Priyadarshini Govind shares how 60 years on, the annual Kalakshetra art festival coninues to be a crowdpuller
AFTER a tumultuous change of guard, Kalakshetra is back in the limelight with its 61st Annual Art Festival. Starting tomorrow (till December 31), the festival will have 13 performances, and expects an audience of over 500 people. Coinciding with the Margazhi season, it will have five dance-drama productions by Kalakshetra—a mandolin recital by U Shrinivas, an Odissi performance by Surupa Sen and Bijayini Satapathy, a Hindustani vocal recital by M Venkateshkumar, Mohiniattam by Neena Prasad, Carnatic vocals by Ranjani-Gayatri, Ashtapadi by Ambalapuzha Vijayakumar, Hari Keerthan by Tukaram Ganapathy Maharaj and Chatur Ghata Laya Samarpan by T H Vikku Vinayakram.
Not surprisingly, however, many among the audience will be keeping an equally keen eye on what the new director, Chennai-based Bharatanatyam dancer Priyadarshini Govind (who took over four months ago), has changed at the cultural academy. Govind is quick to assure us that she is not here to bring about any changes. “I am following the structure. I understand the requirements and I’ll do whatever I have to in order to meet them. We want to stage our productions the best we can and that is what I’m focusing on.”
Govind, who is usually a part of Margazhi, will not be performing this year. “I am working on the festival. I don’t have time for performances. I love my job and its responsibilities,” she says. Talking about the audience, she continues, “We see people coming from around the world for the festival. We see a lot of sabha goers and as the city already has a lot of artists for Margazhi, they’ll come too. This is a time when people can see all Kalakshetra performances at once.”
At Rukmini Arangam, from tomorrow, 6pm onwards. Details: 24521169
— Mrinalini Sundar