Bringing colours on stage

Bringing colours on stage


Kathak recital choreographed by Guru Jai Kishan Maharaj marks the onset of Holi.

Playful union : Dancers dress as Krishna and Radha during the Kathak recital.

The festival of colours is already making a splash. To mark the celebration of Holi, a Kathak performance ‘Hori Dhoom Machao Ri’ was staged at India Habitat Centre recently.

Choreographed by Guru Jai Kishan Maharaj, son of Kathak maestro Pandit Birju Maharaj, the recital was an excerpt from a dance drama in which Lord Krishna plays Holi with Radha and gopis in a village.

The ambience turned colourful as the act began with the performers sprinkling flower petals on the audience, marking the beginning of the recital. The sprinkling of flowers along with the magical sound of duff filled the hall with shouts of joy, associated with Holi.

The composition was originally created in the 60s by Pandit Birju Maharaj. His son, a guru with Kathak Kendra, recreated it. The event was organised as culmination session of the three-day international conference on book therapy.

“‘Hori Dhoom Machao Ri’ was created 35 years ago by Pandit Birju Maharajji. Now that the festival is coming closer, we thought it would be the best performance to end the conference. So I approached Kathak Kendra to recreate the composition for us,” said Manorama Jafa, founder and secretary of Association of Writers and Illustrators for Children (AWIC), which organised the conference.

“The composition is also a very good example of how literature and stories can be performed on stage in the form of dance,” she added.

The performance by 13 dancers on the stage and eight musicians in the background depicted how Krishna’s mischievous dalliance with the gopis annoys them, but their love overpowers and they dance with him in great joy. All artistes were students of Kathak Kendra.

The act was a celebration of peace, love and humour as all these elements symbolise the festival of colours. In the middle of the act, Krishna and Radha, played by Yamika Mahesh and Namrata Mali respectively, separate from each other, and then pine for love.

In the end they meet and celebrate Holi along with the other villagers. The ballet by Kathak Kendra reached its climax when the dancers clad in colourful traditional clothes threw dry colours at each other, symbolising the spirit of the festival.

Daughter of Manorama and a kathak dancer Navina Jafa, who compered the event, said the performance and its relevance can never get old because of its theme and the emotions it conveys.

“I performed in the same composition as a child in 1976. It still looks so fresh as the mere thought of festival Holi fills the heart with joy,” she shared.

The performance left the audience in a festive mood. “Holi is round the corner but after watching this performance I can’t wait for the festival to come soon,” said Shruti Sachdeva, a student at Delhi University who was thrilled after watching the performance.