BHUBANESWAR: Filled with colour and grace, Guru Pankaj Utsav began at Rabindra Mandap on Saturday.
An annual event to mark the birth anniversary of late Guru Pankaj Charan Das, the festival was inaugurated by Tourism and Culture Secretary Ashok Tripathy.
Continuing with the tradition of encouraging solo artistes as per the wishes of the late maestro, the inaugural event featured Kalyani Sahu, Pompi Paul, Khyanaprava, Swapna Rani Sinha and Niladri Mohanty.
As a part of the festival, Niranjan Patra, K Ramarao Patra, Meenakshi Behera and Arati Mishra were felicitated with the titles of ‘Madeli, ‘Binakara’, ‘Nachuni Samprada’ and ‘Gauni Samprada’ for their contribution to the field of Odissi mardala, Odissi music composition and direction, Odissi dance and singing respectively.
On the last day of the three-day festival, the 18th Mahari award will be conferred on Bhubaneswar-based Odissi dancer Minati Pradhan by Governor M C Bhandare. The award, instituted by Guru Pankaj Charan Odissi Research Foundation, carries ` 25,000 in cash, a memento and a citation.
On the occasion, foundation secretary and the late Guru’s son Sarat Das said the award was named and instituted by his father to honour a dancer of high calibre every year who is dedicated to dance like the divine dancers of the Jagannath temple known as Maharis (the devdasis). An 11-member jury comprising dancers, musicians and mediapersons selected Minati for the award.
Some of the past awardees include Sujata Mohapatra, Aruna Mohanty, Aloka Kanungo, Jhelum Paranjpe, Sangeeta Dash, Bijayini Satpathy, Meera Das, Leena Mohanty and Kavita Dwivedi.
Veteran Odissi danseuse Minati Mishra, NALCO CMD B L bagra and regional director of ICCR Meenakshi Mishra were present, among others.
The remaining two days will see performances by Guru Braja Kishore Mallick, Mamata Satpathy, Dhara Gandhu Dutta, Nayana Patel, Lopamudra Jena, Moumita Ghosh, Madhilita Mohapatra, Manaswini Mohanty, Kaustavi Sarkar, Guru Gobind Chandra Pal besides the Mahari awardees.