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The World of Indian Performing Arts

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Item Code: UAE305
Author: Utpal K. Banerjee
Publisher: Shubhi Publications, Gurgaon
Language: English
Edition: 2014
ISBN: 9788182904507
Pages: 266 (Throughout Color and B/W Illustrations)
Other Details 12.00 X 9.00 inch
Weight 1.30 kg
Book Description
About The Book

This book covers the most recent scenario -- the middle years of the 2010s - belonging to Indian dance and drama in an ample mesure, and music to a limited degree. It is unabashedly Delhi-centric (covering also Kolkata), yet surprisingly encompassing the national scene, since these metropolises draw the best talents of the land to showcase their performances. Delhi goes much farther: in constantly luring the itinerant performers from the overeas, and allowing glimpses into the latest happenings in the West and the East. Dance probably had it never so good in combining the sacred with the profane, the ephemeral with the experimental, and the intuition with the innovation. Our dancers combined solitary solos with mammoth manifestations of choreography,blended nritta and Nritya in a myriad ways and transcended from lokadharmi into natyadharmi - even into manodharmi - in an effortless manner, as was never done before.

Transiting into music, a limited span gets noticed in terms of music therapy, fusion exercises, et al. and some insights into the past greats (like Tagore, DL Roy, Lalon Fakir), some exciting musically imaginative passages, raga music's bold interaction with celluloid and some fond memorabilia of Kumar Gandharva and Ravi Shankar are offered.

Finally, drama has today a prime votary in National School of Drama (NSD) who - by virtue of their profuse resources and equally proficient faculty - has launched a veritable aesthetic revolution, also catapulting Indian theatre into the world arena. This has made possible international plays to be viewed and critiqued, in terms of even Theatre of the Dead, Theatre of Sports and Theare of Memory. Written text and performance text, physical acting and fluidity of body language, social realism and sheer styliusation have all made for a heady interaction, turning the Indian theatrical exposure a slice of a topsy-turvy world.

All through, an interactive note is struck with the directors of the performative milieu, making their behind-the-scene voices heard with reverence, making the book a unique reading experience.

About the Author

Dr. Utpal K Banerjee was awarded Ph.D. (Commonwealth Scholar), University of Manchester, UK, he has been an adviser on Management and Information Technology for 30 years. He has been teaching at IITs, IIMs, MDI and several institutions, including leading foreign universities in Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Dalian & Kunming. With an abiding interest in Indian art and culture, he contributes to leading newspapers and magazines over last 35 years. He has been a prolific contributor and anchor-person for cultural & professional programmes at London BBC, Indian AIR and Doordarshan. He was National Project Director for UNDP at IGNCA in 1991-93. He traveled, for ICCR to lecture on Indian art & culture in Canada and South America. He has been visiting lecturer on Indian art & culture at Foreign Service Institute for Afro-Asian diplomats. He received Senior Fellowship in 2007-09, from Min. of Culture, GOI, to work on "A Journey with the Buddha", Vols. I & II. He worked as Chief Coordinator for "Leaders of India", a project under GOI in 2008-09 on Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi & Rajiv Gandhi for creating an interactive Website. He has been "Tagore Research Scholar" under Tagore National Fellows scheme, GOI, for streamlining Audio-Visual Cultural Archive of IGNCA, 2012-14. He was awarded "Padma Shri" by President of India, 2009, for literary output of more than 35 books on Indian art & culture, Tagore studies and pioneering works on IT and management over the decades.


I have been a passionate chronicler of the Indian performing arts scene for a very long time, side by side with my professional interests in administration, management and IT. This passion really began in 1964 with the onset of Enact magazine, for which I regularly wrote, under the enthusiastic editorship of Rajinder Paul - using his own Pauls Press - until he became. Vice-Chairman of Sangeet Natak Akademi. With a brief interval in 1968-72 - when I was abroad honing my professional skills up to a Ph.D. level -- this interest continued undiminished. But even in the UK, opportunity was there in the University of Manchester to do in-depth extra-mural courses on fine arts, modern English poetry, contemporary theatre and electronic music, which I eagerly availed of.

