27th OMC Guru Kelucharan Award festival kicks off

Bhubaneswar: Srjan, as a premier cultural institution of the nation, recognizes the need to sustain creative energy and artistic endeavour while fulfilling its social responsibility to the public and the members of the Art fraternity. This year, for the second year running, Srjan is hosting the 27th OMC Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Award Festival virtually on the Srjan GKCMON Facebook page and YouTube channel, from September 5th to September 9th, 2021, at 7.30 p.m. each day. September 5th marked the commencement of the Award Festival. Upholding their commitment towards diligence and professional excellence in their service of art, the programme was seamlessly conducted on the online platforms.
Srjan dedicated this year’s festival in memory of Guruma, late Smt. Laxmipriya Mohapatra, the first ever dancer to perform Odissi on stage and the fountain of inspiration for many doyennes of Odissi dance.

Following the welcome address by Guru Ratikant Mohapatra, Director, Srjan, the viewers witnessed thoughtful and inspiring speeches by veteran actress and dancer, Dr. Vyjayanthimala Bali and Smt. Hema Malini, veteran actress and Hon’ble Member of Parliament (Mathura), through digital messages. Mr. Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi, Hon’ble Minister, Tourism and Odia Literature Language and Culture, and Mr. Balwant Singh, Managing Director, Odisha Mining Corporation Ltd., also shared their virtual messages on this inaugural evening. The festival was also attended virtually by several dignitaries, influential citizens, and luminaries from the world of Art. The programmes were conducted with strict adherence to all the government mandated COVID-19 safety guidelines, while maintaining the required social distancing norms.

Each day features a classical dance presentation followed by a classical music recital, designed with an eye on the most suitable combination of artistes and genre. The inaugural evening commenced with an Odissi dance recital by Smt. Sharmila Mukerjee, senior disciple of Guru Shri Kelucharan Mohapatra, and founder/artistic director of Sanjali Centre for Odissi Dance, Bangalore. She presented three dance pieces, beginning with a Mangalacharan, invoking the blessings of Lord Jagannath for an auspicious beginning. In this Mangalacharan, the shloka was a Saraswati Vandana, describing the goddess of music, eternal learning, and the arts in all her splendour. The presentation was choreographed by Smt. Sharmila Mukerjee herself, set to the music composition of Shri Debashish Sarkar. Her second presentation was Visaarini, a uniquely choreographed pure dance piece in raag Darbari. It brought out the Odissi diction and the movement oeuvre to the forefront, exploring the dynamic aspects of choreography as well as the by lanes of Odissi grammar.
She concluded her presentations with a timeless and evergreen composition of the legendary Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra set to the music composition of Pt. Bhubaneswar Mishra—Yahi Madhava, Yahi Keshava, an Ashtapadi from Shri Jayadeva’s Geeta Govinda. In this expressive piece, Smt. Sharmila Mukerjee depicted the nuances of the khandita nayika beautifully. With her graceful movements and nuanced expressions, Smt. Sharmila Mukerjee presented a befitting and memorable opening recital. In her presentations, she was ably accompanied on Vocals by Shri Debashish Sarkar, on the Mardala by Shri Satchidananda Das, on the Flute by Shri Srinibas Satapathy, on the Violin by Shri Agnimitra Behera, and on the Sitar, Shri Chandrachur Bhattacharya.

This was followed by a mesmerizing violin recital by world-renowned violinist, Dr. Sangeeta Shankar. Specializing in the Gayaki Ang or the “Singing Violin,” evoking all the emotions of a human voice through the violin, she explored the intricacies and nuances of Raag Abhogi Kanada and Raag Khamaj. Her first performance was a Khyal in Vilambit Ektal, Madhya and Dhrut Teen Taal. She concluded with a Thumri of Banaras in Ektal, in Raag Khamaj. Ably accompanied by Pt. Ajeet Pathak on the Tabla, her technical virtuosity and effortless performance, with renditions in a uniquely evocative style were inspirational. This mellifluous performance concluded the inaugural evening of the 27th OMC Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Award Festival.
The second evening of the festival on September 6th commences with a Bharatanatyam recital by Smt. Anita Mallick. Her performance will be followed by an Odissi Vocal recital by Shri Rupak Kumar Parida.
The entire festival has been curated and designed by Guru Ratikant Mohapatra, with the programme execution by Shri Debiprasad Mishra. Odisha Mining Corporation Limited (OMC) is the title sponsor, and Odisha Tourism, Government of Odisha is the festival’s gold sponsor. This festival has been supported by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India and the Dept. of Odia Literature Language and Culture, Govt of Odisha. MGM Group, Bhubaneswar are the festival sponsors, Dharitri and Odisha Post are the media partners, and web partner is Narthaki.com.