Bhaskar Rao Sammelan  
- Text & Photos by Thakur Paramjit, Chandigarh 

March 29, 2005   

The 35th Bhaskar Rao Nritya and Sangeet Sammelan was held in Chandigarh from 18th to 20th March 2005.  Organised every year by Pracheen Kala Kendra, it has evolved as the most significant event in this field in north-western region.  
An impressive Kuchipudi dance recital by Shallu Jindal, a disciple of Raja and Radha Reddy, was held on the first day.  The audience was delighted to see Raja Reddy himself on the stage, accompanying the musicians on nattuvangam.  The second event of the evening was a sitar recital by Shujaat Hussain Khan.  Disciple and son of sitar maestro Ustad Vilayat Khan, Shujaat gave his maiden public performance when he was just six years old.  
Vocal recital by Kankana Banerjee formed the first part of the next evening.  Disciple of Ustad Amir Khan of Indore, she gave her first public performance at the age of 14.  In the second half of the evening, Sunayana Hazarilal performed Kathak dance.  Wife and disciple of Guru Hazarilal, she follows Banaras Gharana founded by Pundit Janki Prasad.

Kuchipudi by Shallu Jindal
Kathak by Shobha Koser & 
Bharatnatyam by Suchitra Mitra
On the third day, spectators were delighted to see the Jugalbandi of Kathak by Shobha Koser and Bharatnatyam by Suchitra Mitra.  Shobha Koser started performing at the age of 15 and has earned many accolades since then.  After learning the intricacies of Jaipur Gharana from Gurus Kanhaiya Lal, Narayan Prasad, and Kundan Lal Gagnani, she was lucky enough to get Madan Lal Koser, himself a Kathak dancer, as her life partner.  The duo together worked hard for creating Pracheen Kala Kendra, making it a highly respected institute of the region.  Initially trained at Kalakshetra, Suchitra Mitra also learnt Kathakali and Chhau dances.  She has given a number of performances in India and abroad. 

Vocal recital by Sanjeev Abhyankar, belonging to Mewati Gharana, formed the second part of the evening.  This sweet voiced artiste started his training when he was eight years old.  His mentors include his mother Shobha Abhyankar, Pundit Pimpalkhare and Pundit Jasraj. Hindi film Godmother made him quite popular.  

 The All India Bhaskar Rao Nritya & Sangeet Sammelan is held every year by Pracheen Kala Kendra, Chandigarh, to show their gratitude to Bhaskar Rao Bakhle, who made a significant contribution to Indian classical music in late 19th century. 

Thakur Paramjit is a writer and photographer based in Chandigarh.