There was a programme on Doordarshan featuring Malati Shyam. Some days, I have seen that TV shows dance program in 7 or 7:30 time slot in addition to the National Program of dance. Earlier it used to come on Late night on Sundays. Now they have changed it to Thursday or some other day. I have lost the track for few years.
The first visual was very good. It was one of the best aesthetically decorated backdrop on TV I saw this year, with lot of modernity. Fresco in background was from Gupta and Mauryan period. The stage, where the dancer was dancing looked like wall of mirrors.
Introducer told that she belongs to Lucknow gharana. All the accompanied artists were seated on right side of dancer and were visible on the camera, which was very good. Overall, due to camera angle and editing whole concept looked very good to eyes. Dancer was fully enjoying her dancing, which is a must for any performance for its success. My guru Shri K D Srivastav at Kanpur used to tell us that if you like your performance true from heart then only you can think that audience will also like it. In many performances we can see that the dancer is making extra efforts to perform, and if it is noticed then it is considered as a drawback.
I could compare Today’s program with the very first program churned out from the then newly established CPC at Delhi, After that Malvika Mitra and Madhavi Mudgal were the first few programmes made by the CPC. I think they shot it at Baradari Lucknow or in the Lucknow Zoo.
Few famous names were associated with these national programs of dance, of which I can recollect are of Kamlini Dutt. Or some Mukherji
In today’s program, watching through the camera I felt as if I am sitting in the hall, where the dancer is performing. That means the camera technique was good.
Name- Malati Shyam is not new to me. Malati was one of the members of ensemble of Guru Birju Maharaj. Whenever Kathak Kendra or Gururji performed in or outside the Delhi, she was there as a team member. She was also teamed with Durga Arya, Saswati, later Veronique Azan, Aditi etc. She had been part of the team of Birju Maharaj whenever they came to Kanpur to perform. Many times they came for programs of Railways.
I had seen them at IIT Kanpur, Merchant Chamber hall, and at MotiJheel Kanpur, etc. Those days she was Malti Rawat.
Theme song was correctly chosen “AaJ mori Kalai murak gai”. In blue dress she was looking nice and she had always been a “decorative” in Maharaji’s group.
In my performances I have observed that I take lot of bhramrees. That I find very awkward though. But in the Thumri which Malati was performing, she was also taking chakkarsevery now and then. They looked too much, but it must have been necessary for her Thumri. Actually these chakkars are taken while changing into characters. Very often it is taken to change or to show different moods or emotions.
Later when I was learning under guidance of Smt Prerna Srimali ji at Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, Delhi, She many times pointed out my mistakes while taking the chakkars. My body tends to tilt too much on one side while taking chakkars. Thus aesthetics plays a role in dance. Every stance must be pleasant.
However, still we don’t have enough schools where many subjects are taught together with dance. As I read in the book on Anna Pavlova, the great Ballet dancer that there was a school where various subjects were taught to students. India has rich heritage of ancient knowledge. There must be some school where we can learn philosophy, Aesthetics, Language (Sanskrit, English), Literature, Arts, science, earlier there was TURKSHAASTRA- means the art of reasoning or rationalizing etc, Mathematics, and all that we can consider worth teaching the new generation children. Lot of Dance stalwarts have started their own school. But the dream of complete teaching is missing. The blame is put on the society and current affairs. I think Late Protima Bedi had dreamnt of starting an ashram for dance. But God did not agree with her and she was called back while she was on Kailash Mansarovar Yatra.
But, result is that nowdays we don’t find dancers of caliber of Pt DurgaLal, Pt Birju Maharaj, Lachchu and Sambhu Maharaj. Their art or their teaching was so complete that there was no part of art in which they don’t have any knowledge.