When Odissi met Kajara re...


Who would have thought that a classical dance performance would also have a latka-jhatka number? That’s what happened on the eve of May 30 when danseuse Sonal Mansigh performed before hundreds at the Birendra International Convention Centre here.

The embassy of India in association with Indian Council of Cultural Relations, and BP Koirala India-Nepal Foundation had organised an Odissi (ancient classical dance form of Orissa) performance by Mansingh, who is a recipient of two of the highest civilian awards of India — Padma Bhusan and Padma Vibhusan.

“Dance for us is not only a physical activity but also a form of worship, a way of connecting with the great forces of the cosmos that we call divinity. It is the most apt vehicle for combining philosophy, music, painting, sculpture and the very physicality of body to transcend that body,” said Mansingh before commencing her performance.

She began with Mangalacharan, a prayer to goddess Bhawani, who is considered the presiding deity of all arts. And in her red costume and ornaments, she was no less the goddess Durga herself. With the mudras, body postures and expressions, she enacted the role of both the worshipper and the worshipped.

The constant ringing of the cellphones jarred the ambience and the artiste requested the audience to switch off all mobile phones and allow her to take them to her beautiful world of imagination.

The story behind her next performance was the creation of Sakuntala, the one with beautiful hair, by lord Brahma. When a peacock tries to distract Brahma, annoyed Brahma pushes the peacock away his hands full of colours that he had been using to paint Sakuntala. Thus, the peacock gets its beautiful feathers. And Mansingh doing the peacock’s gait was most remarkable. Beautiful hair was followed by beautiful eyes — Sunaina. Mansingh imitated the way a fish moves so perfectly that it was breathtaking.

And catching everyone unawares, she ended it by dancing to popular Bollywood number Kajara re, proving the elasticity and comprehensiveness of Indian classical dances.

Then off she was on Radha’s melancholy experience. Playing the roles of three characters — Radha, Krishna and a friend — she beautifully expressed the changing emotions as demanded by the story.

Then Mansingh in a green costume appeared on stage with the story of Mary Magdelene, who receives the blessings of Jesus Christ and becomes pure and sinless. The lighting was amazing in the scene that showed Mary’s devotion for Christ.

Mansingh concluded her evening’s recital with a Shiva tandava and happily announced that she would soon be performing in Kailash-Mansarobar where Shiva is believed

to reside with his family.