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March, 6 – 10. 2013.   – District II.   55. Margit Blvd. Budapest.

The India Festival is organized by the Embassy of India in Budapest. During the five days festival will be screening 7 Hindi films, offering dance performance, lectures on Indian films and culture, tourism programs, puppet show, children workshops and an exhibition which can be viewed on the program days.

6.15 p.m. – Wednesday, March, 6.

The Atrium was full with the invited  honor guests and local audience eager to see the Kathak dance performance by Ms. Sharmila Sharma, they say she is a precious stone of carrying the India culture, but I would rather say she is a shinning pearl of cherishing the art of traditional dances from India! At the age of 3 she already decided she wish to be a dancer. To-day she lives in France. Been around the world with the performances we were about to see: in the States, Switzerland, Great Britain  of course in France and now she lay her footsteps to Budapest bringing this opening evening of the India Festival, with three performances on stage at the Atrium Theater in Budapest.  The audience deeply expressed their appreciation for her awesome show. In the show the presence of the strong symbiosis of the Hindu and Muslim cultures were present as bringing alive the North Indian Kathak  dynamic style of dance.  Being at this evening’s show, can only say Ms. Sharmila Sharma is definitely one of the best Kathak dancers to have open such a grand festival. The audience, even for only less than an hour could have felt they have went back in time and dropped over to Northern India. At the end of the superb performance the Ambassador of India to Hungary his Excellency Gauri Shankar Gupta went up to the stage to express his sincere thanks for the  giving all of us a lovely evening.

Briefly about the Kathak classical dance:
“It comes from the North of India. The word Kathak is derived from katha meaning “storytelling”. The expression “Katha kahe so” Kathak means whoever tells a story in a dance form with song is a Kathak. The movements of hands (mudra) and body along with facial expressions (abhinaya) were used to tell a story with song and music and this gave birth to Kathak and Kathakars. Originally, the artists known as the Kathakars told mythological stories (harikatha) in the Hindu temples of Northern India and obviously their art was deeply rooted in the Hindu religion, philosophy and spirituality. The Kathakars knowledge – compositions and choreography – were passed on from generation to generation through oral tradition. Between the l2th and the l8th century, Kathak was practised in the magnificent palaces of the Mughal emperors and even earlier in those of Hindu rulers. After being a totally devotional temple art, it had also become a court dance, intended to entertain those powerful rulers. It enriched itself by borrowing from Persian cultural elements and as such, the aesthetics of the dance evolved in accordance with the aesthetics of the Muslim culture too.
The current form of Kathak is linked to the Mughal era. During that period the facial expressions and gestures gained in subtlety. The artist was indeed able to express a theme in many different ways with a wide range of nuances. The aspect of pure dance (nritta) gained in sophistication and speed. The rhythm, movements and pirouettes became more complex. Kathak also became permeated with elegant Urdu poetry along with the poems in Braj. (One of the last Mughal emperors, Wajid Ali Shah himself composed songs on Krishna in Braj.

With this breathtaking performance by  Ms. Sharmila Sharma, the evening did not end. At 7.30 p.m.  Ek Main Aur Tu from 2012, a musical  romantic comedy was screening. Staring: Imran Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Boman Irani, Ratna Pathak Shah. Director: Shakun Batra.  Quick Specs from the film: A few drinks too many leads an uptight architect and quick-witted hairstylist to marry in Las Vegas. Can a mistake lead to friendship and love? Imran, an introvert architect, and Kareena, a carefree hair stylist, meet in Las Vegas and get married after getting drunk. The next day, they realise their mistake and start the process of annulling their marriage.

On the spot an exhibition was opened to-day titled: Life with Love. Photos are of Esther Horváth … Radiant, charming, touching… An exhibition for your heart! The exhibition will be out throughout the period of the festival.

Day2, 3, 4, 5 … to be continued …


Update and snaps Aggie Reiter

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