Pravin Godkhindi and Tulika Ghosh shine at 51st Bhaskar Rao Nritya and Sangeet Sammelan
Colours of the mellifluously rendered ragas were incandescent with copious dulcet meers and fluid gamakas
Eschewing the convention of Peshkar, Kaida, Rela, Madhyalaya, Gat, Tukra, Padan, Chakradhar sequence, Taalyogi Pt Suresh Talwarkar, rolled out the inaugural performance of the recently concluded weeklong 51st All India Bhaskar Rao Nritya and Sangeet Sammelan, organised by Pracheen Kala Kendra at Chandigarh, aided by his daughter, Sravani Talwalkar (Tabla), Nagnath Adgaonkar (vocals), Abhishek Sinkar (Harmonium), Ishan Paranjape (Cajon and Parant), and Rituraj Hinge (Calabash) with an extended Jhaaptal (Peshkar and Punjabi Kaida). He then hopped to Parasbandi choutal – "daheri daheri daheri: two, three, four, one, is how one should begin", as he enunciated while urging learners to pursue it sacrosanctly. After leading into raga Sohini in Ara choutal, a composition by Vidushi Kishori Amankar's mother, Vidushi Saraswati Devi, he blended his vocals with Nagnath in 'Chalo hato priya', emphasizing on lahara and mukhra exactly as notated by his guru, before concluding with a robust Chakradhar.
The following day began with raga Bageshree by Punjab University music Doctorate, Prof Harvinder Singh, who is presently shaping minds at Punjab Govt. College for Girls. His employment of Kanada–ang (ga-ma-re-sa) could be put to scrutiny. Paying homage on his guru Jaspal Singh's birthday, the bandish ('Sakhi man lage na') in Vilambit Ektaal was marked by clarity, succeeding it with Drut Teental and Tarana, and rounding off with a Khambaj thumri.
Tutored initially by his father Shyamsunder Bhattacharya, and then under Late Radhika Mohan Maitra's protégé, Ravi Laha followed by Pt Buddhadev Dasgupta, sarodist Pt Debashis Bhattacharya is considered an exemplary purveyor of Shahjahanpur gharana. He threaded Khambaj thaat's raga Jhinjhoti through aalap and jor in Vilambit Teental; travelled with raga Kalawati in Madhyalay Ektal, and stationed with a Mishra Pilu tune. However, an unnecessary over-indulgence with tanpura, for which he did apologize, marred the mood.
Daughter of tabla-player Padma Bhushan Pt Nikhil Ghosh and niece of flutist Pannalal Ghosh, the milieu has percolated well on third-evening vocalist, Tulika Ghosh. Tempered by the melodic grammar of Atrawali, Gwalior, Sahaswan, Kirana, Patiwala, and Varanasi gharanas, her first offering, raga Shri traversing aalap in Vilambit Ektal and bandish in Jhaaptaal was thoroughly appealing as was Maharaja Chakradhar Singh authored Raagmala, 'Re re bahar aayi re chayanatbar', the tempo being modified while tunneling into 'Goure kul tilak manohar', allowing tabla-accompanist, Durjay Bhaumik to foreground his prowess. Colours of this mellifluously rendered raga were incandescent with copious dulcet meers and fluid gamakas. Benarasi bhajan, 'Banvari ki suratiya vistarit nahin', which spotlighted Rajendra Prasad Banerjee's harmoniuming was her end–piece.
Sitarist Partha Bose – disciple of Maihar Gharana's Pt Manoj Shankar since childhood, who has garnered renown was next. He proffered Gatmala – raga Bihag, in three gats – Madhlay in kheyal-ang, tantakari, and löngi in drut, the last-mentioned often executed by Ut Baba Alauddin Khan. His attempt to import Etawah-Imdadkhani ang jor-jhala as embellishment, ruefully didn't work due to inadequate application. He wound up with a pleasant Kafi thumri with Desi Todi inflections.
Fourth day also saw a vocalist – Shaunak Abhishek of Agra and Jaipur gharana, who commenced with raga Saraswati in Rupak taal, drut in adha taal, followed by a Bhinna Sajda thumri, 'Hey purana chandrabha'.
Contrasting this listless session, Vaijayanti Kashi's Shambhavi Dance Ensemble held their sway with 'Paramapursha' theme taking us, at the onset, to Tirumala seven hills, the divine abode via Adivo Alladivo. Lord Vishu disguised but characteristically attired appeared as Lord Vithoba in Abhang. This Kuchipudi exposition ventured to Neelamegha Sareera, tuned to Krishnaleela Tarangini (raga Mohana, adi tala) with dancers balancing atop brass-plate rims. Theatrics leached when they sealed their episode with 'yakshagana'-element infused Pootana Moksha inspired by Bhagavatham, harnessing Sanskrit and kannada scripts adapted from Krishna Charitham. Sketches of Kaliya Daman or Vishnu-carrier, Garuda were unique. Sculptural both in static and motile deportments, a bit more vigour could have been desirable.
Sudh Kalyan – Vilambit Ektaal and Drut Teentaal, was vocalist Sanjeev Abhyankar's fifth-day starter. Thereafter he journeyed through raga Kalawati, and Tarana and Hori in Mishra Tilang – the analogy and extrapolation of both ragas were as tedious as his over-explanations, closing out with a Mirabai bhajan.
Engendered in Dharwad, Karnataka, father-son duo, Pravin and Shadaj Godkhindi, has appositely imbibed the fervour of the generative hills under the tutelage of vocalist-flautist Pt Venkatesh Godkhindi, Shadaj's grandfather. Jointly presenting raga Jog (gayaki-ang) in Madhyalay Rupak taal, they progressed to drut tankari and laykari, felicitously harnessing the Åar bansuri, garlanding their concluding piece in Mishra Pahari with Ut Amjad Khan's Tarana. Having nurtured a blooming vernal garden, which could outshine the ravages of a belligerent summer, the senior materialized a cuckoo, layered with Venu, also in E, like the Åar but one octave lower, strung with A, B, E notes in the 5th octave, effectively bundling the audience into seventh heaven.
Heaven, putatively, is also where Rahul Sharma's instrument, the sub-continental santoor originates. He commenced the penultimate day with crepuscular raga, Hansadhvani (alap, jod, jhala, madhyalaya teental), culminating with a customary Mishra Pahari tune. Attention to evocation alongside craft could have served him better.
Acknowledged Bhartnatyam choreographer-danseuse, Dr Padmaja Suresh expressed her temple-ritual, Tanjavur dance legacy, through kavuthuvam –firstly invoking Kamakshi; later, on Chandi Devi ('Radhika tava birahey'), after whom Chandigarh is named, based on Durga Saptashati. Before curtains, she synced steps to a Muthuswami Dikshitar keertenam in raga Kamala Manohari continuing with daru Varnam in raga khambaj and Shankaracharya's Mythream Bajatha, which advocates world peace and happiness. Though innovative in spirit and immersive in portrayal, absence of thillana was felt.
Punjab gharana flags waved as emergent Ut Allah Rakha disciple, Yogesh Samsi galloped into teentaal – Peshkar, Kaida, Rela, Padan, Tukra inter alia, combining well with Tanmoy Deocha's harmonium counter-points. Within his truncated allotment, he expertly showcased his deft touch and technique on Bayan and Dayan.
Dedicating the day to PKK founder Guru M.L. Koser, Viswamohan Bhatt concluded this year's proceedings by diving into self-composed raga, Vishwaranjani (amalgamation of Shivaranjani and Madhubanti which bore whisps of simendra madhyam, before including his son, Salil, for an incongruous and ineffectual Jog-Jaz