on Wednesday and Thursday, August 9th and 10th, 2023 at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi
For a world that is enslaved by political and technological dynamism, music, art and culture come as breath of fresh air that upholds its identity and helps every soul find anchorage. Utsav Educational and Cultural Society does exactly that by being torchbearers of Indian cultural heritage for 35 years now. Under the wing of its founder Smt. Ranjana Gauhar – Padmashree and Sangeet Natak Academy Awardee, Utsav Came forward to herald the momentous occasion of Indian Independence Day on Wednesday and Thursday, August 9th and 10th, 2023 at Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi with the 18th presentation of their flagship production – “Saare Jahan se Achchha.”
The production commemorates India’s struggle for freedom in the form of Musical Dance Drama “Khud Mein Kabir, Kabir Mein Hum” and dance forms – Odissi and Mohiniyattam performed by seasoned and established artists. Spread over two days the festival paid tribute to the martyrs and achievers of the nation in its own unique language.
Programme on the of Wednesday, August 9th, 2023 featured Utsav’s Repertory and Guru Ranjana Gauhar bringing out the philosophy of Sant Kabir in a Musical Dance Drama “Khud Mein Kabir, Kabir Mein Hum”. The performance was choreographed and directed by Ranjana ji herself and embellished with melodies composed by Shri Saroj Mohanty.
Second day, Thursday, August 10th, 2023 of Indian Independence Day celebrations witnessed fluidity personified in the form of Odissi Dancer Vinod Kevin Bachan (Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puruskar) disciple of Guru Ranjana Gauhar in the first act. The former converged into another feminine and delicate performance by Jayaprabha Menon (Kerala Sangeet Natak Akademi Awardee) and disciples through Mohiniyattam finally breaking into a suave presentation of Odissi by Gurus Ashok and Bandita Goshal and disciples (Bhubaneswar).
Enthralled for having showcased a magnificent spectacle for Delhi folks for the 18th time, Smt. Ranjana Gauhar remarked, “I consider myself as a custodian of the Indian Arts and Cultural realm. For 35 years, through Utsav we have organized major annual dance festivals such as Unbound Beats of India which unleashes new horizons for upcoming and outstanding dancers; Su- Tarang which celebrates young dancers and the World Dance Day that is absolutely free-spirited and allows one to express themselves uninhibited! Through Saare Jahan Se Achchha we offer a platform where senior and established dancers of the country pay tribute to real heroes of the nation. Talented artists in Indian and abroad from different genres of Indian classical dance perform at these festivals at Delhi’s most popular cultural hubs to a discerning audience and rasikas. It satisfies me that we have been very well received by viewers through generations and am hopeful that in our small ways we will help the legacy of Indian Heritage stay alive for centuries to come.”
About Smt. Ranjana Gauhar:
Smt. Ranjana Gauhar, who has trained under the legendary Guru Mayadhar Rauthad, took Philosophy Honours for her graduation followed by a master’s degree in English Literature. Her education and creative skills saw her rise in name and fame in her pursuit of art at a pace few can match. Her talent in blending the traditional with the contemporary, her imagery, which is both innovative and individualistic, has made Ranjana all the more appealing to the audience at home and abroad.
Gaiety, grace and strength are the hallmarks of Ranjana’s performances, compelling the spell-bound audiences to describe her recital as an experience in a sublime spiritual odyssey. Ranjanaji has travelled with her art of Odissi dance across the length and breadth of the country. She has participated in prestigious dance festivals including Khajuraho Festival, Kalidas Festival in Ujjain and Smt. Rukmini Devi Arundale Centenary Festival at Kalakshetra. This cultural ambassador of India has performed at the Festival of India, Queen Elizabeth Royal Festival Hall, The Royal Hall of Plymouth, the Commonwealth Institute, Oxford University, Midlands Arts Centre, Birmingham, Dahlem Museum, Berlin, West Germany besides having performed in other cities in Germany, Italy, France, Greece, Serbia, Cyprus, Kuwait, Switzerland, Tunisia, Yugoslavia, Japan, Holland, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Croatia and Latin American Countries like Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, and Mexico. In Mexico, Ranjana represented India at the Cervantino Festival. She has also exposed the beauty of Odissi dance to audiences in Cambodia, Bhutan, Vietnam and Sri Lanka, the continent of Africa, Mauritius and Egypt. Recently she alongside with her troupe has performed in Spain, Argentina as well as the Dominican Republic. She has given solo and group recitals in some of these Festivals.
She is also actively involved in creating awareness through presenting lec-dems in rural and semi-rural regions of the country. Ranjana ji is the Founder-President and moving spirit behind the non-governmental organization ‘Utsav Educational and Cultural Society – Ranjana’s Odissi Dance Academy’ started by her in 1987 where she uses her experience and commitment to the teaching of Odissi dance and music in the Guru Shishya Parampara.