Thank you so much for your support, it means a lot to us. I am writing on behalf of Sahaj Padma, a collaboration of young classical dancers and musicians from all across India who have come up with our first mega production "Uttarayan", which was met with a grand success.
Uttarayan was staged in:
This the brief of Uttarayan, which we would like to humbly present you:
Uttarayan is a dream project made possible by the collaborative efforts of young dancers and musicians from all across India, facilitated by a team of creative cultural entrepreneurs, and alumni of the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur. Uttarayan is being jointly organised by Sahaj Padma, in collaboration with the registered institution Rathnakala Padmakuteera Trust from Hassan, Karnataka.
Uttarayan is one story told through three different tales from Greek, Egyptian and Indian mythologies; rendered in Indian classical dance styles Odissi, Kathak, Bharathanatyam, contemporary dance & performing Yoga; and woven together in original pantheistic English poetry.
Uttarayan, an original play has been written and directed by Mirajur Rahman.
Debasish Pattnaik, as Vishesh, the jester in Odissi
Anuj Mishra, as Pan in Kathak
Rashmi rekha Das, as Syrinx in Odissi
Vidhwan Unnath Jain, as Anubis in Bharathanatyam
Monojit Saha, as Horus in Bharathanatyam
Shashwati Garai Ghosh, as Isis and Aditi in Odissi
Lingaraj Pradhan, as Surya, in Odissi
Suman Saha, as Mir Ustad, the narrator, in contemporary
The music direction was by Rohan Dasgupta, young sitar phenomenon
The script is by Hardika Dayalani
The visual designs by Soham De (concept: Mirajur Rahman)
The costumes by Minakshi Chandra (design: Mirajur Rahman & Soham De)
The sets by Ayan Das & Arup Das (execution: Mirajur Rahman)
Uttarayan received a standing ovation to an erudite audience who had gathered on the inaugural of International Conference on Indian Aesthetics on 25th February, 2010 at IIT Kharagpur.
Finally Uttarayan was staged in New Delhi on the festive eve of Holi on 28th February, 2010.Inaugurated by renowned Kathak maestro Pt. Arjun Mishra as the chief guest and legendary Odissi exponent Smt. Madhavi Mudgal as the guest of honour, Uttarayan received applause and appreciation by an audience of rasikas who had mostly come from abroad to witness the show.
It is a really humbling experience for team Sahaj Padma on having tasted effusive praise and encouragement from several stalwarts in the field of performing arts. As a production, Uttarayan has received special mention relating to its overall theme, concept, visual appeal, costumes, music, integration several dance forms, characterisation and innovative use of original English poetry.
We would like to thank everybody involved with Uttarayan, especially Sri Hadesh Sobral from Brazil, for his blessings and encouragment, Smt. Shruti Naha Sen, accomplished Rabindrasangeet singer and Sri Rajdip Banerjee, noted Bharathanatyam dancer, Sri Sutanu Sen, who also coined the nomenclature "Uttarayan", Shivram Jadav and many many others for their selfless help and organisational support.
SAHAJ PADMA - A Young Initiative
" A combination of many colours, interpretations and explorations, Uttarayan depicts the salvation of the female protagonist, from her creation as music to her blossoming as a goddess ... It is a choreographic experiment to combine similar elements and emotions (both human and divine) around the world ... "
What follows is a film made on the making of Uttarayan, a 3 part series of a documentary available on you tube videos. Here is a sample:
Please listen with full audio output
The rest can be viewed at:
What is Uttarayan – The Ascent ?
“ Uttarayan, is but a combination of many colours, interpretations and explorations:
- Uttarayan is the journey of the sun in the northern horizon
- Uttarayan is metaphoric to the ascent of the human spirit from the mortal to the divine.
- Uttarayan is a quest for the attainment of the ulterior realm of perfection,
- Uttarayan is also striving for accomplishing the ultimate consummation or Moksha.”
- In Sahaj Padma's recent production Uttarayan – the Ascent, the story depicts the salvation of the female protagonist, right from her creation as music, her youth, pride and valour, her realisation of herself , her subsequent self-mortification and remorse, and finally her “uddhara” or sublime deliverance by the Sun-god and her blossoming into a goddess.
