As a part of ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ at Kathak Kendra under Sangeet Natak Akademi and Ministry of Culture, the Government of India commenced the 15 days Live Kathak festival ‘VandeMaataram’ on 31st July 2021. This Festival of Diverse Expressions in Kathak also saw some amazing performances on 1st and 2nd August 2021. Each day of the festival is divided into 2 sessions. The first session starts in the morning Antarang a rendezvous with eminent Kathak artists, and their journey is followed by the second session in the afternoon with some dance performances.
The first day of the festival started with a lamp lighting ceremony by Kathak Guru PadamshriShovana Narayanand Shri Suman Kumar, Director, Kathak Kendra. The first session started with a chat with Guru Shovana Narayan Ji, talking about her journey as a Kathak artist. Later in the day, the second session kick-started with solo performances by Kathak Guru Samiksha Sharma performing shudhparamparik Kathak Dhrupad which was continued by a Taal Shikhar. She was accompanied by Shakil Ahmadon Tabla, Samiullah Khan on Gayan, Nasir Khan ji on Sarangi, pakhawaj by Mahavir Gangani and Atul Shankar on Basuri. This performance was followed by a mesmerising performance by Guru Abhimanyu Lal Ji who was accompanied by Akram Khan on Tabla, Vijay Parihar on Gayan, Salman Khan Ji on Pakhawaj, Nasir Khan Ji on Sarangi, Salim Kumar Ji on Sitar and Padanth by Nikhil Parihar. The evening continued with Guru MaltiShyam’sshudhparamparikkathak in teen taal. She was accompanied by Akhilesh Bhatt on Tabla, Gayan by Santhosh Sinha, Sarangi by Ghanshyam Sisodia, Sitar by Fateh Ali Khan Ji,RohitPrassana on Basuri and SushriYamika Mahesh on Padanth. Later, Guru Jaikishan Maharaj entertained the viewers with his BaithakiBhav from Lucknow Gharana. He was accompanied by Rahul Vishwakarma on Tabla, Bijesh Mishra on Gayan and Ghulam Waris on Sarangi. The evening was concluded with Guru Rajendra GangnaniJi’s performance – MathrubhumiNaman.
The second day of the festival started with great excitement. The first session of Antarang saw some interesting discussion with Kathak exponent Neelam Chaudhary. It was followed by a performance by Guru Pandit Deepak Maharaj Ji who was accompanied by Utpal Ghosal on Tabla, Arav Ananth on Padanth, Jayawardhan on Gayan and harmonium and Ghulam Waris on Sarangi. The day continued with the second session of performances by Pankaj Rawat. The young and talented artist presented shudhparamparik kathak in Chau taal followed by Thumri choreographed by Guru Munna Shukla. Pankaj was accompanied by Ghanshyam Sisodia on Sarangi, Anirudh Shukla on Tabla, vocal by Sanchari Bhattacharya and Jyotsna Banerjee on Padanth. The second performance was by Kathak exponent Bhawani Gangani and he was accompanied by Mohit Gangani on Tabla, MohdAyub on Sarangi, Vocal and Harmonium by Samiullah Khan Sahab, Padanth by Pravin Parihar and Ashish Gangani on Pakhawaj. The third performance of the session was by eminent Kathak artist Mayukh Bhattacharya Ji. He started his performance with Surya Vandana followed by sadedusmatra and abhinaya with a bhajan song by Bindadin Maharaj. The performance was ended with a Teen Taal Drut lay. This performance was followed by another mesmerising solo act by accomplished Kathak performer of Jaipur Gharana- Monisa Nayak. Her performance named Agarsar depicted the philosophy of co-existence as the true approach to move forward. The evening continued with the performance by Swati Sinha, one of the foremost practitioners of Kathak today. Her performance- ‘Still I Rise’ was about women liberalisation. The ended with a group performance by Asavari by Padmashri Shovana Narayan. The group dancers were Komal, Sukriti, Mahima and Sonal who along with Guru Shovana Narayan Ji presented ‘Namoh Swatantra Bharat Ka Dhwaj’. The music was composed by Madhav Prasad.
On the third day, the session the festival started with Antarang conversation with Prof Dr Mandvi Singh and Shri Suman Kumar, Director Kathak Kendra and lecture, demonstration, and presentation by Guru Piyal Bhattacharya. The second session saw amazing performances by Aryav Anand from Delhi, Rakhi Joshi, Kathak exponent of Raigarh Gharana, Shailja Bisht, a disciple of Malti Shyam, Vinita Jala from Gujarat, Kartika Singh from Delhi, DebojyotiLaskar from Tripura.
In the coming days of the festival, we’ll get to see Dr Pt. NandkishoreKapote a leading senior exponent of Kathak, Kathak virtuoso Shobha Koser on the stage amongst others, DebangshuMondal, Dinesh Gupta, Devanand Parihar, Punita Sharma, Mahua Shankar, classical Kathak danseuse, Kathak exponent Sandip Bose on 3rd August. On 4th August 2021, there will be a group performance by Urvashi Dance group by Rekha Mehra, renowned Kathak dancer from Patna Bihar – Rajiv Ranjan, Rashmi Uppal, Madhumita Roy, classical dancer and a choreographer Maitreyee Pahari. A repertory by Kathak Kendra, Shobha Deepak Singh and Shashikant Pathak. On 5th August 2021, Antarang with Pratibha Singh and Sunil Sankara. A speech by Manisha Sathe, solo performances by Karan Tirole, Rakesh Mandal, Minhaz Khan, Tina DeoleTambe, Rajshri Shirke and a duet performance by MegharanjaniMedhi and MoromiMedhi.
The 15 days long festival will continue till 14th August 2021 daily and the viewers can watch the LIVE streaming on Sangeet NatakAkademi’s and Kathak Kendra’s Facebook Page and Youtube Channel.