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RIP Jaydev Das: The master illuminator of Odissi dance's darkest spaces
- Ratikant Mohapatra
Photos courtesy: Srjan

March 30, 2020

It is with deep sorrow that I share with you the news of the untimely demise of a friend, colleague, playwright, stage-light designer and master story teller Jaydev Das at his Cuttack home at 4am early morning on 27th March 2020. He was only 60 years old. Born on 20th April 1960, he was full of vitality and creative ideas till the very end.

Jaydev at the light control room
at Germany, 1992

L to R: Sanjukta Panigrahi, Padma Subrahmanyam, Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra &
Jaydev Das at Konark Festival in 1992

Jaydev & Ratikant at Taiwan in 2011

With Jagjit Singh in 2011

He has to his credit dozens of good drama scripts many of which were enacted on Annapurna Theatre "B" stage at Cuttack, Odisha. His lifelong work as light designer raised to new heights the art and science of stage light projection. Unorthodox in his approach to stage lighting, he could, time and again produce startlingly innovative and fresh effects for Odissi dance sequences that would be remembered by choreographers and related artistes for a long time. This he managed with a minimum of equipment and a wealth of original ideas. In his passing he has left a great void. His extraordinary bundle of talents, his quickness of mind, his adventurous spirit, and his intrinsic creativity - this combination is simply irreplaceable. It is with deep regret that I share the feeling that the likes of Jaydev bhai will not be seen in our lifetime.

Friend, philosopher and guide, he was always ready with ideas and advice for me and many other friends. To Jaydev bhai, I remember with deep nostalgia, his oft repeated remark that everybody in the audience and the outside world knew well the players on stage but very few acknowledged or appreciated the "behind the scenes" creativity and action that decorated - so painstakingly and beautifully - the unfolding dance or theatre on the live stage. Jaydev bhai, you have left behind a grieving family who are always energized by your work and art, your bubbling enthusiasm.

I have this much to say, "Thank you for your adventures spirit, your creative inputs, your occasional turbulence and your undying concerns for many of us. You will be sorely missed, Jaydev bhai, not only by us, and your many fans and followers but also by a number of young light designers who learnt the art of lighting by simply watching you and your inspired work."

L to R: Sujata Mohapatra, Aruna Mohanty, Ileana Citaristi, Jaydev Das and Srjan Ensemble standing behind at GKCK Award Festival in 2013.

Receiving Guru Gangadhar Pradhan Smruti Samman from Hon'ble Governor of Odisha, Prof. Ganeshi Lal

With Karaikkudi R. Mani in 2013

With A. Shivamani in 2014

My friendship and fraternal bond with Jaydev Das dates back to the year 1985. And for the last 35 years, I have often depended on his advice and good wishes and his own little family's love and respect for me and my loved ones. He took great pains in trying to understand the many difficult situations that he and I have faced individually and jointly. And his advice was always spot on. In my heartfelt Shradhanjali, I pour deep sorrow for his absence and shed tears at his feet. I remain with consolation that his strong memories will continue to guide me, to move me and to inspire me. Rest in peace and in full vigour.

Ratikant Mohapatra is the director of Srjan, Bhubaneswar.

Thank you, Shibu, for capturing so much about Jaydev's life,personality and passion for dance lighting and more in this obit. He was a sweet and dear man with incredible creativity. May he RIP.
- Sharon Lowen (April 2, 2020)

It's a great loss for Odissi dance field. Unparalleled talent like him is hard to find. He will always be missed.
- Rohan Dahale (March 30, 2020)

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