Mumbai’s leading Bharata Natyam exponent Dr Sandhya Purecha pays tribute to her great mentor Acharya Parvati Kumar with the presentation of hundred programmes all over India and abroad which started on February 27 (Guruji's birthday) and will conclude on February 2021 to mark the Janmashatabdi Mahotsav.
Acharya Parvati Kumar was one of the most respected dance mentors of India. His exclusive research on the compositions of Sarfojiraje Bhosale, the former ruler of the Tanjavur state in Tamil Nadu, was published in the book format by Saraswati Mahal (T.M.S.S.M.) Library in Tanjavur.
Centuries later, Acharya Parvati Kumar made an in depth study of Marathi Nirupanas and with the assistance of his wife Sumatai, composed the music as well and thereby, Tanjavur Nritya Prabandha (based on Marathi compositions) was published by Maharashtra Sahitya and Sanskruti Mandal.
The Tanjavur bani and the Marathi compositions based on Carnatic music was his greatest contribution. Acharya Parvati was a Sanskrit scholar and he also interpreted another text in the Bharata Natyam style, that is Nandikesvarao’s Abhinaya Darpanam, that vividly explains the varied usage of body, the different hand and leg movements and the usage of eyes, neck, head and the several single and double hand gestures (hasta mudras) in order to relate to any story of Hindu mythology. as all classical dances interpret stories of the Gods.
Acharya Parvati Kumar was a painstaking teacher, hence would never compromise on the technique and the quality of the performance. Unless the student learns properly, he or she will not be allowed to learn further.
Hence a minimum of 10 to 15 years is necessary to complete the margam and ascend the stage on to become a professional performer. For several years Acharya Parvati Kumar taught several students, many of them have become top performers and teachers as well, among them are Sucheta Bhide, Sandhya Purecha, Kirti Naik etc. Dr Sandhya Purecha has taken the legacy forward with ardent devotion and dedication.
Dr Sandhya Purecha shares, “My late Guruji with whom I shared a pious and external bond in the Guru Shishya Parampara has always been the endless source of inspiration and his approach to dance, my direction.
As his senior disciple I have always endeavoured to preserve and propagate his rich and uncharted legacies of invaluable contribution to Indian dance, Sanskrit literature and cultural heritage. Over the years we have celebrated each of his birthday anniversaries with grand artistic splendour.
“The year 2020 marks Guruji’s birth centenary and with great pride, I would like to honour my Guruji’s pioneering works, myriad influences, accomplishments, innovations and interests through a year of 100 programmes - 100 palaash (petals), commencing with Guruji’s birthday on February 27, 2020 to February 2021 all across India and abroad under my campaign SOCH - Save Our Cultural Heritage, to preserve promote and propagate Indian dance, art and cultural and pay a befitting tribute to the legendary Guru who laid the foundation of forming the coherent links between Shastra (theory) and Sampradaya (practice) in modern India.”
Sandhya Purecha is the founder director of Bharata College of Fine Arts and Culture and artistic director of Kala Parichaya, winner of the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and is also the sole performer in the world to have presented an audio-visual form of all the 324 shlokas of Abhinaya Darpanam, recorded by Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi for archival purpose.
Janmashatabdi Mahotsav commenced with a workshop on Natyasastra presented by one of the foremost and senior most Kathak exponents Pandit Puru Dadhich, followed with Sanskriti Mahotsav for established dancers, Kinkini festival for young dancers, Kala Avishkar for children, Pancham festival in temples, Gati festival by staff of Bharata College, Smrutikusumanjali and Adaranjali and the paper presentations by young dancer-scholars. Besides the sparkling Bharata Natyam Arangetram by Damini Naik, one of the highlight programmes held at the Nehru Centre was presentation of Katha Rutunchi based on Kalidas Ritusamhara interpreting the beauty of nature, seasons and the story of Rati and Kamdeva, performed by hundred dancers, created a fine spectacle with Marathi adaptation by Sadanand Dabir and melodious singing by Asha Khadilkar. A great tribute indeed to a great mentor.