Rasik Performing Arts continued its tradition of organising intimate baithaks. With Rasrang, held on 7th May 2016, our studio in Nirvana Country, Gurgaon saw the focus shift to Hindustani classical music with the showcasing of a phenomenal new talent. Upcoming artist Ramakant Gaikwad of the Patiyala gharana, son of well-known artists Shri Suryakant Gaikwad and Shrimati Sangita Gaikwad, presented an impressive range of items carefully chosen from the repertoire handed down to him by the great gurus of the gharana.
Not yet 30 years old, Ramakant’s youth belies his tremendous talent and dedication to his art form. This was evident as he vowed the audience with his gayaki. Accompanied by renowned tabla artist Shiv Shankar Ray as well as Paromita Banerjee on the harmonium, Ramakant presented a range of items including vilambit in Raag Yaman, thumri ‘Mein bhej piya pachhtayi’ in Raag Mishra Bageshri, and bhajan ‘sadho rachna ran banai’, finishing with the popular bandish ‘ka karun sajnaa aaye na baalam’.
Baithaks such as this one are held regularly by Rasik Performing Arts in an attempt to popularize Indian classical music and dance among contemporary audiences that are more attuned to commercial forms of entertainment. Founders Jayashree Acharya and Shiv Shankar Ray have worked hard at nurturing a passionate group of those who enjoy and appreciate the classical arts through regular kathak classes, workshops and baithaks in Gurgaon. The aim is to offer the opportunity for young people to have meaningful and intense artistic engagements while also preserving these important aspects of Indian culture.
The sweltering heat of a particularly warm mid-April afternoon was no deterrent to the enthusiasm of Guru Jayashree Acharya’s students as they flitted about in excitement. As guests trickled in, senior students worked to get their guru behen Mahika Zutshi ready for her manch pravesh. Someone adjusted her dupatta, another one fixed her maang teeka and ensured the last strands of straying hair went into place.
The evening began with the younger ones, all dressed in pristine white, presenting small pieces, an evocation to the Gods, a short tarana, some technical rhythms. And then, Mahika enchanted the audience with her strong technical skills and a sincere attempt at abhinaya in the popular and beloved thumri, ‘Meri Suno Shyam’. With her guru and guru behen Mahika Nair on padhant, Shiv Shankar Ray on tabla, Pratip Banerjee on vocals and harmonium and Chandrachur Bhattacharya on sitar, Mahika was able to confidently demonstrate the nuances and intricacies of her art form. Her presentation of the complex 14-beat dhamaar was particularly appreciated.
Our guest artist Ritesh Sharma represents the rarely experiences Raigarh gharana of kathak. He presented unusual lyrical and technical compositions, offering a historic background to the development of the gharana and its unusual emphasis on poetry. Riteshji teaches dance in Bhagalpur and is passionate about reviving the classical arts in small town India, among young girls and boys. Riteshji was accompanied on tabla by Utpal Ghosh, with vocals support from Pratipji, sitar accompaniment by Chandarchurji and padhant by Jayashreeji.
The evening was graced by none other than Shri Krishna Mohan Mishraji, a renowned kathak artist and guru, who encouraged the young dancers and also their parents to remain patient in the acquisition of knowledge and skills within the classical arts.
Rasik Performing Arts is gratified to have successfully brought another evening of kathak to art lovers in Gurgaon in the intimate baithak format that facilitate deeper appreciation and learning of the art form’s history and practice. We are blessed to have the patronage of senior artists and gurus in all our endeavours.
Read media coverage on the baithak here.
Photo credits: Anandi Ray, Shruti Dewan