The 29th Raindrops Dance Festival was organised by Sam Ved Society of Performing Arts with the collaboration of Bhavan's Cultural Centre and Inkling at SPJIMR auditorium on July 12 and 13 July in Andheri. It is one of the most popular dance festivals of Mumbai and attracts the attention of dancers from varied parts of the country and abroad as well.
The two major annual festivals organised by Sam Ved are Raindrops and Pandit Durgalal festival. Raindrops features young talented dancers in different styles while the Durgalal festival features established dancers and musicians which is organised as mark of tribute to the great Kathak maestro Pandit Durgalal, who was the torch bearer of the Jaipur gharana. The young representatives of Sam Ved are Suhani Singh and Indrayani Mukherjee.
Despite the pouring rain, it was pleasantly surprising to see the turnout of people as the auditorium was packed to capacity. The festival commenced after some senior mentors of Mumbai lit the traditional lamp, as a symbol of light and auspicious beginning. The first performer of the festival was Eesha Pinglay who performed Bharata Natyam with execution of precise and sharp movements, revealing her command over the technique. After the Marathi abhang, Eesha performed "Mogaduchi" a Kshreyya padam with sincerity and natural expressions, winning the appreciation of the select audience. The second performer of the day was Rohini Banerjee, disciple of Odissi exponent Sharmila Biswas. Rohini was commendable in "angika abhinaya" and characterisation of Jatayu, Ram, Ravana and Sita in the Ramayana. She danced with joie-de-vivre, winning herself a standing ovation from the audience.
The highlight performance of the first day was the duet performance by accomplished Bharata Natyam and Kuchipudi exponent Ratheesh Babu from Bhilai and the brilliant Odissi exponent from Malaysia, Sandhya Manoj. They performed Ardharishwara, which incorporated the masculine aspect of Lord Shiva and feminine beauty of goddess Parvati and depicted the episode of sage Bhruga Maharaj who worshipped Lord Shiva but ignored the goddess. With melodious music composed by Shivaprasad, the dancers performed extremely well; while Ratheesh performed the vibrant Kuchipudi, Sandhya impressed the audience with her "lasya" and elegant movements and subtle expressions. The audience was thrilled. It was nice to note that Prachi Saathi has groomed on to become a fine Bharata Natyam exponent.
The most vivacious performer of the evening was Ayan Banerjee from Kolkata. Ayan danced with the complete musical orchestra and created a lasting impression while displaying his command over taal dhamaar.
The first performer of the second day was Sukanya Kumar. Slim and trim, Sukanya danced with ease and effortless grace. She is the disciple of the renowned Bharata Natyam exponent Priyadarshini Govind. Her interpretation of Varshini, a composition of Muthuswamy Dikshitar was impeccable and powerful. Sarita Misra, disciple of Guru Bichitrananda danced Megh Pallavi with choreography by Ratikant. Her dramatic exposition of Ganga created a great impact on the audience.
One the most charming dancers of the festival was Sangita Chatterjee; her pretty and serene face and her command over the technique of Kathak was commendable. Varsha, beautiful poetic rendition by Surdas was well appreciated by the audience, as Sangita danced with complete devotion and involvement. Sakshi Pujari, disciple of Guru Gayatri Subrahmanyam danced with clarity of movements and subtle expressions in the Swati Tirunal number "Chaliye Kunjanmo" and the Lalgudi Jyaraman Thillana was performed with perfect execution of intricate and rhythmic movements.
One of the most powerful and dynamic performances of the festival was the duet by Joy Krishnan in Keralanatanam style that combines elements of both Bharata Natyam and Kathakali, and the Mohiniattam performance by Vineeta Srinandan. While Joy incorporated the Tandava style, Vineeta performed the graceful lasya style while interpreting Swati Tirunal's "Bhavyami Raghuramam'. Their dramatic presentation with amazing characterisation won the fine duo a standing ovation. Kudos for a great festival.
By Vijay Shanker