A Musical Evening with Shubha Mudgal

Antaragni (The Fire Within)

Colors of Happiness - A Dance Recital

Flute Recital by Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia
Astad Deboo Breaks Boundaries with Divine Rhythms
A Medley of Bhojpuri and Awadhi Songs
Fastest Feet in Rhythm
Sangeet Sandhya





Any celebration is incomplete without music and dance. The celebration of the Golden Jubilee year 2009-2010 too, was replete with spectacular performances by eminent artists who enthralled the audience and turned the IIT Kanpur premises into a paradise for music and dance lovers.

A Musical Evening with Shubha Mudgal
9th August 2009




The Golden Jubilee celebrations started off on a musical note with a wonderful performance by the renowned singer Ms. Shubha Mudgal and her troupe ‘Koshish’ on the evening of 9th August, a day after the GJ year was inaugurated by Mr. Narayana Murthy. A variety of musical influences ranging from North Indian classical music to Western classical music and jazz are evident in the compositions of Koshish – compositions that are powerful, yet restrained, contemporary yet with roots in tradition.

The audience was treated to fusional music where each musician brought to the performance a certain sensibility and style of his/her own. The poetry, too, ranged from 17th century Sufi poetry to Faiz Ahmad Faiz and Gulzar. The musical composition of Gulzar's ‘Shabnam’ inspired by a rendition of ‘St. Louis Blues’ by Louis Armstrong was one of the high points of the evening. The ghazal was based broadly on raaga Kirvani. Gulzar's love poem had a pronounced sentimental quality, and Shubha remarked that it was perhaps the right song to sing at the start of the Golden Jubilee celebrations.
Another special number was a tarana (a composition for dance) which began with a bass guitar pattern and a fast groove on the drums. It turned out to be based on the raga Madhukauns. Towards the end of this piece, Shubha sang a mystic poem from Dharni Das, a thoughtful juxtaposition to the sheer rhythmic fun of the tarana.

The group comprised Ms. Shubha Mudgal, Mr. Aneesh Pradhan, Ms. Merlin D'Souza (Piano), Mr. Sudhir Naik (Harmonium), Mr. Murad Ali (Sarangi), Mr. Rath (Percussion), Mr. Benoni Soans (Drums) and Mr. Brennan Denfer (Bass Guitar).

About the Artist - Ms. Shubha Mudgal is a well known singer of Hindustani classical music. She received her training under some of the finest classical musicians of the country namely, Pt. Ram Ashreya Jha, Pt. Vinaya Chandra Maudgalya, Pt. Vasant Thakar, Pt. Jitendra Abhisheki, Pt. Kumar Gandharva and Smt. Naina Devi. She has won several honours at the national and international levels including the Padma Shri in 2000. Shubha has done albums like Ab ke Sawan and Mann ke Manjeere, both very significant efforts at creating popular rather than populist music. With Koshish, she is further widening her repertoire, and singing the verses of the poets she admires.




Antaragni (The fire Within)
22nd - 25th October 2009




The theme for this year’s annual cultural festival Antaragni was ‘I am the change’. Students from over 150 colleges across India participated, making the campus come alive with energy and enthusiasm for four days.

The festival encompassed a whole range of events from competitions and workshops to talks and professional shows. There were several events which focused on the issue of building social responsibility amongst youth. Two Fusion Bands Advaita and Sitar Funk performed on the Opening Night. The highlight of Synchronicity was the Irish rock sensation Jaded Sun, who have been heralded as "the new messiahs of rock n' roll".

The event India Haat presented a creative burst of cultures and religions, races and tongues. "India Inspired: A Dream for the Nation" saw more than 400 students join the panel discussion with Mr. Raj Kamal Jha (the Allahabad editor of Times of India), Ms. Sujatha Ramdorai (Professor of mathematics at TIFR), Mr. Vinit Joshi (CBSE chairman) and Ms. Amrita Das (career counselor). The theme 'The road not taken' explored why Indian youth sticks to only a few conventional career paths. Despite the large youth population, India excels only in a few fields and lags behind in many others. This is not due to the lack of talented youth but because the students in our country today are apprehensive of following an unconventional career even though actually it may be harmonious with their likes and interests. Moreover, parental and peer pressure also pushes them into conventional paths.

