The bond between Kathak and Tabla

Amrita Prasad
Friday, 25 August 2017

To understand the nuances of both the performing arts and their close bond, Kathak Dance and Tabla Workshop is being organised in Pune

Kathak and tabla share a deep bond. To bring out the close relationship between the two and speak about their nuances, city-based Dr Madhuri Apte’s dance academy — Nrityavedh Kathak Nritya Sanstha — in association with Bharatiya Sangeet Prasarak Mandal’s Gandharva Mahavidyalaya is organising Kathak Dance and Tabla Workshop to be conducted by Taalmani Pt Mukundraj Deo which will be followed by his solo performance. The event will take on August 27. 

Apte, a disciple of Kathak exponent Manisha Sathe, specialises in Natraj Gopi Krishna as part of her PhD. She has held several events commemorating the maestro. This time again the workshop will be a tribute to the late Gopi Krishna, an exponent of Banaras Gharana of Kathak. On the occasion of Pt Gopi Krishna’s birth anniversary, Pt Mukundraj will conduct the workshop for both tabla and dance students who can learn some special formations of the Banaras Gharana. 

Talking about the workshop, Apte says, “Gopi Krishna ji was accompanied by Mukundraj ji on the tabla for many years. Mukundraj ji has a good knowledge of Kathak as well, hence it will be a great opportunity for Kathak and tabla artists to learn the intricacies of both the art forms.” 

Describing the symphony between Kathak and the tabla, Apte says, “They go hand in hand and are incomplete without each other. Woh ek dusre ki nazakat aur saundarya ko badhate hain (they enhance each other’s beauty and grace). If the beats of the tabla is amurt (abstract), Kathak brings out its physical form. The physical dance that you see with eyes, is heard through the rhythms of the tabla. They are like two sides of the same coin.”

Apte feels that it is extremely important for a Kathak dancer to understand both the tabla and the artist playing it. “In Indian classical music, both laya and taal are significant  which you can see in Kathak and the tabla. If you have to perform within the premise of laya and taal, you have to understand what the tabla player is playing, only then can you express beautifully through your performance,” says Apte who has always trained under Banaras Gharana, but she is also fascinated by the grace of other gharanas. 

Mukundraj comes from a family with a great passion for dance and music. He has received inspiration and promotion for his art from his mother Dr Manjiri Deo, a Kathak dancer and disciple of Gopi Krishna, and father Shreeram Deo, a true lover of dance and music. Mukundraj, who has accompanied several Kathak stalwarts like Pt Birju Maharaj, Dayamanti Joshi, Archana Joglekar and so on, says, “Kathak has two aspects — one is technical and the other is abhinaya. The movements and rhythms go well with the tabla. Jo adayagi table mein hoti hai woh Kathak ke liye bahut zaruri hoti hai. The tabla performance has to be really strong in order to bring out the real beauty of Kathak.” 

The principal of Gandharva Vidyalaya and renowned harmonium player, Pramod Marathe, who has supported Sunday’s event, says it is a wonderful way to spread the knowledge of the tabla and Kathak. “Pt Mukund is not only a great tabla player but has in-depth knowledge of Kathak as well because his mother has been a great Kathak dancer. It will be a great opportunity for Kathak and tabla players to learn the blend of technicality of both art forms,” says Marathe who further adds that the number of Kathak and tabla performers have been increasing every year.  

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The workshop will be held at Vishnu Vinayak Swarmandir, Gandharva Vidyalaya, Shaniwar Peth, on August 27 from 10 am-1 pm and 2-4 pm, after which Pt Mukundraj Deo will give a solo tabla performance at 5.30 pm.

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