9th Drishti National Dance Festival
- Veena Murthy Vijay
e-mail: veenamurthyvijay@gmail.com
Photos courtesy: Drishti

January 26, 2014

The culture scene in Bangalore has evolved incredibly over the last decade. Festivals are organized in the city and across the state by various organizations both old and new. One such organization is Drishti.  Drishti Dance Festival is the most popular festival among the few festivals which always gets a full house. Based on this plus point, this year Drishti went on to extend its festival by one more day. The 2 day festival saw the same kind of sprit and enthusiasm from the audience, art lovers and participating artists. The 9th edition of Drishti National Dance Festival held on 10th and 11th January saw a great success in terms of performances and audience.

The festival presented some of the best performances in classical style of dances. The inaugural day presented Bharatanatyam by Rasika dance ensemble of renowned gurus Kiran Subramanyam and Sandhya Kiran. The young dancers of the ensemble were Rasika Kiran, Shivaranjini, Vrinda Methil, Divyaranjini, Matangi Prasan, Sushmita Suresh, Divya Vinod, Preeti Prasad and Jyothsna Ramesh. The young Rasika ensemble raised the bar of excellence. The energy and choreography was the best element in their whole performance. The intelligent rendition of the konnakol and jathi construction for which Kiran is known made this presentation unique and delightful. This is a remarkable contribution by Kiran to the dance world. The complicated rhythm structures rendered by the dancers show the rigorous training that they have been given under the Kirans. The dancers were in perfect synch and though the mathematical combinations were tough to dance, these girls made it look simple and effortless.

Rasika ensemble

Shallu Jindal

The Kuchipudi performance by Shallu Jindal from Delhi was vibrant. Shallu displayed great skill in her tharangam when she danced on the brass plate. She chose the popular piece “Neela mega sharira” as the core number of her recital. Blessed with a beautiful stage presence, Shallu Jindal presented all her numbers with crisp poses and graceful movements. Though one felt that the pace of the numbers could have been faster, she did justice to her chosen style and form. 
Shadow play by Prahlad Acharya from Udupi was splendid and entertaining. This is a new genre introduced by Drishti this year. The story of the lion and the cow ‘Punyakoti Kathe’ was rendered with touching shadow movements. The form though limited to shadows did not lack any emotional appeal in its presentation.

Shadow play


The popular and traditional Yakshagana troupe Sri Idagunji Mahaganapati Yakshagana Mandali, Keremane, presented ‘Seethapaharanam’ with scenes from Ramayana. The Yakshagana is the most supported form in Karnataka among all its counterparts in India. This style is promoted, presented and worshipped in its original form even today. The artists headed by Keremane Shivananda Hegde, son of the legendary Shambhu Hegde, were proficient in their rendition. The drama unfolded the story with great emotional expertise and each character was well enacted by all the artists of the group.

On 11th January, Drishti dance ensemble presented the first invocatory dance. The young dancers presented the ‘Shiva Padam’ with vigorous nritta and acrobatic movements. The movements were well coordinated and graceful.  Both the pieces were beautifully choreographed by their guru Anuradha Vikranth, blending the choreography with some of the karanas and charis of Natyasastra. The dancers who performed were Tincy, Shubha, Ramya, Kruti, Kajol and Nandana. The overflowing audience enjoyed the group presentation and this set the mood for the evening. The dancers looked beautiful in their synchronised costumes, which was an added value to the whole presentation.

Drishti ensemble

Anuradha Vikranth

The Bharatanatyam presentation by Anuradha Vikranth had all the elements of the repertoire in its traditional best. She presented “Omkaara Karini” with well-choreographed movements and the emotions brought out the essence of bhakthi bhava with aplomb.  The severe punishing mood while slaying the demon Mahishasura of the maha shakthi and that of the   kindness of a mother blessing this world, were contrasts well drawn into the composition. She presented the ashtapadi where the sakhi explains the spirit of the spring season and how it affects lovers who are separated from their lovers. The bhava, vibhava and anubhava aspects were well choreographed to the inner meaning of the song.  The mature abhinaya proved that Anuradha is growing into a consummate artiste. 

The stage was set on fire by Amit Khinchi and Shubhi Johari’s Kathak recital. The duo from New Delhi presented their recital with swift chakkars, fast footwork in perfect synch. The live orchestral support added extra points to an almost perfect recital. Shiva Shakti, Nayak, Sam-Vaad and Abhisarika were some of the dance numbers performed by them. The audience gave a standing ovation to this outstanding performance.

Amit Khinchi & Shubhi Johari


The finale of the two day festival was the group presentation by Bangalore’s youth group of artists of various styles. ‘Sammilan’ was by Rekha Raju - Mohiniattam, Vandana - Odissi, Hithaishy Dhanan - Kuchipudi, Mithun Shyam- Bharatanatyam and Swetha Venkatesh – Kathak. All of them presented solos in their styles with wonderful movements and good abhinaya. The final number they presented in a group for a jatiswaram in Rasikapriya raga was the climax of the program with all styles presented in perfect synch. This piece was well directed by Anuradha Vikranth.

Recognising the services made to the field of dance and music, Drishti conferred DRISHTI PURASKAR on Dr. R.V. Raghavendra, the managing trustee of Ananya, an organization incessantly working for the promotion of classical arts. The program had dancer Padimini Ravi, Dr. Ashwathnarayana, General Manager of Canara Bank, internationally renowned Agricultural Scientist Dr.TM Manjunath, President of Academy of Music Dr. Veeresh as the esteemed guests at the festival. An array of dancers and senior gurus were also a part of this celebration.

Drishti Puraskar awarded to Dr. R.V. Raghavendra

All in all the Drishti Dance Festival is the most sought after festival for both dancers and the dance lovers in Bangalore.

Veena Murthy Vijay is a senior Kuchipudi dancer and director of Sri Raja Rajeshwari Kala Niketan in Bangalore.