Guru Bandana Sen
I was 4.6 years old, when my mother took me to a big but pretty old house in Bhawanipore, Kolkata. As I was approaching the house, I could hear the chorus sound of ankle bells along with a beautiful rhythm being played on the Tabla with the melodious Nagma on the Sitar. As my mother took me inside the class, known as Nupur Dance Academy, I was amazed to see so many beautiful girls dancing together. The way they tapped their feet, the way they swirled, the way they looked at the audience with each beat, made me smile without my knowledge. We met my first dance Guru, Guru Bandana Sen. That was the day when Kathak became a part of me and grew along with me. Its being two decades now but I still remember her fragrance of love and affection, her soft hands rose on my head for blessings and of course her scolding without which I would have never been reached where I am today.
About Guru Bandana Sen
Guru Bandana Sen, the legendary Kathak maestro, has unique contribution to the world of dance. She has been placed amongst the finest dancers that India has ever produced. Born of a very educated family, she was mostly inspired by her late father, Sri P.C. Sen, a Barrister of Calcutta High Court. She had her early training in Jaipur Gharana style of Kathak from famous dancer Smt. Jaikumari Devi and later she learnt from the ‘Nritya Samrat’ Sri Sambhu Maharaj-ji. In her career spanning more than 50 years, Guru Bandana Sen has performed in about 5000 programmes in India and abroad. She represented India as the Cultural Ambassador to USSR and Germany. She also graced the USA with her scintillating performance on several occasions.
Titled “Kathak Queen”, “Bhav Samraggi”, “Nrityasri”, “Nritya Shiromoni”, “Sarangadev”, “Banga Kanna”, she is also the recipient of gold medal from the first President of India, Dr Rajendra Prasad and gold medal from Nawab Sir Reza Ali Khan Bahadur. Her fame crossed the national barrier and the king of Nepal duly recognized her talent by presenting to her the gold “Kukri”. She has also been crowned with the title of “GURU” from the West Bengal Government. It is said that whenever Kathak Queen Bandana Sen starts her dance, it appears that a thousand lotus blossoms on the stage. Her dance is exquisite, illuminating and forceful. Her style is full of elegance, chaste and captivating. From appearance on the stage, she makes an immediate rapport with the audience for her towering personality. Her interpretation is so impressive that even a layman can appreciate it. Her exposition of “bhava” (expression) is so graceful and poetic that she is called the “Queen of expression”. It is an additional attraction to hear her distinct “bols” on different “talas”, “Urdu Shairees” (Poems) and sweet songs.
Guru Sri K Murali Mohan & Smt Nandini Mehta
After my high school, when I moved to Bangalore, unfortunately my practice of 12years faced a break. It was difficult to be without dance. I visited my Guru in Kolkata only during my holidays. I sensed that it is not going to work this way. I was loosing myself without dance. At last with God’s grace, I came to know about Sri Murali Mohan. I managed to get an appointment with him on a Sunday morning and landed up in his house at Rajarajeswarinagar, Bangalore. He auditioned me to know about my level of dancing and introduced to other dancers of the class as their new fellow dancer. I was overwhelmed. That was the day when dance in me got a new birth. I was a new member of the institution named NADAM. I was lucky enough to get Smt. Nandini Mehta as my Kathak teacher along with Murali Sir. I was scared and skeptical in my initial days of NADAM being a non Banglorean. But the way Murali Jee, Nandini Jee and my fellow Nadamites soon took me as an integral part of the NADAM family, I thank the Almighty every moment for having showered such blessings on me. Murali Jee, Nandini Jee and NADAM have not been only my dance teachers and ensemble but have always been like my family.
About Sri K Murali Mohan
Sri K Murali Mohan is a young and talented Kathak dancer of great promise. Initially trained under the tutelage of Guru Sri Dharamshi Shah of Bhavnagar, Gujarat, he received further training in Kathak under the able guidance of Guru Smt. Maya Rao at N.I.K.C. Bangalore. Murali Jee has had intensive training under the renowned Gurus Padmashree Kumudini Lakhia and Smt. Sandhya Desai at Kadamb, Ahmedabad.
