NAVODIT 2016 at Port Blair, Andaman Nicobar Islands

Art has always fascinated me, particularly the dance. Now a days it is clubbed with performing arts. Do performing arts include dance, playing musical instruments, singing, plays-theatre etc? What about painting, writing, decorating home?

When I started appreciating arts at young age, I came to know few artists who were famous at national level; it was only due to the Doordarshan. That was the only channel and it was synonymous of TELEVISION. I saw Smt Swapna Sundari, Chitra Viswesaran, Alarmel valli, followed by Malvika Sarrukai, Prerna Shrimali, Veroniqa Azan, Shobha Naidu, Vanisri Rao, Charu Mathur, Malbika Sarkar etc they were called Young artist back then. Few were famous even more than few elder artists.

However young artists were always encouraged to show their talents at various stages, Yuva kalakar, Yuva Mahotsav, Sharadotsav etc.

Suddenly I saw a tweet of Ministry of art and culture stating that there will be a function at Port Blair named as NOVODIT. The department of Art and Culture Andaman Nicobar Administration is organizing in association with East Zone Cultural Centre on 25 November 2016.

I am a so called “art enthusiast” and I am very well known among few people and ill famous as a dancer.

Despite of well known in circle, I was not invited to the function. I mean I did not receive any invitation card. I don’t know whether there was any invitation card printed or not? But previous experience tells that I usually do not get invitation card. In some functions I had to plead with few officials shamelessly for an invitation card. Most of programs usually held free for public. But being in Government we often feel that if I get an official invitation then my social status seems to be enhanced.

img_9861But till 6 pm I could hold back myself, as the clock proceeded further I lost all resistance. After dropping my son for tuition class I just ran towards the venue, it was late though.

As I entered the auditorium with thumping heart I found Hon’ble Lt Governor of A & N Islands was addressing the gathering. Thus I felt some relief, and thought I am not that much late.

I was waiting for magic to happen. There was an  announcement that program will start with a song of folk singer from Bihar. Mr Dharmendra Kumar came to stage

Dharmendra Kumar from Bihar

He is a young artist from Bihar. He started singing folk Songs of Bihar. Then he sang a Purvi, poorvi? accompanied by musicians. These musicians hailed from Port Blair itself.

Sound was good with broad spectrum of octave, but somewhere it sounded that he lacked, what we call as   “Swar ki pakad” the mastery on swaras. But if he practices with a good guru, teacher then he can improve his art. img_9865

Priya Talukdar with her father

Another star of attraction was this girl named Miss Priyanka Talukdar. Her father Shri Talukdar has been teaching music in Port Blair for the last many years. I had met him back in 1998 when i was in Educatimg_9867ion Department. He worked as part time teacher then. But his efforts to teach students has bored fruits now after 20 years. The girl which we saw 18 years back is now performing on stage it was a good feeling.

She (Priyanka) sang a Tarana also. She rendered it in a simple way. But there is lot of scope for improvement. She has to get specialised training from some Guru at Mainland to hon her skills. her. Her स्वर  swar rendering is good.

Next was an item as they called it, the folk song of Bengal, but it was a Baul geeti, Baul songs by Dhanonjay Dhibar. He had a good powerful voice. But somehow he has to get into the true feeling of character of a Baul while singing.

He tried but as he himself said he was not able to dance as space was not enough in front of the stage.

As we know  Baul songs are soul touching experience. To feel, to touch that feeling we can not resist dancing on those Baul musical beats coming out of the ektara- one string instrument. I loved the songs of Partha Das. I had a HMV cassette of his Baul Singing.


But in present times singers use electronic guitars and other electrical instruments. Dhananjoy also used an electronic instrument

Next was the Bharatnatyam item. As they announced the word “item” it sounded as a tailored item. It was Bharatnatyam by Sumita Roy.

Many senior artists often complain that few modern parents come and ask to teach “items’ to their wards. That sounds awkward to senior gurus. Now a days it is fashion to present an item on stage, instead of Dance.

Coming to the present function this item was a “thillana’ as was announced. Thillana is same as Tarana in Hindustani. We perform Tarana in Kathak similarly thillana is performed in Bharatnatyam. But the present item was little bit confusing, as it was little slow in temper. Usually what I have seen in Thillana it happens to be most energetic item in whole dance program, or it should be portrayed such. But those crisp beats, gaps all were missing. I mean as far as the image which I had of thillana, this item was not upto mark to that image. But the “adavus” poses mudras were quite fine. Thus she seemed to be a serious student. Movements of eyes, head, hands were all quite good.


Next came a surprising dance program. I am sure not many in audiences must have heard the name of Gaudiya Nritya.  Years back I saw the Satria dance, on Doordarshan, which took shape in Shatras or Chatras,  the ashrams in rural Assam.

But Gaudiya Nritya even i have not heard before, may be say 2000? But due to efforts of few dancers from Bengal Gaudiya is now developing into a full fledged dance.

Often it so happens that we have many rituals and keep on doing since ages but do not know the significance of these rituals. I am connecting to the origination of such dances. So at various religious occasions in rural India people perform dance and sing songs, but keeping all this as just ritual things. And we know in India many dances are associated with the Temple rituals. Even #Kathak was performed by the Kathakars- loose meaning is story teller,  in temples. The subject of these stories were mythological. As it is believed the dance as we know Kathak Kathakali Kuchipudi are all evolved from Temple dances. Thus very recently this dance the Gaudiya also have been researched and being presented as classical dance of Bengal.  Present dance was performed by the Satabdee Banerjee.

Next was the Kathak dance performance by Debjaya Sarkar. I had been s student of Kathak since 1975 in class IV, when one teacher came to teach dance at our school in Kanpur. Debjaya shown her caliber in the tatkar and layakari ang as we say in Kathak. She has got training and taken it seriously that reflected in her dance. but still as we all know that abhinaya aspect takes lots of time to be perfected. And experience also teach lots of things as we grow up performing programs.  I felt she must have learnt someone who is from Delhi or from Kathak Kendra, as she perfrmed some tukras which belonged to the school of Lucknow gharana and more particularly of Pt Birju Maharaj ji. But now days students learn many things from many teachers thus we cant claim that student belongs to a particular style of dance? whatever they perform is what they are taught?

Next came a very nice and serious performance by Sayani Chakraborty. She perfromed lots of adavus and javalis with abhinaya. I dont know but the music was little bit seriuos type for the audience. Those who know something about Bharatnatyam could have appreciated her performance better. I feel in such type of programms, dance with energetic music could have done justification.

Next was a nice performance of Kuchipudi by the Students of Gauri Shankara classical dance academy, Port Blair. The dance performed by the artists was very good being very young still they shown good potential.






 there was very much appreciation for these young budding artists from Port Blair.

There was this camera from Doordarshan. I tried to peep in to see how they are recording? and captured this screen.


this frame came while adjusting my camera and in between clicking the button.img_9976


The director, Shri OM Prakash Bharati, of EZCC East Zone Cultural Centre prposed the vote of thanks.


In end, the Chief Secretary, A & N Administration presented the certificates to all the participants



Programme ended with hope to see such events in future also at Port Blair. As such programs are rarely seen in this remote part of India. Due to its remoteness from Mainland this part remains untouched from the experiences, experiments, innovations etc going on in the filed of Performing arts in Mainland India. Thus such programs with more frequency are needed at such remote place like Andaman Nicobar Islands.