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Ace sets and lighting designer passes away
- Vijay Shanker

July 22, 2021

Thane based ace sets and lighting designer Pathikrit Mukherjee, left for his heavenly abode on 27th June 2021. Pathikrit was diabetic and was hospitalised due to certain health issues. He leaves behind his wife Odissi exponent Nivedita and son Aritra. He was 61.

For more than three decades, Pathikrit provided sets and designed lights for several dance and theatrical productions. He was associated with some of the leading organisations of Mumbai like the National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA), Nehru Centre, Amita Banerjee's Udayan, Shahana and the Durga Pooja festival. He worked with some of the leading dancers like Menaka Thakker (USA), Uma Dogra, Daksha Mashruwala and was closely associated with the 'Ekaharya' presentations of singer, actor and composer Shekar Sen for over thirty five years, in the enactment of Tulsidas, Kabir, Vivekenanda etc. Along with Shekar Sen he toured around the world for his productions.

Pathikrit hailed from Kolkata and was born on 21st September 1959. He was a student of Government Arts College and learnt drawing and painting with mentors like Ardhendu Shekar Dutta and Banibroto Podder. He worked with Banida in his ad agency as a commercial artist in Mumbai and also worked with Eve's Weekly, T series, HMV, UTV and other companies before becoming an independent sets and lighting designer. He never had any formal training in lights but his encounter with the veteran lights designer Tapas Sen, particularly during workshops held for Shekar Sen's productions, prior to the actual performance, helped him master the art of lights too. Being a fine artist of drawing and painting helped him to visualise and create the magical impact of colours, combining it with lights. For any dance drama, group choreography or theatrical production, the lights form an integral part of the performance. Proper and effective lighting can really enhance the quality of the performance, which is so vital for the success of the performance. The lighting changes according to the scene or particular emotion of the performer. Hence proper or improper lighting can either enhance or mar the impact of the performance.

Odissi exponent and teacher Nivedita, wife of Pathikrit says, "The sudden passing away of Pathikrit has really left a void that cannot be filled but his work and vision should move forward. Along with Rajarshi Chatterjee, he created the complete folk arts festival of music, dance, drama and paintings in Purulia known as Lalmati festival. It was his dream project to integrate varied art forms and encourage all types of artists, and we must take this mission forward. He was quite busy with his work and was so engrossed in his productions, that he would forget the time factor, would sometimes miss his meals too. He was associated with several dancers and theatre personalities, so he was hardly available at home. I am grateful to the students and their parents for their consistent support."

Vijay Shanker
Vijay Shanker is a Kuchipudi and Kathakali exponent, teacher, bilingual journalist, arts critic and actor.

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