29th OMC Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Award Festival

Following the Kathak recital of Smt. Shila Mehta and the mesmerising devotional renditions of Shri Jayateerth Mevundi on the second day of the 29th edition of the OMC Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Award Festival 2023, it seemed that the festival found its piece-de-resistance of performances in Shri P. Praveen Kumar’s Bharatanatyam presentation, followed by the tantalising Sitar recital of Shri Niladri Kumar.
The inauguration was brief and elegantly conducted with the lighting of the lamp by the esteemed the third evening of the Award Festival began with the lighting of the lamp by esteemed guests Guru Smt. Aruna Mohanty, President, Odisha Sangeet Natak Akademi and Secretary, Orissa Dance Academy, Shri Subodh Chandra Acharya, Joint Director, Odia Language, Literature & Culture Department, Government of Odisha, Shri Prabodh Kumar Rath, Secretary, Odisha Sangeet Natak Akademi, and Shri Ratikant Mohapatra, Festival Director.
Shri P. Praveen Kumar is no stranger to audiences across India. An accomplished performer, Nattuvanar and choreographer, exploring environmental, sociological, and traditional themes, he commenced his recital with a Muruga Kavutuvam, invoking the divine and extolling the great virtue is of Lord Muruga, who resides amidst the majestic mountains and dispels all the darkness from the lives of the ardent devotee. His commanding stage presence and nuanced presentation in this brief but befitting invocation set the tone for the evening, with his versatile choreographs and dancing finesse.
With the captivating musical accompaniment of Smt. Navyashree K.N. on the Nattuvangam, Shri Vinay Nagarajan on the Mridangam, Shri Mahesh Swamy on the Flute, and the mellifluous Shri R. Raghuram on Vocals, Shri Praveen Kumar followed his invocation with a Varnam. While the varnam explored the well-known theme of Lord Krishna’s tales of tricks and triumphs, Praveen Kumar brought in a refreshing element of novelty by portraying the entire presentation, as though he were speaking to little Krishna. The underlying Bhakti prevailed, while the perspective was that though address a child, not as a God, of his several glories. He also touched upon the episode of the Vishwarupa Darshana between Krishna and Arjuna. A composition of Thuraiyur Shri Rajagopala Sharma, this varnam was set to Raga Atthana and Adi Talam.
He concluded with a traditional Padam, a rare composition centred around the emotions of a Virahotkanthita Nayaka who is jilted by his beloved, after shunning his life and family for her. In despair and seeking solace, to absolve himself of all his sins, he seeks renunciation in the Holy city of Kashi. Set to Raga Mukhari and Mishra Chapu Talam, this presentation was an exploration into the depths of both nritta and abhinaya by P. Praveen Kumar, whose performance was much loved by all the rasikas.
The second recital for the evening was the Sitar performance of Shri Niladri Kumar, accompanied by Shri Yashwant Vaishnav on the Tabla. Melding the contemporary world music space with the classical through his creative and masterful performances and compositions, He explored the beautiful nuances of the electrifying stringed instrument in his recital, reinforced by the rhythmic intricacies of Yashwant Vaishnav’s percussion play. The third evening of the OMC GKCM Award Festival came to an end on a high, with this beautiful confluence of dance and music, bringing out the best of the classical fare to the Odisha audiences.
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 7 pm onwards. The event is being 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 penultimate evening features the Kuchipudi recital of Smt. Amrita Lahiri, followed by the much-awaited Tabla recital of Ustad Akram Khan.
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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