The Sopan Festival, organised by Sahitya Kala Parishad, department of Art and Culture, Delhi Government concluded its four-day cultural extravaganza, leaving an endless mark with a stellar lineup of performances that spanned classical, contemporary, and traditional art forms.
On Day One the festival commenced with a soul-stirring vocal performance by Ameen Khan, setting the stage for a mesmerising journey. Madhyama Segal’s Odissi took centre stage, featuring captivating dance pieces, including the eloquent ‘Bageshwari Pallavi’ and the Tandava portrayal of “Jago Maheshwara” composed by Padmashri Kiran Segal. Krishna Babu’s enchanting Mohiniattam unfolded the Ramayana in Ragamalikai, accompanied by the rhythmic Thalam Roopakam. Nanda Kumar brought a contemporary twist with “TRIBO,” expressing unspoken thoughts through African dance. The day concluded with Shivani Pandey’s theatrical brilliance in ‘Jayaz-Guftgu,’ that delves into love’s evolution, blending personal growth with the intricate nuances of love. Her reinterpretation of the Ramayana through Sita’s eyes adds depth, offering a thought-provoking, memorable experience.
The second day featured Suraj’s spellbinding vocal rendition, followed by Sani Niyazi’s tabla performance. Abhishek Khichi’s expressive Kathak ensemble unfolded with a Surdas pada in Rupak Taal, revealing depth through intricate footwork and expressive storytelling. Akshar Tekchandani’s enchanting Kathak commenced with a Panchbhoot Shlok from the Rigveda and expertly showcased Kathak’s technical aspects in Teen Taal, vividly portraying the Kevat Prasang from the Ramayana in Abhinaya Paksh. The day reached a climax with Govind Mahato’s Chhau dance captivating the audience with a distinct taste of traditional and contemporary art forms.
Rekha Pandey’s Hindustani classical vocal performance highlighted day three, featuring Raag Shree and a mesmerising Bandishi thumri. Tushar Goyal’s tabla ensemble was presented a 16-beat taal, Teentaal. He began the performance with vilambit laya, progressing through peshkaar, kaidas, and relas. The performance culminated with captivating compositions like tukdas and chakkardaars. Pragati Pandey, a Sahitya Kala Parishad vocal scholar, enchanted the audience with Raag Yaman, skillfully weaving alaap and taans, and ended with a mesmerising Tarana. Later, Partha Mandal’s Kathak commenced with “Kasturi Tilakam” in Raag Bhupali, followed by traditional dance in Taal Teental. The performance concluded with a beautiful dadra written by Pandit Bindadin Maharaj. Devikaa Rajaraman’s Bharatnatyam added grace, starting with the Mallari and seamlessly transitioning into Meera Bhajan, “Basso More Nainan Me.” The mesmerising tillana, set to Ragam Ragasree in Adi talam, paid homage to Lord Siva, captivating the audience with spiritual resonance. The day reached its climax with Kuleshwar Kumar Thakur’s Chhau dance piece.
On Day Four Moni Jha’s enthralling performance featured Raag Bhopali and Raag Yaman, concluding with Raag Darbari Kanada. Following, Vivek Bhola presented Raag Multani and a bhajan. This was followed by T. Reddi Lakshmi’s Kuchipudi presentation and then Meera S. Unnithan’s Bharatnatyam, where she showcased Bharatnatyam, featuring two captivating pieces. The performance commenced with “Tiruvempavai Koutvam” in Ragam Ragamalika and Adi Talam, portraying a maiden urging her friends to wake up and visit the temple for darshanam of Lord Ardhanareeshwara. The second piece, a Thumri (“Mai toh nahi jaoon”) in Ragam Behag and Adi Talam, depicted Little Krishna’s excuses to avoid the riverbanks. Choreographed by Guru Smt. Rama Vaidyanathan, the act masterfully captured the essence of devotion and storytelling.
The evening continued with Ashmita Mishra’s Kathak. In her presentation, she first presented Shri Ram Stuti, then the technical aspect in Taal Ashtamangal, and concluded her presentation with a dance performance on Kaisi Niksi Chandni in Raga Bahar, composed by Pandit Vijayshankar Mishra. A powerful theatre act by Amarjee Rai marked a fitting end to the festival.