- Uttarayan is a choreographic experiment to combine similar elements and emotions (both human and divine) around the world, using excerpts and legends from three distinct classical mythologies: Greek (Hellenic), Egyptian and Indian (Hindu). This would artistically be depicted in three Indian Classical Dance styles: Odissi, Kathak and Bharathanatya woven together in Greek drama format.
About the production
When it came to formalising the organisational aspects, it became imperative to resort to a banner. One among the many dancers, Vidhwan Unnath stepped in and offered his institution “Natyakala Nivas”, as the organising society for the non-commercial production “Uttarayan”. Apart from the dancers, a musician who is also a young sitar player, an architect who doubled up as the graphic/ set designer, an engineering student who harbours interest in amateur theatre and a senior dancer who came to aid with her expertise in music and apparel design have joined hands, to help the creative enterprise floated by Mirajur. They have named it “Sahaj Padma” – or the Humble Lotus. Largely a young intiative, young in heart, thought and dream, Sahaj Padma’s first venture is the classical dance drama Uttarayan being done under the banner of Natyakala Nivas.
In 3rd January, 2009, Mirajur along with his classical dancer friends, Unnath and Sourav, had organised "Ekalavya" - a one day long classical dance festival celebrating the Guru-Shishya traditions in Indian classical dance.
A short film was specially made for the occassion, which was screened as a curtain raiser before the actual event. The film talked of the love for Indian arts and devotion to dance and the lords of dance. This film was done as a prelude to the classical dance festival Ekalavya, held in Bhubaneshwar on 3rd January 2009. Scripted, edited, photographed and directed by Mirajur Rahman, the film features the participants, Rashmirekha Das, Saswat Joshi, Leena Nanda, Minati Pradhan (Odissi), Unnath Jain (Bharathanatyam) and Sourav Roy (Kathak). The film is a tribute to the gurus Ileana Citaristi and Sharmila Biswas, both doyens of Odissi Dance and are featured in later part.
Reviews on Ekalavya:
“The mythical character of Ekalavya from The Mahabharat inspired three young male dancers to launch an annual classical dance festival to pay respect to their respective gurus. … The three male dancers came together on stage, to mark the auspicious beginning of their annual homage to their gurus. It was followed by their individual solo recitals.”
– The Hindu, Friday, Jan 30, 2009
“As the curtains went up, the trio came together on stage dancing to the chanting of the popular sloka Guru Bramha Guru Vishnu Guru Dev Maheshwar, to mark the auspicious beginning of their annual homage to their Gurus. Ekalavya represents a devoted disciple and this festival will not only honour the gurus but also feature young dancers who are devoted to dance as a career.”
– The India Express, Correspondent: Shyamahari Chakra, Jan 09, 2009
In less than a month’s time, the group decided to do something bigger, something more challenging and thus was born “Uttarayan” – the second fruit of the young group of dancers.
Uttarayan has been envisaged as a theme based dance drama with innovation in format, technique and presentation.
The format is envisaged to be enacted in two parallel genres:
1. The Folk Revue and Vaudeville format for the narratives
2. The Classical Greek Drama format for three theatrical scenes.
The Narrator and Jester enthrall the audience with their “petty wisdom” and jokes. Both try to out do each other in trying to impress the spectators with their “knowledge” of the mythologies across the world. Finally they enter into a scuffle and to “prove their might” start confusing with the stories across various continents. Out of this “fight” emerges a tableau, a conglomeration of stories to join into one, the basic link being the interconnection within the elements of nature, like nature and love, love and music, good and bad, earth and sun, mother and son. The Narrator begins his story:
ACT I Scene 1 (Greek Mythology)
The Celestial Intercourse of the Greek God Pan and the nymph Syrinx, virgin priestess of Goddess Artemis, gives birth to Music. Inspired by "A Musical Instrument" by the English pantheistic poetess Elizabeth Barrett Browning:
"What was he doing, the great god Pan,
Down in the reeds by the river?
