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.
Musical Evening with Shubha Mudgal
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
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.
(The fire Within)
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
The festival ended with Blitzkrieg (the professional night) with a live
performance by Faridkot, the upcoming band, and KK (Krishnakumar Kunnath),
the renowned singer.
of Happiness - A Dance Recital
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
8. Grand Finale: a fusion dance depicting joy and zest - the essence that
Recital by Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia
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.
Deboo Breaks Boundaries with Divine Rhythms
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
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
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
Medley of Bhojpuri and Awadhi Songs
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.
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
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.
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.
Six-day Cultural Potpourri during SPICMACAY, 25th National Convention
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
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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