Promoting Kathak in the memory of a maestro

Classical moves

Kathak lovers have reason to rejoice. In the memory of Pt. Kundan Lal Gangani- one of the greatest exponents of the Jaipur gharana of Kathak, his son Guru Harish Gangani is holding a two-day Kathak festival.

In a departure from conve­n­tion, instead of Kathak’s biggest maestros, this time the best talents from Harish’s Kathak school ‘Sonad Venu’ will perform.

The fest, spread over August 30-31, will be held at the Epicentre Mall, Gurgaon.

Pt. Kundan Lal Gangani was born in Sujangarh, Rajasthan in the year 1926. Trained by his maternal uncle the celebrated Kathak Guru Shri Narayan Prasad, he gave his first public performance at the tender age of 8.

By 11, he had already performed at the royal court of Raigarh and went on to display his skills at Allahabad, Mumbai, Pune, Kanpur, Jaipur and many other places. His last public performance was at Jodhpur in 1960 and from here on, he started teaching exclusively.

He joined the Kathak Kendra in ’70 as a Guru and taught here till his death in July ’84.
Harish says, “I have been holding this festival in the name of my father for the past seven years now. Considering that he was a child artiste himself, this time we decided to promote new talent from ‘Sonad Venu.’

On August 30, firstly, a group of students trained by my wife Meera will present Ganesh stuti. Then, another student Arushi Pradhan will perform taal dhamaar, followed by a performance in teen taal by Sooraj Dewan, Shiv Tandav nritya by Ida Ghatke and lastly a composition of Pt. Ravi Shankar, Saawan will be performed by a group of students.

“On August 31,” he continues, “I will give solo performances based on the compositions of my father and the innovations he bought in this dance form. I’ll perform his special bandish, kavit, paran, tarana and a Shiv stuti - Rangeela Shambhu Gaura ne padharo.

Lastly, I’ll dance to Kesariya Balam - the famous Rajasthani song. My father is especially remembered for the way he combined Rajasthani folk and classical Kathak dance. Hence, this song is special to him.”

“I am hopeful that through such festivals, the memory of my father will live on in the hearts of classical dance lovers. I hope that our efforts to encourage young artistes, Indian classical dance will be taken up by more and more of the younger generation and Kathak will flourish in the time to come.”  

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