Kathak and Thumri will come together to take Mumbaikars on an odyssey of dance, poetry and music at the Mumbai Sanskriti Festival, which commences on January 11 on the steps of the Asiatic Library across Horniman Circle.
The inaugural performance at the three-day festival, an initiative of the Indian Heritage Society and the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), will feature renowned Kathak exponent Aditi Bhagwat and Thumri exponent-with-silken-voice Dhanashree Pandit-Rai in a collaboration that will bring both the genres together.
Bhagwat told dna, “It’s a great honour for any artiste to be performing at a heritage venue like the iconic Asiatic Library steps.”
The danseuse, who has experimented with world music as a foot percussionist and has also mastered the Maharashtrian genre of Lavani, said she was looking forward to collaborating with Pandit.
“The way Thumri sits on the cusp of the folk and the classical means its words have a more direct way of reaching out to audiences and what better way to get them involved in the dance performance?” she said.
Pandit echoes Bhagwat and hopes that events like these will help rejuvenate Thumri as a genre. “While many are learning pure classical and pursuing Khayal music not many are taking up Thumri.
One wonders whether this is still about the stigma that the genre was first popularised by courtesans or the fact, they are largely in Brajbhasha and other dialects which not many are conversant with today.”
In fact, one of the performances will centre around a Thumri first popularised by the legend Begum Akhtar. Hamari attariya pe has been tweaked by poet Gulzar as a number Madhuri Dixit’s character dances to, in this Friday’s release Dedh Ishqiya (DI).
“I’d uploaded my version of this Thumri several years ago, but I’m thankful to the film for renewed interest in that. The number of hits and feedback has gone up drastically since DI’s promos hit air. You can expect more of that magic at Sanskriti,” said Pandit.
(On Jan 11, at 7.30pm at the Asiatic Library steps)