A glimpse of Bengal’s rich culture

Vinaya Patil
Sunday, 29 April 2018

Surajhankar, an organisation that teaches Tagore’s music and the Bengali language in Pune, calls on patrons to join their annual event

Surajhankar, set up in 1994 to teach Tagore’s music and the Bengali language in Pune, has organised its 25th annual day tomorrow, May 1, in the city. For the last 24 years, Surajhankar has made sincere efforts to keep Tagore’s work alive in this part of the country. “Our annual Rabindra Jayanti programmes are experimental and involve much researched efforts to spread Tagore’s magic to a wider audience in the city. Surajhankar has tried to collaborate with eminent institutions in Pune for these annual presentations,” says Dr Amit Mitra, principal emeritus of Surajhankar and director of Nataraj, the performance that will take place today.

“Surajhankar is meant for bringing Bengali music and culture to Maharashtra and also integrating it with the local culture here,” he adds. Rabindra Jayanti, which is celebrated on May 9 every year, will also be celebrated along with the annual day celebrations. “This year, Surajhankar will have a performance called Nataraj. It is based on a play by Tagore, written in 1927 and first performed at Santiniketan. Tagore had extensively travelled across South India then, when he watched the Bharatanatyam performances based on Nataraj and was impressed with the philosophy behind it. He studied that there was both mukti and attachment in Nataraj (the lord of dance),” Dr Mitra explains.

The Ritunatya — Nataraj is the outcome of the deep impact of the ‘Dancing Shiva’ on Tagore. It is yet another mesmerising depiction of the ever-changing cycle of seasons presented through music, dance and recitation. This is Tagore’s homage to the arbiter of our destiny in whom the entire cosmos reposes. The 90-minute presentation has been conceived, directed and co-ordinated by Dr Amit Mitra.

The participants of the play will be students of Surajhankar while two other dance performances by Pune-based groups — Dr Suchitra Date’s Nrityaprerana and Shumita Mahajan’s Sadhana Nrityalaya (schools of Bharatanatyam) will be held along with performances by eminent theatre personalities Shiladitya Roy, Jayeeta Bhattacharya and Avijit Dasgupta. “We are also extremely honoured to have Bharatanatyam exponent Parimal Phadke, performing with us,” Dr Mitra adds.

Pune, Dr Mitra says, “has a huge population of Bengalis that supports Surajhankar along with so many other Maharashtrian cultural organisations that take an active part in our events”. All the dancers in tomorrow’s event too are Maharashtrians and they have beautifully picked up the difficult Bengali verses and their essence, he says, adding, “so it’s an amalgamation of both cultures.”

“The idea is to propagate the classical culture of Bengal. The point is for everyone, not just Bengalis, to come and enjoy art,” he stresses.

Surajhankar marks the commencement of its silver jubilee year with Natraj, on May 1, at Mahatma Phule Sanskrutik Bhavan, Wanawadi, 7 pm

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