National Program of Dance- Doordarshan
I accidently switched on the TV it was national channel. Two ladies were dancing. The music was sounding like Hindustani. The attire of both the dancers was just replica of what dancers of Kathak Kendra or dancers at Delhi wear. They have popularized this dress all over the India.
Then suddenly I heard a song in somewhat sounding like Odissi language. Then after listening for few minutes it certainly sounded like Assamese. First there was a thumri in Hindi, then some portion sounded like verses of any gazal. Then I heard the famous thumri, on which late Pt Durgalal once performed on TV. This imaginative creation caught my attention. This is a good example how one can crate beautiful things. There was Thumri, there was abhinay. The dancer duo were looking sisters, as I guessed. But I was proved right when their names were flashed on the tv screen. Earlier in many programs I had never seen names flashed as they did in this program. Their names were Aligunjan and Chandrani Kalita. Names were very unusual to me.
The duo had selected the attire of Delhi Kathak. But they changed the fabric and color of dress,. This duo from Assam did choose some heavy designed fabrics and with heavy colors.
The background was very simple and minimalist. At first I thought they are dancing in some library kind of place. In background some almirah with glass panes were there. In between the design (painting) of pillars with very minimum engraving stood. The Lord Natraj were there standing at the last point of the floor. When dancers were dancing and trying to utilize the space then they reached at the last point of the stage, almost stepping on to the lord’s image. That means the space was less for their dance.
Choreography was also lacking synchronization/coordination at some points. I thought in my mind that this dance must have been choreographed by these dancers themselves and not by their guru- whoever guru was(I don’t know). Many steps lack imagination and looked very animated, As if not coming naturally.
While dancing for a tarana at Kamani Auditorium New Delhi for the annual function of Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, New Delhi, my guru (Smt Prerna Srimali) told us that synchronization is very much important in a group performance. If two dancer take a chakkar on one side and the third takes it in different side or one more or one less then whole impact of the group gets lost. Same thing came to my mind when one dancer was missing some steps and trying to match with the other dancer on many steps. That looked many times awkward. I know since it has happened with me also many times on stage.
Then in last they danced on teen tal, but on TV screen the spelling was “Tin Tal Drut lay” Both danced quite well. Initially I was thinking that they belonged to the school of Khairagarh.
Do you know who is credited to have started this school. If I am correct, Kudau Singh has been credited for it. He was a Pakhawaj player. As I read somewhere that when he was jailed for some time, he practiced the pakhawaj playing on the pillars. And his strong fingers made dints in the pillars. That was the impact of strength and grit and determination, strict discipline of practice.