Utkal Samaj highlighted Classical Odissi Performances


Bhopal's non-resident Odiya community staged 'Utkal Samaj' on April first in a grand manner. The highlight of the event had been its high quality classical Odissi performances, to enjoy which thronged in great numbers to the capital's Ravindra Bhawan, the audience. It is striking that the audience that flooded in had not just been from the Odiya community but from outside of it as well.

This was the eleventh edition of Utkal Samaj and it was carried out in collaboration with the department of culture, Madhya Pradesh. As far as the Odiya people of their mainland Odisha are concerned, Utkal Divas celebrations, part of which  had been this event, marked a politically separate state's formation on linguistic basis under the British rule on April 1 1936.

A rhapsodic rendition of Siva Sthuthi kicked off the evening. More excitement followed with the unfolding of a range of presentations based on praises of Lord Siva. Besides these, there was also an episode from Ramayana, titled Sitha Haran. Also showcased was Pallavi, considered as an integral part of all Odissi perfromances. The presenters were part of an Odissi group based in Mumbai.

Nevertheless, it was the presentation of Siva Thandava that had stolen the spotlight at the event. The demonstration of the lord's rage by the dancers on the stage literally had turned out as a visual as well as stimulating experience for the audience.  

It is worth musing what began as a simple gathering of a community back in the nineties has presently evolved into a full-fledged celebration for Bhopal City. According to SS Das, the organiser of the show, it was almost like a festival for them where they met, greeted and celebrated their culture like a festival.