The festival ended with Blitzkrieg (the professional night) with a live performance by Faridkot, the upcoming band, and KK (Krishnakumar Kunnath), the renowned singer.




Colors of Happiness - A Dance Recital
7th November 2009





On yet another beautiful evening the Women’s Association of IITK presented a dance recital titled Colors of Happiness.

The performance presented a unique synthesis of the seasonal cycles, portrayed through seven separate dance sequences.

The dances were a fusion of classical and semi-classical dance forms and depicted the Indian seasons - Saawan, Sharad and Basant with the related festivals. Colours of Happiness was well named, for it not only synthesized pleasure and prayer in the various dance formations and mudras but also joyously evoked the rich diversity of the various regions of our land.

The narration was done by Ms. Vatsala Misra and the dances were choreographed by Ms. Nishtha Sharma who is a disciple of Guru Shri Shridharan Nair. She is a Bharatnatyam dancer, an actress and a dance choreographer. She has done her Alankar in Bharatnatyam and is a postgraduate in vocal music. She was honoured by the Nrityamani samman in 1989 by Darpan, the theatre group she has been associated with for the last 25 years.

The dances performed were:

1. Shubh Swagatam: s poetic welcome dance.
2. Sawan: s Kathak based rain dance.
3. Durga Stuti: s Bharatnatyam performance in the worship of goddess Durga.
4. Garba/Dandiya: a Gujrati folk dance associated with autumn.
5. Ram Stuti: a devotional dance for lord Rama.
6. Deepmala: a dance performed with lighted ‘diyas’ to symbolize the victory of light over darkness.
7. Phalgun: a dance welcoming the season of spring, a time of joy and color.
8. Grand Finale: a fusion dance depicting joy and zest - the essence that is India.







Flute Recital by Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia
27th November 2009




IIT Kanpur's Foundation Day was made memorable by an enchanting flute recital by the great flutist Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia. Panditji started his recital with raaga Madhuvanti, a sweet raaga which captures the mood of love and romance ‘Madhu’ literally means honey. He was accompanied by Pt. Subhankar Banerjee on the tabla, Ms. Debopriya Ranadive on the flute and Ms. Amrita Upriti on the tanpura. Pt. Subhankar, a reputed soloist in his own right, has accompanied many prominent celebrities of our country like Pt. Ravi Shankar, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia and others.
Panditji also played raaga Malkauns and raaga Hansadhwani-drut alap followed by the famous bandish "Laagi lagan" in Adha teen taal in madhya laya. He concluded his program with a dhun in raaga Pahadi.

About the artist: Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia is an internationally renowned exponent of the bansuri, the North Indian bamboo flute. He is considered a rare combination of innovator and traditionalist. He has expanded the expressive possibilities of the bansuri through his masterful blowing technique. Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia started learning vocal music from his neighbor, Pt. Rajaram at the age of 15. Later, he switched to playing the flute under the tutelage of Pt. Bholanath Prasanna of Varanasi. Much later, while working for All India Radio, he received guidance from the reclusive Annapurna Devi (daughter of Baba Allaudin Khan). Over a lifetime of performances, he has earned several prestigious national and international awards including the Sangeet Natak Academy award (1984), the Padma Bhushan (1992) and the Padma Vibhushan (2000). He also serves as the Artistic Director of the World Music Department at the Rotterdam Music Conservatory in the Netherlands.




Astad Deboo Breaks Boundaries with Divine Rhythms
10th - 11th December 2009



Astad Deboo, a name to reckon with in Indian contemporary dance, is a man with a highly dynamic and individualistic dance style. An innovator par excellence, he blends Indian classical dance forms of Kathak and Kathakali with modern dance techniques to create his own unique style. His illustrious career has spanned four decades and has won him several honours, including the Padma Shri. As part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations of IIT Kanpur, Astad Deboo gave two dynamic performances – Breaking Boundaries and Rhythm Divine – with his troupe.

