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Unfortunate incident
- Sharmila Mukerjee, Bangalore

November 3, 2006

An unfortunate incident took place at the Arudhra Festival on the last day. However as I was performing on stage at that time I was not eye witness to what exactly happened between the organisers and the 2nd group of dancers since it happened outside the auditorium. However I would like to mention that the time allotted to me was 6.30pm and we started the Odissi performance approximately between 6.45 and 7pm. Since my program was timed at 55 minutes, I presume we finished our recital around 7.45 or 7.50pm.

When I was about to start my 3rd item (we performed 5 items in all) I saw the artists entering the green room. That means they had another half an hour to go before getting on to the stage, so in that respect I don't think they were really late. However, the organisers claim they were not ready. I cannot comment on that fully since they were going to perform a dance drama, and I saw all of them wearing their traditional dance costumes and you know we dancers cannot wear costumes before putting on our make up.

I for my part was humbly requested by the organisers to finish the program on the last day on an auspicious note, so being an artist I just did my duty by finishing the evening's program with the traditional Moksha and another item before that since the organisers were naturally troubled by the incident that had taken place.

As I had mentioned earlier, it was an unfortunate incident - unfortunate for the dancers who came ready to perform a beautiful dance drama, unfortunate for the organisers who had invited them and unfortunate for the audience who had come to see the program. We artists are all performers and organisers together but also we are human and I hope we can ALL learn a lesson from this unfortunate incident and learn to put it behind us and move forward - after all art is higher than everything else.

Sharmila Mukerjee is the Director of Sanjali Centre for Odissi Dance, Bangalore.

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