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Festivities of Lord Ram with Kathak Kendra New Delhi

It was a pious day, on 22nd January 2024. The air around the country had an eloquent breeze of the holiness, of Lord Shree Ram! It was the day of the much-awaited congregation of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya. The whole country was celebrating the resurrection of the adolescent idol of the deity. Kathak Kendra New Delhi, too joined and smeared itself with this prance and sprinkled colours of the festivities hand in hand. It hosted the event “Jai Shree Ram”, staging some beautiful performances of vocal singing, solo Kathak performances, and group choreography.

The celebrations began with a soulful vocal singing performance by Shri Atul Devesh, who is an appointed singer at Kathak Kendra New Delhi. Atul Devesh, a Delhi Gharana singer, who acquired his knowledge from Jaipur Gharana, began his performance with a bhajan “Ram ka Gun Gaan Kariye…”, composed by Pt. Ramesh Parihar, in Raag Ahir. He further attached this string, with a traditional composition “Shri Ram Chandra Kripalu…”. Taking everyone to the realm of devotion, Atul Devesh wrapped his performance with one of his self-composed compositions in raag Yaman, a ‘Chhota khayal bandish’ called “Ram Tero Naam”. Shri Atul Devesh was accompanied by Ghulam Warsi on sarangi and Kamleshwar Prasad on Tabla.

This was followed by a solo Kathak performance by Ridhima Singh, learning the art of Kathak, for more than a decade, from Kathak exponent Sushree Rani Khanum. Ridhima Singh was accompanied by Amaan Ali on Tabla, Shuheb Hassan on vocals and harmonium, Salim Vishwamitra on Sitar Guru Rani Khanum on Padhant. Ridhima Singh initiated her performance by expressing her devotion to Lord Ram with the lines written by Saint Tulsidas “Shri Ram Chandra Kripalu”, glorifying the attributes of Ram. After the mellow composition, Ridhima showcased the episodic segment of, when Lord Ram enters Lanka, with the sole purpose of rescuing Sita, and to restore peace with signatory composition “Ram Raghuvir Randhir”. This composition, woven in Taal Dhamaar, along with the syllables of a Tarana, was also put up with the technical nuances of the same time-cycle, balancing the whole piece with footwork, agile movements and spins.

After Ridhima’s performance, it was Avenav Mukherjee who came on stage, with his solo Kathak performance, emerging with ‘Shudh Nritya’ on Taal Dhamaar, the time-cycle of 16 beats, with a traditional line up of footwork, that, uthaan, aamad, which ascended to fast rhythmic syllables of tukda and paran as well. His performance was graced with the guidance of his Guru Smt. Geetanjali Lal on padhant. He was accompanied by Amaan Ali on Tabla, Brijesh Mishra on Vocals and Nasir Khan on Sarangi. Avenav concluded his performance with an Abhinay piece of a shloka, woven as a bhajan as well. It was the ‘ek shloki Ramayan’… “Aadou Ram Tapo Vanaadi…”, in which, beautifully chosen episodes of the epic Ramayan were established with enactments, through the elaborated quartet.

It was then followed up by the finale of the evening, with a group Kathak choreography by Guru Malti Shyam, teaching as a senior Guru at Kathak Kendra New Delhi. The canvas of stage was sprayed with colours of festivities, with the portrayal of celebrations of birth ceremony of Lord Ram along with the other Princes, “Janm Liye Raghuraai”. Kaushalya, Kaikayi and Sumitra seeing their lovely sons growing up; stitching it up with a section of when the four princes grew up to be adolescents and would practice the craftsmanship of archery and other skills of refinement. The crescendo of the evening, with this choreography, hits with the grand celebration of Lord Ram, with the magnanimous hailing of the deity, adorned with showering of flower petals.  

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