighted his melodious yet powerful voice, with an incredible range, leaving the audience enthralled.
This befitting opening was followed by the Odissi dance group presentation of Gunjan Dance Academy, Cuttack led by renowned Odissi exponent and disciple of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, Smt. Meera Das. Gunjan presented two dance pieces, Moods of Rhythm and Dashavatar. In Taala Roopa, or the Moods of Rhythm, Gunjan presented a pure dance, exploring styles and patterns of the Odissi Mardala and creating many moods out of these, and celebrating the idea of romance through rhythm. Conceptualised and choreographed by Smt. Meera Das, the music and rhythm composition for this presentation is by Shri Dhaneswar Swain. In their second presentation, Dashavatar, while the dance was originally choreographed by legendary maestro Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, Smt. Meera Das adapted it to a group presentation while keeping the original composition intact. Dashavatar is an expressive dance depicting the ten avatars or incarnations of Lord Vishnu. Smt. Meera Das performed along with the group, and her group of dancers from Gunjan, trained under her able guidance depicted these ten incarnations with good footwork and commendable stage presence. This was an apt conclusion to the inaugural evening’s performances.
In the days to come, Srjan has curated the festival with a range of music recitals featuring world renowned artistes, with a special evening highlighting Odissi music. Furthermore, to honour and pay tribute to Guruji’s lifelong passion of Odissi dance, all dance performances over this seven-day award festival are group presentations by established and well-known Odissi dance institutions of Odisha. The festival will also feature a special solo recital by Smt. Niharika Mohanty, senior disciple of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, Odissi exponent and founder-director of Guru Shradha, California, USA. On the concluding evening, Srjan’s very own repertory will perform a special choreographic production, Namami Gange after the presentation of the coveted NALCO Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Award and the NALCO Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Yuva Prativa Samman. The programme was compared by Dr. Srinivas Ghatuari.