Bhubaneswar: The 26th OMC Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Award 2020 for life-time achievement was conferred on eminent Odia film director Raj Gopal Mishra who is popularly known as Raju Mishra.

The 26th OMC GKM Yuva Prathiva Sandman 2020 were handed over to Odissi dancer Pravat Kumar Swain and Odissi Music exponent Himansu Sekhar Swain.

Odisha governor Ganeshi Lal presented the Awards on the concluding evening of the five-day 26th OMC GKM Award Festival, organised on a vertual platform by Srjan organisation, here on Wednesday.

The programme also featured two short video presentations of the 60 Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Awardees over 25 years, and the Yuva Pratibha Samman recipients over the years.

The much-awaited finale was a presentation by the Srjan ensemble, who, under the direction of Ratikant Mohapatra perform extensively within India and overseas, presenting compositions with fast-paced movements, innovations in dance and music, and depicting popular themes, within the Odissi idiom. This evening Srjan presented Anweshanaa- In search of excellence, a bouquet of neo-classical choreographs in Odissi dance, the presentations of which were carefully conceptualized, and choreographed by Ratikant Mohapatra.

They began with an invocation to Lord Rama, Antara Rama, a devotional song by Sant Kabir exploring the transformation of Lord Rama’s devotees from mere human to a state of divine grace. It incorporated a beautiful story from the Ramayana visualizing the deep devotion of Hanuman who reveals the complete form of Sri Rama lodged in his heart. Set to Raga Jogia, and Adi Tala, the original music was composed by Pt. Nikhil Ghosh with the support music of Rupak Kumar Parida.

Their second presentation was Tarana. In this neo-classical piece, Srjan embarked on new pathways of innovation, by creating an amalgam of the classical and the contemporary and introducing novel elements in both the music and the movements. The music for this was composed by Dr. Vyzarsu Balasubrahmanyam. In their third presentation, Rase Harim Eha, the dancers portrayed the various amorous episodes of Lord Krishna with the Gopis while Radha recollects the loving moments with her passionate lover, Krishna. This dance was set to the music composition of the late Sangeet Martand Pandit Jasraj.

Srjan concluded with an Abhinaya, Shri Ramachandra Krupalu Bhajamana, in Raga Malika and Jati and Adi Tala, set to the music composition of Pradip Kumar Das. In praise of Lord Rama, this song, composed by Sant Tulsidas, invoked the blessings of the Lord and prayed for the purity of devotion as experienced by the great saints in their worship of the divine. The dramatic element was extended, by depicting, in Sanchari bhava the episodes of the Sita Swayamvar, and the conflict between Rama and Ravana. The synopses for the presentations were written by Aditya Mahapatra.

The performing artistes for the evening were Rajashri Praharaj, Ritu Sengupta, Aishwariya Singhdev, Sipra Swain, Riyanka Chakrabarty, Preetisha Mohapatra, and Reebdhita Barua. The dancers displayed perfect synergy and coordination in their energetic and captivating presentation of Anweshanaa.

Their rigorous training and near 365-day practice routine showed in their skilful performances. Aided by the brilliant light designing of Debiprasad Mishra, they were ably and effortlessly accompanied on the Mardala by Ratikant Mohapatra, on vocals by Dr. Bijay Kumar Jena, Rupak Kumar Parida, Mahalakshmi Iyer, and Harapriya Swain, on the violin by Suramani Ramesh Chandra Das and Agnimitra Behera, on the flute by Srinibas Satapathy, on the sitar by Rabi Shankar Pradhan, and on the vibraphone by Bibhu Prasad Tripathy.

The entire festival was curated and designed by Shri Ratikant Mohapatra, with the programme execution by Debiprasad Mishra. The MC for the festival was Maya Krishnamurty, member of the Srjan ensemble.