``I FEEL as though I am dancing in a temple when I perform here," said the Kathak maestro, Birju Maharaj, with utmost warmth and humility, at the commencement of his recital, which was sheer poetry visualised. An emotionally charged Birju recalled fondly his long association with Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, as he started his performance at this venue, with varieties of rhythmical display, and Dhaat interspersed with interpretative aspects. It was a great joy to listen to his Bhols, watch his dance narration, and his firm adherence to the traditional path. His way of rendering each item in order is always joy mixed with education a process of learning ``his infinite variety" every time.
One is reminded of the quote ``Kshane Kshane Yannavataam upaiti" that which assumes a new, fresh look every second, and leaves the rasika in wonder at that aspect of quality which subscribes to the greatness of this veteran's art. Particularly his abhinaya is ever inspiring and mystifying.
In interpreting a Tumri (Jaane do), composed by his grand father, the veteran excelled in portraying the child Krishna, preventing the mother Yasoda from leaving Him. Birju transformed into the divine child at one moment and at another, he moved over in a subtle manner to become the affectionate mother; similarly, in dancing a pure abhinaya number without any lyrical content, except to the instrumental support, Birju Maharaj displayed marvellous skill by enacting beautifully the encounter of Krishna stealing butter and being questioned by the Gopi. His own poem on the envious Radha who takes away the divine Flute of her Lord and the concluding piece on the penance of Goddess Parvati were an enchanting blend of melody, and mime, giving the audience an ecstatic experience, urging them to offer a standing ovation to this matchless exponent of Kathak.
The programme began with an invocatory number by Shaashwati Sen , senior disciple of Birju Maharaj. In between, Deepak Maharaj, son and disciple of the maestro, danced a couple of solo numbers revealing his involvement in the upkeep of the tradition his intense training as he danced effortlessly certain rigorous pieces. Also he presented a Jugal Bandi with Shaaswati in Teen Taal.
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