29th edition of the Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra (GKCM) Award Festival organised by Srjan—Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Odissi Nrityabasa came to a close on September 9

Bhubaneswar: After four evenings of captivating dance and music performances from September 5—8, 2023, the 29th edition of the Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra (GKCM) Award Festival organised by Srjan—Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Odissi Nrityabasa in collaboration with Sri Sri University Cuttack came to a close on September 9, 2023.
The inaugural evening opened with an Odissi dance recital by Shashwati Garai Ghosh, followed by the Carnatic violin duo of Lalgudi GJR Krishnan and Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi. Subsequent evenings featured Kathak by Shila Mehta, Bharatanatyam by P. Praveen Kumar, and Kuchipudi by Amrita Lahiri. Each of these dance performances were followed by musical recitals that featured a Hindustani vocal rendering by Jayateerth Mevundi, a Sitar musical by Niladri Kumar, and a Tabla recital by Akram Khan, respectively.
The final day featured the coveted Award Presentation ceremony and concluded with a cultural programme. Esteemed dignitaries Prof. (Mrs.) Rajita Kulkarni, President, SSU; Shri Anant Mahapatra, Veteran Theatre Artiste and Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Awardee 2023; and Guru Ratikant Mohapatra, Director, Srjan and Dean, Faculty of Arts, Communication and Indic Studies (FACIS), SSU commenced the evening’s proceedings with the lighting of the lamp.
In the 30th year of Srjan’s establishment, Guru Ratikant Mohapatra delivered the Director’s address and welcomed all the guests and audiences on the celebrated concluding evening. Thereafter commenced the formal Award Presentation ceremony, as Prof. (Mrs.) Rajita Kulkarni presented all the awards to the awardees from Odisha and outside.
The GKCM Award 2023 was presented to Odisha Sangeet Natak Akademi’s Kabi Samrat Upendra Bhanja Samman recipient 2019 and nominee of the one-time Sangeet Natak Akademi Amrit Award 2022, Shri Anant Mahapatra for his lifetime achievements and immense contribution to the field of Theatre. The coveted award carries a respectable allocation of Rs. 1,00,000/- each and a citation. This was followed by the presentation of the GKCM Yuva Prativa Samman, which focuses on reviving the all-important role of the solo artiste in the classical idiom. The award carries a cash prize of Rs 25,000/- and a citation. This year, the GKCM Yuva Pratibha Sammans were presented to four exceptionally talented performing artistes under the age of 40 years in the field of classical dance and Odissi music to acknowledge their outstanding performances. Arupa Gayatri Panda and Siddhi Waikar received the same for Odissi dance, while Vishal Krishna was honoured with the Yuva Samman for Kathak and Arup Das for Odissi music (Mardala).
After a thoughtful and supportive speech by Prof. (Mrs.) Rajita Kulkarni, who emphasized on the grandeur of the festival and the importance of preserving traditional values in the modern world through Art and excellence, the cultural programme of the evening, featuring a presentation by each of the GKCM Yuva Pratibha Samman awardees began.
First, was the Odissi Mardala recital by Shri Arup Das, who explored the intricacies of the Odissi Tala system with a laudable rendition. He presented compositions in Adi Tala, while staying true to the integrity of the resounding Odissi Mardala. Arup was ably accompanied on the harmonium by Shri Muralidhar Swain, who reinforced his percussion play with the melodic accompaniment.
This was followed by an Odissi dance performance by Smt. Siddhi Waikar who presented Navagraha, the embodiment of infinite cosmic energy which turns the wheel of life, the wheel of Karma or action. Portraying the nine demigods, who are the navagrahas, the dancer beautifully executed the choreography that illustrated the celestial configuration of the nine planets at the moment of birth that dictate an individual’s horoscope and ordains their future. In obeisance, Siddhi offered her salutations to the Navagrahas – Surya, Som, Mangal, Buddh, Guru, Shukra, Shani,Rahu and Ketu. Choreographed by Guru. Smt. Daksha Mashruwala, Navagraha is set to the music composition of Shri Jateen Sahu with the rhythmic inputs of Shri Rohan Dahale.
This wonderful beginning to the dances for the evening was followed by the powerful Kathak presentation of Shri Vishal Krishna, who performed the Shiva Kavitt Paran written by his great grandfather Acharya Pt. Sukhdev Maharaj followed by some technical compositions in Banaras Gharana in taal Teen taal, 16 beats. He concluded with a bhajan choreographed by Padmshri Shmt. Madhavi Mudgal depicting the eternal love between Radha and Krishna, designed to the ambience of the beautifully romantic rains, featuring the mesmerising dance of the peacock as a symbolism of her effulgent love for the dark Lord. The dance transcended into a Raas Leela and portrayed the union of Radha and Krishna in the climax of this performance.
The final performance of the evening was by Smt. Arupa Gayatri Das, who presented the ashtapadi, a composition from 12th century saint and poet Shri Jayadeva’s love song, the Geeta Govinda. In Ramate Yamuna Pulina Vane, Arupa Gayatri Panda enacted the role Lord Krishna, who was indulging in passionate dalliance and love play with a woman, who was exhilarated by his bewitching nature. And then, switching over to the role of Radha, she wonders why she was waiting, in futile hope, for her gallant Krishna, knowing of his amorous escapades and impassioned trysts with other women by the banks of the Yamuna, feeling defeated by the lack of his love and longing. Choreographed by Guru Smt. Aruna Mohanty, Arupa’s rendition of Ramate Yamuna Pulina Vane was set to the music composition of Dr. Subas Pani and the rhythm composition of Guru Bijaya Barik, and was a befitting conclusion to the evening.
The artistes were aided by the radiant light designing of Shri Debiprasad Mishra and Shri Sujith Raj, the meticulous sound engineering of Shri C. Anand Krishna and Bharath Krishna, with the elegant and striking visual media, both live and in the background, by Shri Dhilip Kumar. Online viewers can find the live stream on Srjan’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. The event was attended both physically and virtually by several dignitaries, influential citizens, luminaries from the world of Art, and audiences from across India and abroad. The entire festival has been curated, conceptualized, and designed by Guru Ratikant Mohapatra, with the programme execution by Shri Debiprasad Mishra. Shri Mrutyunjaya Rath ably conducted the proceedings of the evening.
The 29th OMC GKCM Award Festival has been generously sponsored by the diamond sponsor Odisha Mining Corporation Ltd. (OMC). The Award Festival is supported by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, and the Odia Language Literature & Culture Department, Government of Odisha. The event has, as its gold sponsors, MGM Minerals Limited and Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), and festival sponsors State Bank of India (SBI), Indian Metals and Ferro Alloys Limited (IMFA), Paradeep Phosphates Limited (PPL), and Priyadarshini Handloom, with a special mention to Mishra Group of Companies. The hospitality sponsors are Mayfair Hotels and Resorts, Swosti Group, and The Royale Midtown Hotel. The Dharitri and Orissa Post newspapers, which enjoy very large circulation all over Odisha, and narthaki.com, the hugely accessible cultural website read worldwide, are the media partners and web partner, respectively.

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