The first performance titled Breaking Boundaries, was his latest production featuring the talented street children from the Salaam Balak trust (an NGO that rescues street children and rehabilitates them). The 70-minute performance had five interwoven pieces exploring the evolution of life. The entire dance sequence was a unique attempt to fathom some unexplored dimensions in space and time. It began with children performing suave body movements resulting in different coherent formations. The next three dance pieces, were highly synchronized group dances but with each dancer making his/her own definite statement and breaking many accepted boundaries of society, culture, and art. The next item had Deboo himself on stage with the children, performing to soulful music composed by Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia.

In the last piece, which opened with a one minute solo act by Deboo, dressed in black, later joined by his troupe, both the music and dance changed to a fast paced rhythm. The performance thus ended on a highly charged and vibrant note.

The next day’s performance, titled Rhythm Divine, was in collaboration with the Pung cholom drummers of Manipur. The performance began slowly with classical music in the background. Then the dancers picked up the pace – with perfect synchronization, producing rhythms by tapping the hands on body and floor with full force. What followed was visual poetry – the music and dance of the drummers, and Astad Deboo who complemented them with emoting fingers, body, and eyebrows. In this 70-minute dance performance, the drums entered the scene only at the 60th minute, causing the entire auditorium to reverberate with sound.

At a time when the Indian dance scene was not open to innovations, Astad Deboo embarked on a journey to introduce contemporary dance to Indian audiences and the journey hasn’t ended yet. He shows no sign of retiring. In fact, he is constantly exploring new possibilities and collaborating with new artists.


“Boundaries were broken when these kids ran away from their homes”, says Astaad Deboo in a candid interview with Reema Mittal

Is it the first time that you are performing in an IIT and what has the experience of performing among the technocrats been like?

Well, this is the second time. The experience has been good except that there were many students in the audience when I performed earlier. And they grew restless as the show didn’t start on time and they had to be calmed down.

Why did you choose to name your dance piece ‘Breaking Boundaries’?

Many boundaries have been broken. Boundaries were broken when these kids ran away from their homes, then they were picked up by the Salaam Balak Trust. They also broke the boundaries of their talent and existence through this dance. That’s why I chose this title.

What were the challenges that you faced while working with these kids?

Well, these kids only knew Bollywood dance. Therefore, it was a challenge to introduce them to this new dance form. Often they would ask ‘Is this also some kind of dance form’ (one piece has been choreographed on narrow benches). But they all were eager to learn so were highly receptive.

How do you think the lives of these kids have been impacted?

Of course there lives have been impacted. Anyone who works with me is impacted. These kids have learnt a lot and have gained confidence. Many of them are working professionally in different streams (Deboo’s face lights up with a spark while talking about ‘these kids’).

From working with international celebrities to working with these unknown young amateurs; how has the transition been for you as a person in terms of experiences?

For me an artist is an artist. Their baggage doesn’t come with me and I don’t bring my baggage also. For me it’s my work and we work together to create some interesting piece. These kids often say ‘Arey, aap to itne bade hain aur hamare saath he khana khate hain’. Then I tell them ‘Yeh bade ke baat nahin hai. Mein kalakar hoon aur aap bhi kalakar hain’. In order to get respect you need to give respect. There are famous people who treat other people very shabbily and it just reflects so poorly on them.

Your forthcoming projects…

At the moment, I have to show these works (Breaking Boundaries and Rhythm Divine) in other metro cities. I am also working on a duet with a Swiss choreographer in Switzerland which will open in October next year. I am also looking at the Buddhist monks’ chanting from Arunachal and Mysore. These are the two centers where Tibetan monks reside. I am also interested in taking street children to Brazil as there is lot of street culture there.




A Medley of Bhojpuri and Awadhi Songs
22nd December 2009




Another musical event was held on 22nd December, 2009 as part of the Inter IIT Staff Sports Meet. The artist was Ms. Malini Awasthi, the face of folk music in India. In her very passionate ‘Kajari’ singing style Malini sang many Bhojpuri and Awadhi songs. She showcased the different forms of folk music in her own way, even breathing new life into some forms which are on the verge of extinction.