He is an auditioned artist of Doordarshan and is also a popular A.I.R. artist and is known for his rendition of semi-classical music. He is well-versed in Folk-Forms of India and has to his credit a Bachelor’s degree in Music and Visharad in Kathak from the Akhil Bharatiya Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, Mumbai.
Murali Jee has several performances to his credit which have won him high acclaim and encomiums by the connoisseurs of art. He has participated in all the major dance festivals in India namely Nrithyotsava, Ahmedabad, Bhavanotsava, Bangalore, Dasara Mahotsava,Mysore, Natarajotsava, Mysore, Hampi Utsava, Hampi, Udayashankar Festival,Calcutta, Nisha Gandhi Festival,Kerala, to name a few. He has also performed in major productions of Prabhath Kalavidaru, Bangalore, Kalakshetra, Bhavnagar, Rangoli Dance Company, U.S.A., Sampradaya, Canada, which has enriched his experience.
He has toured extensively in many countries like France and Switzerland, U.S.A. and Canada.Murali is also a recipient of the Central Government Scholarship for Kathak from the Department of Culture, New Delhi for the year 2000-2002. Murali Jee was recently honored with the title “GUNA NIDHI” for his contribution to Kathak.
About Smt Nandini K Mehta
Smt Nandini K Mehta, a talented danseuse, has carved a niche for herself as a creative personality in the art circles. She is a versatile dancer and has specialized in Bharatanatyam and Kathak, the well-known Classical Dance Forms of India.
She had her initial training in Bharatanatyam under the renowned Gurus Prof. U.S. Krishna Rao and Chandrabhaga Devi. Later, she underwent intensive training from Guru Smt. Narmada. Her dedication and passion for dance attracted her to Kathak. She had the fortune of learning Kathak under the internationally acclaimed Kathak Dancer and Choreographer Guru Smt. Maya Rao and Smt. Chitra Venugopal at the Natya Institute of Kathak & Choreography, Bangalore. Nandini has also graduated with a Diploma in Choreography with distinction. She has had formal training in Indian Classical Music which is a pre-requisite for every good dancer. Nandini is also well-versed in the Folk-Forms of India which have won her laurels.
Endowed with a charming personality, Nandini Jee has given several performances at important cultural centres of India, U.S.A, France, Switzerland and Middle- East countries to large appreciative audiences and won encomiums. She is an auditioned artist of Doordarshan in both Bharatanatyam and Kathak styles.
Nandini Jee is also a recipient of the Central Government Fellowship for Kathak from the Department of Culture, New Delhi for the year 2000-2002
Nandini was awarded the title-“KALA ARATHI RATNA”, by the Arathi School of India Dance-Phoenix, USA in September 2006.
Nandini Jee was recently awarded the title-“GUNA NIDHI”, in commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the magazine-“Guna Grahi” for her contribution to Kathak.
Murali Jee and Nandini Jee, the renowned duo of Bangalore, are the Founder- Directors of NADAM-‘Narthan Academy of Dance And Music’. This is an established organization promoting and propagating Indian Classical Dance and Music. The academy imparts intensive training in the fields of Kathak, Bharathanatyam, Classical Music and Light Music. Apart from training, the company has its own performing unit which specializes in Classical and different Folk Forms of India. Nadam also holds an Annual Music and Dance Festival every year during November called “KALA-NADAM” where artists from various parts of India and abroad are invited to perform. NADAM also holds a Classical Dance and Music Festival for kids below 13yrs of age named “CHINNAKALANADAM” during the month of July every year, which is known as one of the prestigious platforms provided for the upcoming child artists of India and abroad.
In the year 2006, NADAM toured USA for 3 months with a troupe of 7 dancers under the guidance of Murali Jee and Nandini Jee. They gave performances at prestigious festivals all over the country. NADAM ensemble is again touring to the US and Canada in 2012 with 9 dancers under the guidance of Nandini Jee and Murali Jee.