Nishagandhi Festival 2013 to begin on January 20

Nishagandhi Festival 2013

Nishagandhi Festival is one of the most prestigious cultural fests held in the capital city of Kerala, Thiruvanathapuram . It provides a wide platform for the Indian artists to showcase their art forms in its true colour with the proper blend of tradition & culture. It’s conducted as an annual fest held consistently during the month of January. It is held at Kanakkakunnu Palace premises where the events are staged at the Nishagandhi Open Air Theatre.

Many popular artists consider this platform as one of its kind owing to the exposure provided to the public during such a vibrant event conducted in its full glory. True art lovers will get an opportunity to experience the dance performances of artists who have excelled in Bharathanatyam, Mohiniyattam, Kathak, Manipuri, Odissi , modern ballet and other folk forms. It’s organized by the able guidance of KTDC (Kerala Tourism Development Corporation). During the fest, another events runs in parallel to showcase the traditional handicrafts of Kerala, highlight the traditional food items and also some musical experiments. Overall the event provides an insight to the traditional scenery of India. It could be viewed as a elate conglomeration of the popular classical art forms.

Nishagandhi Festival 2013 will start from Jan 20 @ Nishagandhi Auditorium and below are the few attractions of this year’s event.  

‘Naman’ Specially Choreographed Show by Jayaprabha and Group

At the Nishagandhi Festival, Jayaprabha and Group will present Naman, a unique blend of five classical dance forms. It explores panchabhuta, the five elements, and culmintes with Shivapanchakshara. Using different styles of dances and different rhythmic patterns, the presentation tries to weave a rich tapestry of music, rhythm and movement. The inherent strength of each dance form is used to creatively explore the inner world and inherent vibrations of Shivapanchakshara - Namashivaya.

Jayaprabha Menon Known for her novel presentations and excellent abhinaya, Jayaprabha's performances, though rooted in tradition are contemporary in theme. A recipient of Nritasree and Sringaramani Award, she is the Director of International Academy of Mohiniyattam, New Delhi.

Mohiniyattam by Jayaprabha Menon. Photography | Ratheesh Sundaram

Mohiniyattam by Aswathy Jayaram

Aswathy Jayaram popularly known as Parvathy, actress turned classical dancer once again hits the stage after her long break since she stopped acting. She started her journey into the vibrant world of dance right from the tender age of six. Aswathy's main inspiration was her mother Padma Ramachandran who was a disciple of late Sri Guru Gopinath and late Dandayudhapanu Pillai. She participated in several youth festivals under the guidance of Guru Ennakkadu Narayanankutty, a direct disciple of Kalamandalam Kalyanikuttiyamma and won innumerous accolades for her mind-blowing performance and this paved the way to her entry into Malayalam film Industry. She was a popular heroine with the credit of more than eighty films and by several awards till she tied the knot with the well renowned actor Jayaram. After a long break of fourteen years she once again embraced her only passion-Mohoniyattam. She immediately grabbed the Kshemavathi in the year 2008, her learning experience under her teacher gave her the confidence to once again start performing. In the following years she gave performance in prestigious stages and well known temples, she wishes to continue dancing survived by her husband Jayaram and her sin Kalidas and daughter Malavika.

Mohiniyattam by Aswathy Jayaram

Kathak by Vikram Iyengar & Group

Vikram Iyengar Co-founder and Artistic Director of Ranan is a dancer, choreographer, theatre director and performing arts researcher/writer based in Kolkata, India. A top grade solo artist with Doordarshan with performances across India and abroad, he is an INLAKS scholar with an MA in Performing Arts from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. He is currently co-editor of the India Theatre Forum performance e-journal, e-Rang.

Ranan Performance Collective grew out of a need to demystify Indian classical dance and make it accessible and enjoyable for larger audiences. At the Nishagandhi, Ranan will present excerpts from three very different dance productions - Vaichitra, Rangeeniyan and Shunya Se. Together, the evening will span the range and richness of Kathak showcasing pure dance, abhinaya and experimental choreography. 

Kathak by Vikram Iyengar. Photography | Sapratibha

Heartbeat (Percussion ensemble) by Dr. 'Ghatam' Karthick. S

Dr. 'Ghatam' Karthick. S is a disciple of maestros Vikku Vinayakram and Subash Chandran, Dr. Karthick is one of India's topmost percussionists. Also one of the most in-demand percussionists in the Indian film industry, he records extensively with India's top film composers like Ilayaraja, A.R.Rahman and Harris Jayaraj. An M.A, M.Phil and PhD in Sanskrit, with an M.A. in Indian Music from the University of Madras, Dr. Karthick is one of the esteemed faculty for Indian Studies at the Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music, an institution of contemporary music involving Jazz, Rock, Classical and World Music.