Spreading ruin and scattering ban,
Splashing and paddling with hoofs of a goat,
And breaking the golden lilies afloat
With the dragon-fly on the river.
Sweet, sweet, sweet, O Pan!
Piercing sweet by the river!
Blinding sweet, O great god Pan!
The sun on the hill forgot to die,
And the lilies revived, and the dragon-fly
Came back to dream on the river.
Yet half a beast is the great god Pan,
To laugh as he sits by the river,
Making a poet out of a man:
The true gods sigh for the cost and pain, --
For the reed which grows nevermore again
As a reed with the reeds in the river."
ACT 1 Scene 2 (Egyptian Mythology)
Inspired from the depictions of motherly love between Isis, the Mother Goddess and Horus, the Sun-god. This leads to climax where, Anubis, the venerable God of the dark-realms vanquishes his half brother Horus.
ACT 1 Scene 3 (Indian Mythology)
Inspired by the Sun, Aditya, who continues to everlastingly smile and gleam high in the horizon, sustaining life and everything beautiful on earth. The episode of Aditi's salvation by Aditya culminates in an epilogue: A catharsis of all human emotions and the transcendence from the mortal to the divine.
Sutradhar (Vocal): Mirajur Rahman - Kolkata, Arjun Mukerji - Jamshedpur
Kathakaar/ Narrator/ Sutradhar 1: Angeekam Abhinaya (Suman Saha) - Kolkata
Vidushak/ Jester/ Sutradhar 2: Odissi Male 1 (Debasish Pattnaik) - Rourkela
Scene I: Greek
Pan: Kathak Male (Anuj Mishra) - Lucknow
Syrinx: Odissi Female 1 (Rashmirekha Das) - Bhubaneswar
Vita/ Life/Music/Prana: Odissi Female 2 (Shashwati Garai Ghosh) - Kolkata
Scene 2: Egyptian
Isis: Odissi Female 2 (Shashwati Garai Ghosh) - Kolkata
Anubis: Bharathanatya Male 1 (Unnath Jain) - Hassan
Horus: Bharathanatya Male 2 (Monojit Saha) - Kolkata
Scene 3: Indian
Aditi: Odissi Female 2 (Shashwati Gorai Ghosh) - Kolkata
Surya/ Aditya: Odissi Male 2 (Lingaraj Pradhan) - Bhubaneswar
Vidhwan Unnath H.R., Bangalore
Unnath is a young and accomplished Bharathanatya Dancer. He has been among the first collaborators with Mirajur to realise a common dream, Ekalavya dance festival and now, Uttarayan. Having studied dance under Smt. Vidushi Ambale Rajeshwari, for 19 years, today Unnath runs his own institution, “Natyakala Nivas” in Karnataka. He has extensively toured many European nations (Russia, Beleraus, Austria, etc.) with his dance performances and workshops.
Suman Saha, Kolkata.
Suman is an accomplished actor having an association with theatre for over a decade. An emerging name in the world of dancing, Suman has begun exploring newer idioms and body movements that thin the divide between formal dance and drama. Having learnt aerial acrobatics under, Deb Kr. Paul, mime artiste and guru, Suman brings to the table, apart from his theatrical sensibilities, the freshness associated with contemporary dance moves and rythmic explorations of performing yoga, which he calls Angeekam Abhinaya. Presently with Padatik, an esteemed dance institute, Suman has already performed leads in several creative dance ballets like E-Mo-Ko based on Japanese ZEN movements and philosphy. He is a talent with multi-facted attributes and a name to watch out for.
Debasish Pattnaik, Rourkela.
Debasish is among the rare young male dancers trained in Debaprasad Das style of Odissi. He has been learning since the last 17 years under Guru Durgacharan Ranabir and is himself a senior scholarship awardee from the Ministry of Culture, India. Debasish has performed in several South East Asian countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, etc. A high point is his career has been Shringar Mani Award awarded by President of India, Mrs. Prativa Patil.
Anuj Mishra, Lucknow.