On return, I hit up on the career of an observer-cum-critic in the performing arts scenario for the national print media like Economic Times, Financial Express, the Patriot and, for some 20 years for the Pioneer, apart from innumerable arts magazines like Illustrated Weekly of India, Sruti, Indrama, et al., Besides, I anchored arts programmes - starting from the BBC, London -- in the AIR External Services„ Door Darshan and especially for DD Archives.

Gradually, my professional interests waned (of course, after having done some 16 books, alongside a chequered path from 1958 to 2005) and the passion in arts ultimately prevailed, culminating in the following books:

Performing Arts

(in general)

Indian Performing Arts (1992)

Indian Performing Arts: A Mosaic (2006)

Millennium Glimpses of Indian Performing Arts (2007)

Vignettes of Indian Performing Arts, Vol. I & II (2013)

A Bouquet of Indian dance and Drama (2016)


Bengali Theatre: 200 Years (1999)

Indian Theatre in the 21st Century (2009)

Theatre in South Asia: Frontiers of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh & Overseas (2012)


Exuberance of Indian Classical Dance (2010)

Indian Contemporary Dance Extravaganza (2010)


(with the principal author Sampa Ghosh)

Indian Puppets (2006)

Indian Puppetry & Puppet Stories (2008)

Puppets in India & Abroad (2014)

The present book is literally a post-script to my five tides in the 'performing arts' series, with the exciting addition of the eastern India scene (on which I write for the on-line website, narthaki.com), broadly covering dance and drama, and some music. At my invitation, two stalwarts Kamalini Dutt, an eminent dance-scholar and the erstwhile director of DD Archives and Tripurari Sharma, a noted authority on theatre and senior professor of National School of Drama - have written their erudite introductions to the national scenarios on dance and drama (with lens on Delni) - in that order -- and earned my ample gratitude.

Life- an Unending,Quest forLife, the contribution by Purvadhanshree, needs a little prelude. It so happened that I had translated, in fully-rhymed English verse, 250 of Rabindranath Tagore's "nonsense rhymes" in the following volumes (which had been published by the national Sahitya Akademi): •Rainbow Rhymes of Tagore: Humour and Satire ( 2011)

• Rainbow Rhymes of Tagore: Mother and Child ( 2011)

• Rainbow Rhymes of Tagore: Wish fulfillment Foray ( 2011)

• Rainbow Rhymes of Tagore: Fantasy Poetry (2011).

It also so happened that Tagore's "nonsense rhymes" had never been interpreted en masse, in music and dance, by the cognoscente in his native Bengal, let alone elsewhere in India. Now, the availability of their English poetic rendering enthused a band of well-known dancers to visualise -- with their full creative freedom -- one or more of my translations and present them on proscenium stage. So, India Habitat Centre, Delhi, saw the "labour of love" -- on my 80th birthday which was by itself an insignificant occasion -- from Shovana Narayan (in Kathak); Saroja Vaidyanathan, Rama Vaidyanathan and Dakshina Vaidyanathan (in Bharatanatyam); Bharati Shivaji (in Mohiniyattam); and Santosh Nair (in Myurbhanj Chhau and Contemporary Dance) in September 2014. Not to be left behind, India international Centre, Delhi, also presented another bouquet of "labour of love" in October 2015 by Purvadhanshree (in Vilasini Attyam); Kavita Dwivedi (in Odissi); Pratibha Prahlad (in Bharatanatyam); and Saswati Sen (in Kathak). The dance-luminary Pt. Birju Maharaj did the honour of felicitating the artistes. At my invitation, Purvadhanshree - almost the youngest among the lot - gives her own summingup here and deserves my very hearty "thank you".

The dance and music images in the present book are unstintingly provided by the performers or their organisers. The brilliant drama images are provided by the NSD photographers Mr. Thyagarajan and Mr. Deepak. They deserve my deep gratitude.

Not the least, Sampa Ghosh has single-handedly sorted out the entire textual material and --with an unerring eye for quality -- collected, collated and indexed all the images. She deserves to be called the "co-author" as suggested by Shri Sanjay Arya and I entirely agree with my publisher.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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