At the Nishagandhi, Dr. Karthick will lead his music emsemble, Heartbeat that blends Popular, Carnatic, Jazz and Folk Music. With a galaxy of musical instruments, the concert will showcase varied styles to create a medley of heavenly music. Accompanying him on the show will be artistes who have collaborated and performed all around over the world in many reputed fusion music festivals and cultural.

Dr. 'Ghatam' Karthick. Photo Courtesy | YACM

Mohiniyattam by Smitha Rajan

One of India's best and internationally acclaimed Mohiniyattam performers, Smitha Rajan is a strict traditionalist in her style, well known for the structural integrity and spiritual intensity she brings to the stage. Granddaughter of one of India's finest classical dance performers, Padmasree Kalamandalam Krishnan Nair and Mohiniyattam legend, Guru Kalamandalam Kalyanikuttiamma, Smitha holds the unique distinction of being trained by them. Well versed in Kathakali and Bharatanatyam, she actively performs all over the world in both Mohiniyattam and Kathakali. A member of numerous cultural organizations, she is also associated with many television networks in India and abroad. Smitha currently resides with her family in St Louis, USA and is the artistic director of Nrithyakshetra, St. Louis Chapter.

Mohiniyattam by Smitha Rajan. Photo Courtesy | R. Ravindran (The Hindu)

Kuchipudi by Amrita Lahiri

Amrita Lahiri started her training in Kuchipudi at Washington DC under Anuradha Nehru, a senior disciple of Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam. Later, she learnt Bharatanatyam from Leela Samson in New Delhi. She also studied under Swapnasundari and Seetha Nagajothy. Since 2006, she has been learning from Kishore Mosalikanti in Chennai. The influences of these eminent gurus are reflected in Amrita's performances around India and abroad. She is today based in Mumbai where she teaches and performs Kuchipudi. She also writes on dance and has worked professionally in arts management at prestigious institutions like the Kennedy Centre, Kalakshetra, and most recently, at the National Centre for Performing Arts as the Head of the Dance Department.

Kuchipudi by Amrita Lahiri. Photo Courtesy | The Hindu

Odissi by Sharmila Biswas

A leading dancer and choreographer in the Odissi classical dance form, Sharmila is a senior disciple of the legendary Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra. Noted for the originality in her composition, technique and stage design, Sharmila's versatility ranges from classical Odissi dance to experimental choreographic work. Honoured with the Uday Shankar Award and the prestigious Mahari Award, she has also received the Junior and subsequently the Senior Fellowship Award from the Dept. of Culture, Govt. of India and the Central Sangeet Natak Akademi. Sharmila is graded as an 'outstanding' artist by Doordarshan and the Indian Council of Cultural Relations, Govt. of India. Sharmila is the Founder Chairperson of the Odissi Vision & Movement Centre - an institution created for the promotion of Indian Dance & Music through research, training and performances.

Odissi by Sharmila Biswas. Photo Courtesy | shyamhari chakra (The Hindu)

Bharatanatyam by Urmila Sathyanarayanan

One of India's finest Bharatanatyam dancers, Urmila Sathyanarayanan has won critical acclaim for her crisp and precise footwork as well as the spontaneity and vivaciousness of her facial expressions. Blessed with a captivating stage presence, Urmila's strength lies in her ability to create vivid and aesthetic images through mime. Also an astute choreographer, she has conceptualized, choreographed and presented close to a dozen of her own original thematic productions. A disciple of the late Guru K.N. Dandayudapani Pillai and Guru K.J. Sarasa, Urmila has won several prestigious awards, including the Kalaimamani award, Nritya Choodamani Award and the National Eminence Award. An empanelled artist of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and an 'A Top' grade Artist of Doordarshan, Urmila today runs a dance school in Chennai, known for its high standards.

Bharatanatyam by Urmila Sathyanarayanan

Meditative ensemble by Pandit Ramesh Narayan

Pandit Ramesh Narayan has the unique distinction of being one of the few vocalists from Kerala to have carved a niche for himself in Hindustani music. Hailing from a family of Carnatic musicians settled at Kuthuparambu in Kerala, he had his early lessons in music from his parents. He later learnt Sitar under the tutelage of Satchidananda Phadke, a renowned disciple of Pandit Ravi Shankar. Drawn to Hindustani vocal, Pandit Ramesh Narayan earned his 'Visharad' from the Akhil Bharatiya Gandharva Mahavidyalaya. Later, his talent and technique were honed by none other than the legendary Pandit Jasraj.

