Dharani's Virtual Kalotsav 2021
November 18, 2021
Dharani Kalotsav Festival was started in 2003 and is an annual event conducted at Kochi during the month of November featuring artists from all over India. The Covid 19 pandemic had a sudden and substantial impact on arts and cultural sector during the preceding two years. The global health crisis and the uncertainty resulting from it, profoundly affected organizations' operations as well as individuals - both employed and independent - across the sector. In-person events and performances were cancelled or postponed, to maintain essential activities with minimal resources, and to document the events.
In response, there were intensive efforts to provide alternative services through digital platforms. The efforts resulted in this year witnessing the bloom of performances on virtual platforms and graduated steadily towards venues also. Dharani conducted its maiden virtual Kalotsav '21, a 3 day cultural fest that was inaugurated by the Mayor of Kochi, Adv. M. Anil Kumar who is an art enthusiast himself and a visionary leader. The lighting of the lamp by Shyamala Surendran, Founder and Chairperson - Dharani School of Performing Arts and Sumathi Dhandapani, President- Society Dharani marked the beginning of the virtual festival.
Day one commenced with 'Thullal Thrayam' by renowned artist Kalamandalam Prabhakaran and team. The very first performance was 'Sheetangal Thullal' depicting the story of 'Kalyana Soungandhikam'. Next was the 'Parayan Thullal' by narrating the story of a hunter named Chandaka and his wife Pulindi seeing a Shivalinga ignorant of its standing and from there the flow of the story. At the end 'Ottan Thullal' entered with Kiratham story of the Pandavas. All the three styles performed 'kummi' together at the end of their performance.
Day two witnessed a riveting performance of Nangiar Koothu by the talented Kapila Venu accompanied by Kalamandalam Rajeev and Kalamandalam Narayanan Nambiar. 'Sita Parityagam' based on Kalidasa's Raghuvamsa was choreographed by Guru G Venu. A woman's chastity questioned by her beloved husband is the forerunner and thus paves the way for a strong ending. The tale expresses Lord Rama's second request for Agnipareeksha. Sita Devi can be seen requesting Bhoomi Devi to accept her into her fold irrespective of the requests made by the sobbing Sri Rama. The performance brought out the divinity of the art form and captured the attention of the audience.
Day three featured a Veena Kutcheri by V. Sounderajan. A leading Carnatic vainika of his generation Vidwan V Sounderajan is one of the most sought after creative artiste both in the realm of Indian classical and Malayalam playback music. He was accompanied by Bombay K B Ganesh playing tabla and Trivandrum R Rajesh on ghatam. Brindavana Sarangi raga, Saraswathi raga and many popular keerthanas were played by the artistes. Music always soothes one's heart and mind and that was clearly evident through the performance.