About the artist: A disciple of the Thumri proponent Padma Vibhushan Girija Devi Ji, Malini Awasthi is today one of the leading Thumri singers of the Benaras Gharana. Malini is recognized for her distinctive style of singing which is a beautiful combination of soulful renditions of melodies together with her powerful performances. Equally accomplished in Ghazal and Sufi gaayki, Malini reminds you of the old world charm of the beautiful Lucknow and the Ganga-Jamuni culture of Uttar Pradesh. A versatile singer, Malini is a regular performer for the famous “Jahan-e-Khusro” organized by the renowned film maker and artist Muzaffer Ali. Her Sufi music albums on Roomi and Hazrat Amir Khusro have been widely appreciated. Times Music has recently released a music album Purvaiya with Malini. Malini has sung for the famous band Medieval Panditz in their album Hello-Hello and her fusion song Tonic has been a worldwide hit.




Fastest Feet in Rhythm
2nd January 2010




On the occasion of the IITK Alumni Convention, a cultural program was held on 2nd January, 2010 titled ‘Fastest Feet in Rhythm’. It featured Pt. Chitresh Das, a Kathak maestro and Jason Samuel Smith, a fantastic tap dancer and an Emmy award winner. The show started with the two artists performing separate solos of kathak and tap dance. Soon there was a jugalbandi of kathak and tap dance.
Pt. Chitresh gave a mesmerizing demonstration of the sound of the railway engine with the bells on his feet. In the grand finale the musicians - Abhijit Banerjee, Jayanta Banerjee, Umesh, Bumpy, Jiver and Paddy – challenged each dancer to match different riffs and the two dancers were engaged in a dance battle to match each other.




Sangeet Sandhya
3rd January 2010




Another cultural event titled ‘Sangeet Sandhya’ was organized by the campus residents on 3rd January, 2010. The Sandhya started with a melodious welcome song ‘Phoolone ke bandanvar sajaye hai’ by students of campus school followed by a Bharatnatyam dance by Ms. Akhila Anantharaman and her troupe comprising Ms. Brunda, Ms. Rajitha and Ms. Gauri. There were several other performances where people showcased their talents. Some of them were - instrumental western music presented by Prof. Sanjay Mittal on the saxophone and his son Dhruv on the drums; a guitar performance by Mr. Devanand; a bandish by Ms. Pragya Khandekar in raaga Yaman accompanied by her son Pravaha on the tabla; a beautiful bhajan on Lord Krishna by Mrs. Amrawati Biswas in raaga Chandrakauns; a Bhojpuri folk song by Dr. Lakshmi Narayan Tiwari and Ms. Pragya Khandekar; and a violin performance by Prof. Venkatnarayan presenting another style of Indian classical music, the Carnatic music.




A Six-day Cultural Potpourri during SPICMACAY, 25th National Convention
1st - 6th June 2010





At a time when the youth of this country is drifting away from its rich cultural heritage, the SpicMacay society is playing a vital role in preserving and promoting Indian classical music and culture amongst youth. It has 200 Chapters across the world and organizes over 1500 events annually. Every year this society holds a national convention in the month of May/June during which a large range of programs is held including organizational discussions, talks, films, crafts, yoga, and classical and folk performances by the maestros. The convention serves as a common platform to bring together members from all over the country. This year, as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations, IIT Kanpur hosted the 25th National Convention of SPICMACAY from 1st to 6th June 2010.

The entire show was graced by the presence of a vast array of eminent personalities of music, dance and other art domains. People of all ages and professions descended upon the campus to witness and participate in the mega-events. The 25th National Convention 2010 was dedicated to the memories of seven stalwarts of Indian classical music who died last year leaving behind their rich and unique legacy - Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, Smt. D. K. Pattamal, Smt. Gangubai Hangal, Sh. Habib Tanvir, Shri Vishnu Prabhakar, Shri Tyeb Mehta and Shri Palghat Raghu.