Anuj Mishra belongs to the famous traditional family of musicians, gharana of Benaras. Initiated into Kathak by his father, famous Kathak dancer, Pt. Arjun Mishra, Anuj has been dancing since the age of four. Anuj has received vocal training from maestros in Hindoosthani classical music and has also perfected his nuances from legendary dancers like Mallika Sarabhai, Kumudini Lakhia, etc. Anuj has extensively toured the world (USA, Europe) with his mesmerizing Kathak and neo-contemporary choreographic performances.
Monojit Saha, Kolkata.
Monojit Saha is a student of Guru Smt. Anita Mallick. Having started dance at an early age and still learning under the tutelage of his Guru, Monojit has been acclaimed at many festivals both home and abroad for his laudable performances. Monojit has traveled to USA and Canada and charmed audiences with his subtle and delicate renditions in the Bharathanatya idiom. Monojit has won numerous awards and accolades for his dancing and is one of the promising young artistes of the future.
Shashwati Garai Ghosh, Kolkata.
A student of Guru Sharmila Biswas and a prominent repertory member of Odissi Vision and Movement, Shashwati has graduated in dance from Rabindra Bharati University. A gifted dancer with a rare taste for the visual and elementary aesthetics of dance and drama, Shashwati is known for her completeness and innovation she brings to her dancing. Shashwati is keenly interested in research in dance involving elements of sculpture, temple architecture and fine arts. She has traveled extensively with her dance, and regaled art-enthusiasts and critics alike in USA, Malaysia and several South East Asian countries.
Rashmi Rekha Das, Bhubaneswar.
Rashmi is a young and gifted Odissi Dancer who has also previously danced in Ekalavya dance festival and now is an integral part of Uttarayan. Having started dancing at the tender age of 12, Rashmi had the rare opportunity of learning Odissi under the legendary Guru, Padmavibhushan Kelucharan Mohapatra. She has imbibed the nuances of Odissi from Smt. Sujata Mohapatra. Rashmi is also an excellent teacher herself and runs her own institution “Swarnachal Sanskritik Anusthan”.
Lingaraj Pradhan, Bhubaneswar.
Lingaraj started his training at the age of 15 , at Orissa Dance Academy under Guru Bichitrananda Swain with the direct supervision of Guru Sri Gangadhar Pradhan. A venerable name reckoned among the best young Indian dancers, today Lingaraj is also known for his excellent choreography in the Odissi idiom. A senior dancer with the "Rudraksha" Dance Company in Bhubaneswar, Lingaraj has worked as visiting faculty at Chitralekha Dance Company, Toronto, Canada, has toured several cities of USA and France and attended numerous dance festivals across India.
Mirajur Rahman, Kolkata
A trained architect & a corporate consultant by profession, Mirajur has always harboured a keen interest in art, design and dance. After post-graduating from IIT Kharagpur, Mirajur decided to have a parallel life apart from his professional career and since then has been foraying into the realms of classical dance, organising/ conceptualising festivals and shows. Mirajur has been trained in Odissi under Guru Shramila Biswas.
Mirajur has conceptualised the theme and story of Uttarayan, got together the cast, is the overall creative design head and organiser of the production. Mirajur, has floated the non-commercial young initiative, Sahaj Padma - The Humble Lotus.
Mirajur, the director, speaks:
“What compels me into trying to continue rapport with DANCE, apart from its endearing and warm presence, is the fact that even though one might have trained in different styles, mastered many a genre, traveled the entire world with myriad productions, yet he who might express mastery over the wonderful medium, stops by again to drink nectar from the same well of DANCE and continues to be bemused by the vastness of the medium, the bewilderment it throws; for a zillion times, DANCE hurls newer images of awe and wonder to the beholder.
Every time I look at DANCE, I am amazed at the immense variety of colours it hides in itself. Every time I discover one colour, I thirst for finding out the next. However, reality has been cruel. Although I have endured patience in training under my Guru, I have succumbed to professional commitments and failed to become a DANCER. Often I have thought: How do I continue to live dance even though I cannot possibly continue as a dancer?
