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Soorya Festival: Sangamam - An Audio-Visual Treat Showcasing The Diversity And Culture Of India

Nagendra Rao
06/04/2013

(This article is sponsored by Masala Art)

Sangamam - beauty and unity in diversity, was the theme for the show that spontaneously brought the audience to a standing ovation on May 18 at Billerica High School.  Soorya Sangamam was part of the The Soorya Festival USA, an enthralling audio-visual entertainment spanning 15 cities across the US over a period of 2 months.  Soorya Entertainment’s program “Sangamam” brought together dance, music, light and sound, and most importantly, the diversity of Indian culture, in a meticulously planned and executed show lasting almost 2 hours.  The unique fusion of Music and Dance from 20 artists from all over India was weaved together in this program to tell the world about the unity and diversity of India.

Sangamam is conceived and directed by Soorya Stage and Film Society founded by Padmashree Dr. Soorya Krishnamurthy .  Soorya functions with its headquarters in Trivandrum, the capital of Kerala, the Southern-most State of India.  Soorya has its Chapters in 36 countries in the world.  It is a non-profit making, non- commercial, voluntary organization with no office building or paid staff, anywhere in the world.   Soorya Krishnamurthy has served as the director of the Kerala State Film Development Corporation for three terms.

The thread that ran through the event was “Duniya ke Rakhwale” the immortal song by Mohammed Rafi.  As Soorya Krishnamurthy himself announced in the introduction, it is a song dedicated to Lord Shiva, Nataraja himself, and it is composed by Naushad, Sung by Rafi, both Muslims.  Such is the secular nature and diversity in India.  Music and dance knows no religion.  In the program Malayalam, Hindi and Tamil songs were presented in myriad ways using a fusion of Carnatic, North Indian and Western beats.  Ideal Star singer Zia Ul-Haq sang 2 electrifying numbers including a wonderful rendition of the theme song “O Duniya Ke Rakhwale” in typical Mohd. Rafi style.

The visual treat began with four athletic male dancers lead by Madhu and Sajeev demonstrating Samudra Natanam.  Their display of agility, yogic poses and classical dance was mesmerizing.  These dancers were from Kerala who won the 2011 State Film Award, Film Critics Award and National Film Award for Best Choreography for the Malayalam film Makaramanju.

The potpourri of dance went on with a dazzling solo Bharatanatyam display by Dakshina Vaidyanathan. Dakshina, daughter of Rama Vaidyanathan, is said to be one of the most promising Bharatanatyam dancers today and an innovative choreographer.  Kathak was beautifully presented by Sonia Gupta and team.

A Manipuri dance by four 4 Dhol – Dholak Chalo drummers in classic Manipuri dresses was a spectacular presentation.  Their display with traditional drums and thumping beats in synchronism, while being flying in the air with flying dance steps and somersaults, took the audience’s breath away.

What is a traditional Indian performance without a “jugalbandi”? The sizzling jugalbandi in percussion by Malamarry  Sasi and Malamarry  Jayan – leading percussionists from Kerala was a veritable treat for the audience.  There was pin drop silence and then multiple sets of percussion instruments including drums, dholak and tabla fired up the huge auditorium with resounding beats for nearly 25 minutes.

The tribute to the performers was an insightful observation from a speaker in the end that no one had even moved out of the auditorium even once.  Such was the mesmerizing display of talent by Soorya and their team.

The event was brought to the Boston Metrowest area with the efforts of inspired individuals, Joboy Jacob, former President of Kerala Association of New England, and Sapna Krishnan, the Director of the Lasya School of Dance.  



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