Friday, August 15, 2003, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


A spiritual trilogy that celebrates immortal love
Tribune News Service

It is an art exhibit that transcends beyond the real. Taking aesthetics to a spiritual realm, Nitin and Anjali Bhalla of Nitanjali Art Gallary present “Harmonious Chant”, a group show by 3 artists, Sujata Dere, Madhuri Phalnikar Bhaduri and Sachindra Nath Jha, featuring soulful canvases that sing an ode to the forces above.

Starting from August 20 to 22 at Visual Arts Gallary, India Habitat Centre, the exhibition travels to the sublime, the unachievable. It nurtures a state of the highest aesthetics. Form translates a concept. A notion that of God, or the power who gently take us to an unknown future, blindfolded with their ethereal love. All three artists capture this immortal love. The omnipresence. The sheer purity of His aura.

Continuously evolving a style of their own, Sachinder and Sujata are intensely inspired by religious and devotional feelings. Sachinder perceives God and goddesses as beautiful, appearing against colourful abstractions. For Sachinder, spiritual stems from the imagery of Lord Krishna and he projects the grandeur of this flamboyant God through elements that symbolise his form: The peacock feather, the bare bejewelled torso in hues of blue.....

Sujata Dere captures the ritualism that surrounds spirituality. The sound of ringing bells. The clusters of temples. The myriad icons of selfless devotion.

Madhuri moves from tranquil landscapes to mystic abstractions, presenting variety of forms and their combinations. In her works, God emerges as a notion. And his love permeates the inner ravines of the heart.

Harmonious chants takes you through a spiritual experience. Abstractions merge with form to craft a feeling of unreal that stems from the real. Belief and myth merge together to form a whole. A universe. And beyond.

Shringara Vaibhavam

Dancer-choreographer Geeta Chandran premieres her latest work titled Shringara Vaibhavam at Kamani Auditorium on August 22.

Shringara Vaibhavam weaves various texts from Kalidas and Bilhana to contemporary writers, creating a common construct of understanding the Indian concept of Shringara (misunderstood in the narrow sense of the erotic) and creates a celebration of the human spirit, where body and mind and bhakti coalesce into one creative entity.

Shringara Vaibhavam will be presented through the prism of Navadarshanam, a contemporary vision of tradition that empowers the artist to reach out to new urban audiences, even while strengthening the tradition in which she is located. According to Geeta Chandran, the concept of Navadarshanam links roots with wings. It is only when the roots are strong and mature that one can fly high.

Shringara Vaibhavam opens with a verse that celebrates Shringara Rasa, the king of all raas. It then flows into an exposition of spring based on the verses selected from Kalidas’ Ritusamharam. The verses celebrate the coming of spring, and the dazzling beauty of cupid.

The centrepiece of Shringara Vaibhavam is a varnam in the ragam Latangi, Adi Talam, a new composition of Shri Durga Prasad.

The varnam provides an appropriate vehicle for the dancer to present classical images of a ‘nayika’ (heroine) in love. The crisp pure dance sequences (jathis) in the varnam have been composed by the renowned mridangam vidwan Karaikudi Krishnamurthy.

To represent the feelings of male shringara, Geeta will present verses from a precious 12th century text- Chaurapanchasika- written in Sanskrit, by Bilhana. The text speaks of Bilhana’s love for his beloved Amaravati and provide an exquisite vehicle for the elaboration of shringara rasa from a man’s point of view.

A sweet story is attached to the verses. It is said that Bilhana and Amravati’s love blossomed surreptitiously; when caught, Amravati’s father ordered for Bilhana to be beheaded. As he was being led to his execution, Bilhana reminiscensed in chaste Sanskrit the beautiful moments he had spent with his gorgeous Amravati. Using beautiful classical images, he narrated the story of their ill-fated love. The metre he chose was the “Chaura” and he sang all the fifty (pancha-sika) of them. Hence, the title of the collection-The Chaurapanchasika.

Geeta has drawn inspiration from the Chaurapanchasika paintings from the late N.C. Mehta collection to create dance from Sanskrit verses. The symbols and moods of a man in love have their aesthetic source in these paintings.

Shringara Vaibhavam concludes with a Raas dance based on the works of Haveli Sangeetkaars. Composed by Dr Vasanti Krishna Rao, the verses celebrate the shrigara raas experienced by the gopis of Brindavan in the company of their Krishna. The raas has been created as part of the senior fellowship bestowed on Geeta Chandran for research in Haveli Sangeet and its use in Bharatanatyam abhinaya.

Ek Shaam Rashtra Ke Naam

National News Service Online Pvt Ltd., (NS) organised a musical and patriotic evening ‘Ek Shaam Rashtra Ke Naam’.

The evening was organised to mark the Bharat Chodo Aandolan. Participants and audience remembered the freedom fighters on the occasion. Shankar Sawhney, Vandana Vajpayee, Bhuppi Chawla, Vipin Sachdeva, Arun Bakshi, Pankaj Jeswani were among the participants in the programme.

Cultural programme

Shakuntalam Kala Kendra organised a cultural programme, “Aawaz Aur Aandaz,” in Kamani Auditorium. The function was inaugurated by joint- secretary of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, Prof Harmohinder Singh and chairman of Bal Bhawan Public School, Mr G.C. Lagan. 



UB Group to host theatre festival in Capital
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 14
The ever struggling, yet zealous theatre actors and directors, who animate the stage despite shoestring budgets, have reason to smile at last.
Inspired by the overwhelming response to its theatre initiative in Bangalore last year, the UB Group Spirits Division has decided to hold a theatre festival across four cities in the country.

Theatre lovers in Delhi, Pune, Hyderabad and Kolkata will get a chance to watch three plays staged during the McDowell’s ‘Signature Theatre Festival’ scheduled to begin on August 22. The festival will open with ‘My Best Friend’s Wedding’, directed by Sundeep Sikand. This will be followed by staging of ‘The Good, The Bad & The Googly’ directed by Dinyar Contractor on September 5,6 and 7 and ‘Laughing Wild’ directed by Raell Padamasee on September 20 and 21. Tickets for the show will be available for Rs 500, Rs 300, Rs 200 and Rs 100.

Ms Raell Padamsee, director, who runs the Academy for Creative Expression in Mumbai, said “it is a boon for theatre producers”.

Mr Dinyar R.N. Contractor told mediapersons that theatre producers work under several constraints such as high rents for auditorium and rehearsal space, the remuneration quoted by artists and the high cost of inserting advertisement in newspapers and other media.

“ Everything comes first, live art comes last,” says Mumbai based Contractor, who chose theatre as a profession way back in the sixties.

Mr Contractor recalls the golden days of theatre when actors and actresses would line up in front of theatre production houses in the hope of getting a role. 


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