Kathak is the sun and I’m a planet revolving around it, says Rajendra Gangani

 Kathak is the sun and I’m a planet revolving around it, says Rajendra Gangani

As many as 1,484 Kathak exponents dancing on the rhythm of Raga Basant in Khajuraho, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Madhya Pradesh, created a Guinness World Record. The record was created on the opening day of the recently held 50th Khajuraho Dance Festival organised by the state government. “The largest Kathak dance was achieved by the Department of Culture, Government of Madhya Pradesh, during 50th Khajuraho Dance Festival,” said a certificate issued by the Guinness World Records.
Following the achievement, Chief Minister Mohan Yadav announced to set up the country’s first gurukul for training of tribal and folk arts in Khajuraho. He said ‘The festival of cultural revival is being celebrated all over India under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In this series, this sadhana dedicated to Lord Nataraja Mahadev will become the pride of Indian culture and guide the future generations.’ He added “Dance and worship is the path of worship of God. This is a sacred medium of direct contact with God.”
“The proposed gurukul will be envisioned in such a way that traditional skills and indigenous knowledge systems will be protected along with their holistic development in rural life. Along with this, the legacy of ancestors will also get expanded,” he added. Yadav congratulated dance gurus and dancers from different cities of the state for creating the record.

Rajendra Gangani
Rajendra Gangani

The feat was achieved under the choreography of renowned dance guru Rajendra Gangani, wherein dancers from different cities of the state presented a 20-minute performance composed in Raga Basant. I spoke with the ecstatic Rajendra Gangani about the world record and how he and his team prepared for it.

What made you think of this world records?
Honestly I did not think of the record, the government officials did and asked me to execute it. to me Kathak is all I think, I didn’t think of this opportunity for the sake of record. Kathak is the sun and I am like a planet revolving around it and basking in its glory. One of my purpose is to make kathak, a part of everyone’s life because it’s a divine feeling. It takes you to a zone where it connects one to his/her inner self. To me it was never about the record but “Kathak”.

How did you prepare for the same?
It was a whole lot of work and we had to speed it up too, our entire time was spent in studio, composing, recording the music and choreographing it simultaneously to capture the essence of it. I didn’t want to compromise with the vision I had, to leave a strong impact.

Teaching so many students the same choreography must have been a huge task. How did you plan the schedule?
It was a challenge to teach the same choreography to so many students, but I must admit technology came to use. We recorded a detailed video of entire choreography with the final edit of music and sent it to various senior gurus, residing and teaching in different states. For the final leg, all the performers were called at Khajuraho 2 days prior to the final performance and multiple rehearsals were conducted and finishing touch ups were given there.

How was the entire event executed?
Organising an event at such grand scale had to be well thought through. We kept in mind the kathak training given across the country, during composition and choreography. The 17 minutes long attempt was to be made during hot afternoon under the sun, and we had artists of all ages, the choreography was set as close to the traditional compositions as possible to inculcate the authenticity in artists’ minds. For artists’ cheery mood, the music was composed in an uplifting Basant Raag which depicts the arrival of spring season, blooming flowers and buzzing bees. We were immensely honored when CM sir Shri Mohan Yadav said, “The entire scene of 1484 artists dancing and creating vibrations of ghunghroos must have invoked Matangeshwar Mahadev ji to witness the divine performance.”

Setting a world record is a big high, how do you feel and what was the response of the entire team?
Initially we couldn’t even believe that it is even possible. But once we achieved it, that was the moment, we felt confident that our visions can be brought to life. Entire kathak community is delighted to be a part of Guinness world record and it is dedicated to all the artists across the globe. I remember of the officials mentioned to me, “Only you could have achieved such record and I am absolutely certain that you will be the one to break it and achieve a bigger record.” When such high hopes and trust is put into me, I feel more zealous towards my purpose and my art form, Kathak.

Who all do you wish to give credit for this achievement and what role did these people play in the success of the project?
Firstly, I would like to give my gratitude to Madhya Pradesh Sanskriti Vibhaag, Madhya Pradesh government and their CM Shri Mohan Yadav ji for presenting this great opportunity and responsibility to me. I am very thankful to the local volunteers at Khajuraho for all the support they provided. And finally I want to thank with all my heart to my musicians, recordists, co artists and entire kathak fraternity, who came together at such short notice and worked hard to make it happen.

Sandip Soparrkar holds a doctorate in world mythology folklore from Pacific University USA, an honorary doctorate in performing arts from the National American University, He is a World Book Record holder,
a well-known Ballroom dancer and a Bollywood choreographer who has been honored with three
National Excellence awards, one National Achievement Award and Dada Saheb Phalke award
by the Government of India. He can be contacted on [email protected]


News, Lifestyle & Entertainment stories - all at one place

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !!
%d bloggers like this: