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Kelubabu: a life of rich beauty
by Sonal Mansingh, New Delhi

April 14, 2004

Epitomising the true power of art and its transformative quality, Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra lived a life of rich beauty. From humble beginnings to dizzy heights full of national and international honours, acclaim and awards, he remained Kelubabu or Guruji to all who met him.

He was one of the three Gurus who along with some scholars of the time re-shaped and renovated Odissi dance form in 1959. He developed his own style of Odissi taking elements from his own training as Gotipua and as participant in Raas-leela of his Guru Mohan Goswami. His expertise in playing the pakhawaj and painting patta-chitra, further embellished his art. He became a wonderful teacher giving of his art to many many students across the world. As teacher, he was painstaking and thoughtful. He was the right man at right moment in the right place. His name will be written in gold letters in the history of India's performing arts.

Sonal Mansingh is one of the foremost exponents of Odissi in India. After Jiwan Pani's death, Sonal Mansingh and her Center for Indian Classical Dances have organized an annual memorial festival in his honor in Delhi. She is the chairman of the Sangeet Natak Akademi.

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