Friday, September 11, 2009


The second day turned out to be better and much more enjoyable than the first at the Bengaluru International Arts Festival 09. It started with the recital by Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt (Grammy Award winner) and Suma Sudhindra on the Veena along with the members of the troupe Laya Taranga. Vishwa Mohan Bhat reached epic proportions with his Mohan Veena (an improvisation of the guitar with many additional strings) on one piece of music. Sheer joy and at such times the mind explodes and goes numb. The ending was in typical Laya Taranga style with jugalbandi - the relay among the percussionists (Mridangam, Kanjeera, Ghatam, Tabla and drums) finally merging into an amalgamated interplay by all the percussionists and the Veenas.
Next was Padma Vibhushan Sonal Mansingh the master dansuese and one of the foremeost proponents of Odissi dance. She did the Krishna Leela - 8 rasas which she portrayed with aplomb and amazing vigour even at this age. The different rasas included Ananda, Bhaya, Ashcharya, Haasya, etc the Haasya act in which she portrayed Krishna taking away the Gopi's clothes when they go to bathe in the Yamuna (Gopi Vastra Harana) was extremely expressive and hilariously portrayed. She made a very pertinent remark where she said she had rejected the notion that the classical styles are on the high pedestal and the folk arts are of a lower stature. Art, music etc in her view has no such hierarchy. She included Hindi bollywood songs into each of the eight performances, interspersed with her insightful commentry in impeccable English.
The final recital was a combination of Bharatanatyam, Kathak and Tap Dance. The first number was a Bharatanatyam recital by Anuradha Vikranth - near divine performance and amazing grace of the dansuese enthralled (in the true sense of the word) the audience! She essentially portrayed the penance of Raavana for Mahadeva Atmalinga while playing the Rudra Veena and the conquest of the river Ganga into Mahadeva's locks (Jataa). It was followed by a kathak + tap dance and a lyrical flamenco + kathak performance back to back by 2 other artists (one male and one female). The final piece was a fusion of Tap dance, Kathak and Bharatanatyam when all three dancers performed in synchrony. It was a veritable blast of the arts for the true art lovers and a 'not to be missed' opportunity like never before. Kudos to the organizers and the artistes themselves for having given such brilliant performances.

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