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Watch this classical dance that pays homage to Pandit Durga Lal

Updated on: 29 February,2024 07:36 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Devashish Kamble |

Kathak exponent Uma Dogra’s classical dance showcase will pay homage to her guru Pandit Durga Lal on his 75th birth anniversary

Watch this classical dance that pays homage to Pandit Durga Lal

Praveen Kumar; Souvik Chakraborty; Gururaju N

The traditional image of a Kathak guru — stern, uncompromising and conventionally rigid, found no reflection in Kathak maestro late Pandit Durga Lal of the Jaipur Gharana. “There was a certain child-like innocence in his demeanour around his disciples. He would often tiptoe his way to practice and stamp his foot at the door exclaiming, ‘Main aa gaya’ with a wide smile. The words still echo in our hearts,” reminisces Uma Dogra, who has been organising the Pt Durgalal Festival in remembrance of her guru since his passing in 1990. The Sangeet Natak Akademi-awardee will present the 34th edition of the festival tomorrow to commemorate the 75th birth anniversary of the late pandit.

This year, the festival is set to host an all-male classical dance showcase of the theme   —Purushartha. “Guruji was a charismatic man who exemplified the supremely skilled male Kathak talents that graced stages in his era. Interestingly, his charm and aura earned him the title of the Greek god of Kathak,” Dogra chuckles. In tune with the theme, Dogra informs us the festival will host Bharatnatyam dancer Praveen Kumar and Kuchipudi artiste Gururaju N from Bengaluru, and Kathak dancer Souvik Chakraborty from Kolkata this year.

Uma DograUma Dogra

For Gururaju, who will be performing Dashavatara Shabdham, a dance set in raga Mohana and Mishra Chapu taal that depicts the 10 incarnations of Vishnu, the performance is a tribute to a guru whom he never met, but reveres just as affectionately. “I never met guruji, but as I read about him, his selflessness in giving to the community without expecting anything in return moved me,” he shares over a short call from Bengaluru. Chakraborty, will open his recital with a performance set to Bengali musician Agnibha Bandyopadhyay’s compositions and conclude with a performance to the thumri Darash dikha ja sawre, one that evokes a deep sense of longing.

As the curtains rise at the festival tomorrow, it will mark another year of keeping a promise Dogra made to her guru 34 years ago. She reveals, “As I watched Guruji’s last rites being performed in 1990, I promised him I’ll dedicate my life to keeping his legacy alive. There have been years when planning the festival seemed difficult, but a promise made to your guru is one to be kept till your last breath.”

ON March 1; 6.30 pm 
AT Veer Savarkar Auditorium, Swatantrya Veer Savarkar Marg  (Old Cadell Road), Dadar West. 
MESSAGE 9819387077 (for bookings) 
ENTRY Rs 300 onwards 

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