At the Nishagandhi, Pandit Ramesh Narayan along with other renowned musicians will present 'Meditative Ensemble', a newly launched musical production exclusively designed for the Festival. A blend of pure Indian music combining instrumental music and vocals as well as Carnatic and Hindustani, it will be a unique musical journey.

Meditative ensemble by Pandit Ramesh Narayan

Styles Amalgamated by K. Krishnakumar & Binni Krishnakumar

K. Krishnakumar & Binni Krishnakumar Gifted are the musician couple K. Krishnakumar and Binni Krishnakumar who traverse musically from the traditional South Indian Classical to the popular filmi music. They have widely traveled in India and abroad to perform solo, duo vocal Carnatic concerts and theme-oriented special concerts. They are the disciples of the doyen of Indian Classical music, Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna. The duo presents traditional music in a very trendy and scintillating style.

Conceived by Trivandrum K. Krishnakumar, the specially conceived fusion concert at Nishagandhi will an amalgamation of different styles of music of India musically backed with a global touch. The concert will feature musical pieces highlighting the different genres and combining them to a memorable amalgamation. The ten-artist fusion musical show will feature various musical pieces - The Beginning - Music, The Flower - Song Evolution, The Song and Rhythm, The Rustic and The unison.

Trivandrum K Krishnakumar & Binny Krishnakumar

Odissi by Aloka Kanungo

A disciple of Padmabibhushana Sri Kelucharan Mohapatra, Aloka Kanungo is a rare combination of dancer, choreographer, teacher and scholar. Lauded for her fusion works with Manipuri (Maha Raas), Kathak (Shiva Shakti) and Rabindra Sangeet (Barshar Gaan & Bhanu Singher Padyabali), she is also known for her work on the ancient and almost extinct dance forms in group choreographies like Sthapatya Satya, Gaatagata and Mahavidya. She has also worked with physically challenged and under privileged children in a project called Kautuk - a children soiree. A recipient of many prestigious awards and honours, the Orissa Sangeet Natak Academy Award, Mahari award from Pankajcharan Das Odissi Research Foundation, Udayashankar Award etc., Aloka today heads the Shinjan Nrityalaya in Calcutta.

Odissi by Aloka Kanungo. Photo Courtesy | The Hindu

Ghazal by Padmashree Penaz Masani

Padmashree Penaz Masani The uncrowned queen of ghazals, Padmashree Penaz Masani has carved a niche for herself in the world of Indian music. With her charming looks, glorious voice and impeccable Urdu diction, she has won the heart of millions across the world. Discovered by the legendary composer Jaidev during a singing contest, she was guided by her guru, the famous Ghazal exponent Madhu Rani. Penaz cut her first album in 1981 and has the distinction of having one Platinum and three Gold Discs to her name. She has sung in over dozen languages and has performed extensively at concerts across the world. Perhaps the only women to have achieved an eminent status in the traditionally male - dominated world of Ghazals, Penaz has received numerous state and national awards during her illustrious career - including the Debut Award for the best child singer in 1976, the Vasant Desai Swar Prathistha Award in 1977 and the S D Burman Trophy for the most promising classical singer in 1978. The nation honoured her with the Padmashree in 2009.

Ghazal by Padmashree Penaz Masani

Kuchipudi by Manju Warrier

The popular Malayalam actress Manju Warrier who was in oblivion for quite a long time made a comeback to the dancing world last October where she performed in Guruvayur. She is all set to hog the limelight on Jan 26th at Nishagandhi. This year's Nishagandhi festival will have proper culmination with Manju Warrier performing on the final day. It seems we could see her in many such stages going forward. This is the biggest stage for her since her comeback. Since a popular heroine is performing after a hiatus the event is sure to garner a lot of media attention too. The stage is set to witness the Kuchipudi performance by Manju Warrier on Jan 26th. 

Kuchipudi performance by Manju Warrier. Photo courtesy | Basheer Pattambi

Program Schedule

Nishagandhi Festival 2013 Program schedule

Kathakali Mela schedule (Daily @ 6pm)

Nishagandhi Kathakali Festival

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