The inaugural ceremony was on 1st June, 2010 and began with a vocal recital by the renowned classical vocalist Padma Bhushan Vidhushi Smt. Girija Devi followed by a Carnatic violin recital by Prof. T. N. Krishnan and a Hindustani vocal recital by Pt. Rajan and Pt. Sajan Mishra.

The following days saw some spectacular performances by other legendary artistes including the Warsi Brothers (Qawwali), Shri Ram Kailash Yadav (Biraha), Padam Shri Guru Gangadhar Pradhan, Guru Ghankanta Bora (Sattriya Dance), Ustad Fariduddin Dagar (Dhrupad), Padma Bhushan Ustad Asad Ali Khan (Rudra Veena), Padma Shri Pt. Ulhas Kashalkar (Hindustani Vocal), Smt. Priyadarshini Govind (Bharatnatyam) and Shri Margi Madhu (Kutiyattam). The audience was exposed to such a rich variety of Indian classical music and dance styles that they couldn’t have asked for more!

Although it takes years to perfect an art form, 5-day sessions are surely enough to ignite interests some of which might translate into a lifelong passion. With this intention every year NATCON (National Conference) hosts several workshops and intensives for participants to provide them with hands-on experience in a variety of art forms.

Staying true to its tradition this year also NATCON organized several workshops from the 2nd to the 5th of June on the campus premises. Each day began with early morning yoga sessions for the large gathering of participants who had come from all over the country. Hatha Yoga and Prana Yoga were followed by a long session of Nada Yoga, the yoga of sound. The Hatha Yoga sessions were handled by Shri Dhirendracharya and the Naad Yoga sessions by Ustad Fariduddin Dagar.

NATCON also hosted a Crafts workshop and a Crafts Mela from the 2nd to the 5th of June. The event was sponsored by the Development Commissioner, Handicrafts, Ministry of Textiles, Government of India. Several artists from all over the country shared their distinct art forms with the enthusiastic learners. One could see the eager learners switching from one workshop to the other trying to acquire skills in more than one art form. Some of the artists who participated were Ms. Jamini Peyeng (Artistic Weaving) Jorhat, Assam; Kala Raksha Kendra (Kutch Embroidery) Bhuj, Gujarat; Rehana Begum (Chikan Embroidery) Lucknow, UP; Sardar Hussain (Wood Carving) Pilkhuwa, UP; Shri Jaiprakash (Miniature Painting) Delhi; Shri Ram Kishore Chippa (Bagru Block Printing) Jaipur; Shri Amit Dhawan (Wood Inlay) Delhi, and many more.

Participants were also provided with the rare opportunity of learning the various art forms through intensives. Intensives have been the most enjoyed aspect of the previous national conventions. Legendary artists spend 3 - 4 hours every day with a small group of participants giving them personalized coaching. The gurus for this year’s intensives included Ustad Fariduddin Dagar (Dhrupad), Shri. J. Gurappa Chetty (Kalamkari), Smt. Karuna Chitrakar (Patua painting), Guru Mayadhar Raut (Odissi) and Shri. Margi Madhu (Koodiyattam).

Other activities held during the convention included a talk by Shri K.G. Subramanium (Painter), a movie retrospective on “Throne of blood” a film by Akira Kurusawa and a panel discussion on "The Role of Heritage in Nation Building" where the speakers were Prof. Kamlesh Dutt Tripathi (BHU), Prof. Sanjay G. Dhande (IIT Kanpur), Smt. Anjolie Ela Menon and Smt. Jaya Jaitley. The discussion was moderated by Sh. Yatindra Mishra.

On the closing night of the 5th of June a classical music extravaganza was organized with performances from stalwarts like Padma Bhushan Dr. N. Rajam (Violin), Ustad Shahid Parvez (Sitar), Padma Bhushan Shri T. N. Seshagopalan (Carnatic Vocal), Padma Shri Pt. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt (Mohan Veena) and Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan (Hindustani Vocal).

It was a unique and a rare event of its own kind that saw a wide spectrum of artists perform for the widest possible variety of audience. For six days music flowed through the corridors and the leafy alleys of the campus enwrapping it in youthful enthusiasm and cultural awakening.






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