Bengaluru International Arts Festival
- Meghna Venkat
Photos courtesy: BIAF

October 10, 2014

Bengaluru International Arts Festival (Sept 5 - 21) organised by AIM (Artists Introspective Movement) in its 7th year was spread across 9 venues in Bengaluru for 9 days. Chief guests Dinesh Gundu Rao, Dr. Pappu Venugopala Rao, Jayant Kastuar and Ravindra Bhandary along with one of the BIAF directors Veena Murthy Vijay inaugurated the festival on 5th Sept 2014 at Chowdiah Memorial Hall. The inauguration concert commenced with veena by Dr. Suma Sudhindra who is also a director for BIAF and Ned McGowan on western flute and their entire troupe named Carnatic Cross Over Project. ‘Priya Tarangini’ and ‘Ganesha Sank in Sankey Tank’ played by them were appreciated by all. The second day saw Rafiki's play ‘Unveiling’ which was well received by theatre artists at NGMA. The third day brought the melody of the sounds of shehnai by the son of Ustad Zamin Hussain Bismillah Khan and a thematic vocal presentation ‘Essentially Divine’ by Saashwathi Prabhu.

Manganiyar group

Praveen Kumar and group

Fusion concert

Yoga in the park

The second week of BIAF saw some amazing performances by Laya Nada Taranga, Aayana Dance and Aathma Band at a new and unique venue of Bengaluru - Vivekananda Road Metro Station! The concept of art reaching out to the crowd has now been initiated by the Bengaluru International Arts Festival. Peepal Tree band enthralled the people at Opus. The south Bangalore audience were treated with some rare folk music from the village of Hammir, Rajasthan by Firoz Khan Manganiyar and troupe who kept the audience spellbound with their famous “Nimbooda” and other songs. Dance vocalist and Carnatic singer P. Ramaa’s concert was enjoyed by all. Impeccable and immaculate Bharatanatyam by P. Praveen Kumar and his dance troupe Chithkala School of dance presented pushpanjali, “Jaya janaki ramana” and “Jagan mohanane Krishna” which was very skilfully choreographed. “Maneolagado govinda” beautifully depicted fatherly love and concluded with an eye-catching thillana. Attractive presentation of Kathak by Nadam Dance Ensemble enthralled art lovers. They presented four pieces each exceeding in beauty than the other. ‘Rusali Radha’ choreographed by Bragha Bessell brought out charming and humourous abhinaya.  Yoga on a Sunday morning at Cubbon Park with the sounds of birds chirping and pleasant breeze was accompanied by soft and melodious vocals by Suchethan Rangaswamy. The yoga was conducted by Namrata Sudhindra, Radhika and Vinay Kumar Jesta. Folk dances from all over the world from Uganda to Mauritius, from Orissa to Karnataka were showcased to a packed audience at Freedom Park. "Go Green Campaign" of BIAF planted several trees in the outskirts of Bengaluru.

Gotipua group

Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna

Nirupama and Rajendra

Shama Krishna

The final week of BIAF presented artist from Kolkata, Suddashil Chatterjee on the santoor and Emmanuel Simon from France on the western percussion and the xylophone. Accompanying them was Kausik Bannerjee on the tabla. The team enticed the audience with their fine music. On Saturday evening, the whole of Bangalore’s art lovers were at Chowdiah Memorial Hall for an astounding performance of Carnatic concert by vocalist Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna, whose singing career spans for 79 years. He was ably accompanied by C.N. Chandrasekhar on violin, T.R. Sundareshan on mridangam, S.N.Narayanamurthy on ghatam and vocal support by disciple Dr. Krishna Kumar.
The concluding day of BIAF proved Bengaluru to be the hub of arts and artists as we saw many standing in the more than 1100 seating hall. The evening commenced with Kuchipudi solo recital by Shama Krishna on the theme ‘Urvashi’ which was excellently depicted with a unique featuring of vachika, nritta and abhinaya with finely defined movements. The theme brought out strong connotations of empowerment of women which received much applause and praise. The finale was ‘Kathakitathom’ by Abhinava Dance Company led by the dynamic duo Nirupama-Rajendra. Their presentation was finely carved with beautiful lighting, stage decoration, alluring costumes and stunning choreography. They presented four pieces starting with 'Shakuntala', the colourful flower of the jungle, then an abstract movements denoting Veera / heroism by the duo. The master piece was ‘Yudh Veera’ which described the plight and courage of the young warrior Abhimanyu. The final dance was a dandiya in which the audience joined too. BIAF once again, for the 7th year, proved to be a festival which carefully curates events with varied art forms in Bengaluru.
BIAF also opens to the crowd funding opportunity through public donations online. A minimal amount of Rs.100 per person can be donated towards the cause of art for sustaining this annual mega festival for the year 2015.