International Odissi Festival 2011: Jhelum Paranjape performs Bhakti
Director: Jhelum Paranjape
Duration: 00:17:34; Aspect Ratio: 1.778:1; Hue: 345.268; Saturation: 0.127; Lightness: 0.074; Volume: 0.116
Summary: The 4th International Odissi Dance Festival in 2011 was held from December 23 to 30, 2011, at Rabindra Mandap Bhubaneswar. The festival was preceded by an attempt to create a world record by having around 550 dancers perform together at Kalinga Stadium. It saw the participation of most major Odissi ensembles in Orissa and a few from outside the state. With performances for over twelve hours each day, the festival featured several hundred performers in solo, duet and group works over eight days. In its scale, the festival offered a bird's eye view of the landscape of contemporary Odissi and its ever-changing nature. It foregrounded new trends in choreography, music and costuming. The seminars during the festival sparked lively debates on issues and concerns in Odissi. One such concern, voiced repeatedly, questioned the definition of tradition within the space of the dance form and the limits it could be stretched to. This raised parallel questions about innovation and experimentation in Odissi - a debate that found itself mirrored in the performances during the festival.
Jhelum Paranjape is a student of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra and Shankar Behera. She is the director of Smitalay, an Odissi dance institute in Bombay. She is a recipient of the Mahari award, and has performed widely. She is also an established choreographer who is interested in working with diverse textual sources.
Here, she performs a piece she has choreographed, based on abhangs written by Chokhamela, a mahar devotee of Vithoba. Chokha cannot enter the temple but is consumed by his love for Vithoba. Music composition is by Manoj Desai.
An abhinaya based on poet Chokha’s abhangs (devotional poems). Chokha, a saint of Maharashtra in the 14th century, belonged to the Mahar caste considered "untouchable" in India in that era. He was an ardent devotee of lord Vithal or Pandurang. He comes to Pandharpur, where stands the Vithal temple on the banks of river Chandrabhaga, looking for his Lord. However, being a mahar he was beaten up by the brahmins who suspected him of wanting to enter the temple. He pleads with them saying “johaar maay baap”…I do not want to enter the Lord’s holy temple, let me just be here, near him. I am hungry. I am starved of the Lord’s love. Let me just be here, I will clean the temple premises. The brahmins relent. Chokha’s love for the Lord makes him sing. He sings “the air is thick with the color of abir & gulaal, I cannot see you, but I will sit on the steps & sing your praises. He sings with such devotion that people gather round him. This upsets the brahmins. They beat him once again and throw him into the river. Sad, Chokha swims across and stays there, looking at the temple from afar. Tired, he sleeps. He then hears someone calling him. The voice comes from the temple. Chokha’s love for his dear Lord is so strong the Lord calls him. As if in a dream, Chokha walks across the river. To his surprise, the temple door is open!! This has never ever happened. His dear Lord is standing before his eyes. Chokha absorbs the Lord’s beauty and sings. He falls at Vithal’s feet & then they embrace each other. Chokha is delirious with happiness.
Kelucharan Mohapatra gharana