Somehow I have tugged at the chords, continued my love affair with the soul and breath of my life. I have traveled extensively in pursuit of DANCE, in search of my questions. I have traversed Bangalore to see Protima Bedi's Nrityagram, Puri to watch Guru Gangadhar Pradhan's Konark Natya Mandap, Delhi to behold Madhavi Mudgal's Gandharva Maha Vidyalaya, and Sambalpur, West Orissa for the folk origins; I have sojourned and persevered. And in the process, I have suffered both ridicule and pain.
Since I am working now, my current job doesn't allow time for a fully disciplined routine dedicated to DANCE. But I am not letting go. Today, dancing to me is all about loving and believing in the magic-world it has to offer. I didn't allow the dancer die in me, that is something I could not afford. I have realized the essence of being around DANCE if not into it. I have moulded my hindrances into positive spirit. One of my recent endeavours has been organizing a day long classical dance festival held at Rabindra Natya Mandap, EKALAVYA and today the phoenix has risen again, with a recent offering, project UTTARAYAN.
Today when I embark upon my dream project, I want everyone who matters to be with me, especially the youth. We have a small team, with us, which you can see below.
But join us as well, will you?”
The TEAM RED:
Rohan Dasgupta, Kolkata
A young and budding sitar player, Rohan has learnt music under Pt.Harishankar Bhattacharya for 15 years. He is also training occasionally under Padma Bhusan Ustad Abdul Halim Zafar Khan. Rohan has toured European countries (
Rohan has composed the music for the project Uttarayan, combining traditional elements of Hindoosthani, Carnatic and Odissi classical music.
Meenakshi Chanda, Kolkata
Meenakshi is a senior Odissi dancer and a repertory member of Odissi Vision and Movement, a classical dance institution of Guru Sharmila Biswas. Meenakshi has extended her creative horizons to the fields of music and visual design. A gifted dancer and a good teacher herself, Meenakshi has been experimenting with costume and jewellery design. She completes her abilities as a dancer by playing various percussions and designing apparel for various productions.
Meenakshi, as a senior dancer, has been of immense support and has perfected the nuances in music for Uttarayan with her expertise, lent vocal support and helped with the apparel design.
Hardika Dayalani, Porbandar
A student of naval architecture from IIT Kharagpur, Hardika harbours an interest in amateur theatre, including script writing, direction, acting, third form choreography. Having been trained in folk dance (Rajasthani & Gujarati), Hardika loves to fuse elements of dance in drama.
Hardika is a strong support to the group of young dancers and has written the script and screenplay for the production, Uttarayan.
Soham De, Kolkata
An architect by profession, Soham has been introduced to classical dancing since his young days, his mother being a Bharathanatya dancer of repute. Soham has always been in an environment of music, design, and dance that has honed his creative talents into an appreciation, love and affinity for multiple art forms. Today, he is venturing into newer horizons of visual design, fine arts, graphic art, and conceptualizing urban and architectural design.
Soham has designed the brochure, poster, and setup for the production. He is the visual artist and graphic designer for Uttarayan.
Nirmalya Sengupta, Delhi
A mechanical engineer from Indian Insititute of Technology, Kharagpur, Nirmalya, fondly called Poma, has had a friendly bond with Mirajur during their days at college. Once the General Secretary for Cultural Affairs and a important member of the Student Committee during his college days, Nirmalya has always harboured an interest in theatre, doing plays and lighting design for the Bengali theatre group in college. Now an enterpreneur himself, and founder-director of AssayData, providing solutions in Analytics and Retail Consultancy, Nirmalya would like to continue his love for drama, music and painting. Nirmalya is trained in instrumental classical music rendered on the Hawaiian guitar.
Nirmalya is now heart and soul in formalising Sahaj Padma to a registered movement and is aiming at popularising it among youth. He is helping with the sposnsorship for the production, Uttarayan.
Dorcilio Sobral, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Fondly called Hadesh and a very dear friend of Mirajur, Sobral is a Director with one of the reputed international child care organisations in
Hadesh is a big cudgel of support for the entire group and has himself coined the term “Sahaj Padma” for the young initiative. Hadesh brings to the table, the humble appreciation, patronage and encouragement which is essential for sustaining the project Uttarayan.
