- Ratikant Mohapatra, Bhubaneshwar 
August 17, 2007 

Odissi Dancer's Forum, Kolkata, headed by Arundhati Roy, presented a series of Odissi dance performances in "Shradhanjali" a tribute to the legendary Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra at Gyan Manch on 12th August 2007.  The program began with Shiva Vandana Nagendra Haraya well performed by Sanjukta Roy and brilliantly choreographed with modern thought - new movements by Sutapa Talukdar.  Sanjukta also received the "Parampara Samman" from the forum by its President, Sudip Srimal. 
When Indian classical dance is recognized as the most ancient dance style, when Odissi dance is gaining a global platform with more than hundreds of dance institutions in Kolkata alone, when dance exponents are concentrating in displaying their own productions, when dance gurus are proving their worthy caliber, it was shocking to witness the poor quality dance performances by the known names of Kolkata's Odissi world.  

After Sanjukta, the evening continued with Rajib Bhattacharya, a disciple of Ratikant Mohapatra, who performed Mangalacharan on Lord Rama aesthetically. Choreographed by Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, the music was by Pt. Raghunath Panigrahi.  The highlight of the evening's performances was the presentation of Charukeshi Pallavi in Adda tala (9 beats) by Srjan trained Rajashri Praharaj, with the distinct signature of the Kelucharan Gharana. This is the first time in Odissi's history that this complex tala of nine matra was performed through Charukeshi Pallavi for music by Rabishankar Pradhan.  
Then the latter part of the program included "Dehatatwa" based on Baul music choreographed by Poushali Mukherjee and performed by her students, Hamsadhwani  Pallavi by Kakoli Bose with Guru Kelucharan's choreography and Pt. Bhubaneswar Mishra's music. This particular Pallavi is a wonder creation of these two maestros, once created years ago for the veteran dancer Kumkum Mohanty.  "Ranga Shruti" by the disciples of Chhanda Manjuri was choreographed by Manjushree Banerjee.  Abhinaya based on "Bidyapati" was performed and choreographed by Nandini Ghosal with music by Debashis Sarkar.  Much appreciation came from the audience for Manjushree Banerjee and Nandini Ghosal for their good composition and performance respectively. "Mana Badhuri," a well synchronized performance by the disciples of Aloka Kanungo had music by Guru Ramahari Das.  

But towards the end, the dancers were losing their aesthetics of body language due to the speed in rhythms.  "Tillana" in Odissi dance (an interesting chapter again like nine matra Pallavi to be conceptualized) was choreographed by Arundhati Roy and performed by her disciples. Dr. Balamurli Krishna composed the music. The Tillana attempt was good but did not come out with the desired standard of performance.  It was quite depressing and strange to watch Rina Jana on stage in a different mood presenting Shankarabharana Pallavi of Guru Pankaj Charan Das to music by Pt. Bhubaneswar Mishra.  Lots of unnecessary jumping, unnatural expression and most important thing was that the dancer was missing the grace and rounded liquid movements for which Odissi dance is known. 
The 11th performance of the evening was "Saswat Prem" by Maya Bhattacharya and her troupe.  Unfortunately the saswat was suffering in their dancing, in choreography and costume as well.  To write criticism about Mayaji would be pointless.  In Guru Giridhari Nayak's choreography, his disciples presented "Basant Bahar" and the Shradhanjali evening concluded with "Vande Mataram" performed by the disciples of Dwipanita Roy. 

Odissi dancer/guru Ratikant Mohapatra is the son of late guru Kelucharan Mohapatra and the director of Srjan, Bhubaneshwar.