We also have support from senior international dancers, Padmashri Smt. Ileana Citaristi, renowned Odissi Dancer, Shri Ramli Ibrahim, legendary Malaysian Odissi Dancer, Smt. Madhavi Mudgal, renowned Odissi Dancer, and my Guru Sharmila Biswas.
Recent Happenings :- Project "Uttarayan, the Ascent", the birth of a dream
Thank you so much for the wonderful words of encouragement which keep popping into my mail box, relating to Uttarayan. This calls for my duty to keep you posted on its recent happenings.
The brochure design is by Soham who has done a great job. Please find them below:
Rohan, our young sitar player, has composed and fused various genres of music. Thanks to Bijoy sir for volunteering with the Odissi percussion. Thank you Minakshi Di for your guidance.
Special thanks to our friend from Brazil, Hadesh and his mother, for initialising the process of patronising our project. Thank you Hadesh and Marcia for organising the fund-raising dinner in Belo Horizonte on 12th Spetmeber, 2009 & on 14th Novemeber, 2009. Thank you so much dearest Hadesh and his mother for being such benevolent patron-souls. We are indeed very grateful to you for such a humble and generous gesture. Thank you, members of the audience for helping contribute to the cause of Uttarayan and Indian arts.
Many thanks to Shyamahari Ji, media correspondent and art-connoisseur, for supporting our cause.
A big thank you to all joinees to our blog and a warm welcome to all of you.
Thank you Sutanu, Ratul, Sanando & Souvik my graduation day pals, for being our eyes and ears in Delhi . Thanks to Ayan and Arup for the help with set design. A big thank you Arjun Da for being there again and this time as a tremendous support with your voice, narration and such important suggestions.
Thank you Shishir, Anuj, Bharath, Shiva, Sudarshan and Vishal, my friends from IIT Kharagpur for your help and suggestions. A very special thanks to Arupananda for his creative inputs in the script and rendering poetry in the dialogues.
Thanks Uttiya Da for the lights. Thank you my friend, Anirban Basu for the photoshoot and wonderful photography.
Thank you Aritra, Arijit, Debanjan, Saptarshi, Sayak, my school-friends for your spirits.
Thank you Sayani, Rajdip, Emelee, all dancers from Uttarpara your enthusiastic publicity.
Thank you Shruti for lending us your mellifluous voice.
Above all thanks to my Mom and Urmi for always being there.
I would be failing in my friendship if I do not mention the genuine responses for the help that we have received. We feel humbled by your benevolent gestures. Thank you, sincerely all of you.
Our group is growing now. With your help, we will definitely make a difference!
Flute: Jabahar Misra, Orissa
Sarod: Debanjan Bhattacharjee
Sarangi: Debasish Halder
Manjira: Manoranjan Mohanty, Orissa
Violin: Ramesh Chandra Das
Tabla & Pakhawaj: Sandip Ghosh
Mardala & Khol: Bijoy Barik, Orissa
Mridangam 1 & 2: N. Shankar
Narration 1: Arjun Mukerji
Narration 2: Mirajur Rahman
Singing: Riju Dasgupta
Kathak Parans: Anuj Mishra
Tabla Bols: Sandip Ghosh
Bharatnatyam Bols: N. Shankar
Odissi Bols: Bijoy Barik, Orissa
Additional Vocals: Rohan Dasgupta
Inputs on Dance Music: Meenakshi Chandra
Thank you all for being a part of our endeavour. We look up to you for blessings, support and guidance. Especially thanks to Dr. Joy Sen, Professor, Department of Architecture and Planning, IIT Kharagpur, for giving us a wonderful opportunity worth a lifetime. Thank you Joy Da.
Creative Designer & Director,
Principal & Director, Bharathanatyam Dancer,
Rathnakala Padmakuteera Trust
“Sahaj Padma” – the young initiative
A big thank you to all of you.
and to the Almighty
in whom do we trust ...