Aditya Vikram Birla Kalashikhar Puraskar Conferred Upon Padma Bhushan Dr. Kanak Rele

From Left To Right: Rajashree Birla, Dr. Kanak Rele,CH. Vidyasagar Rao and Neerja Birla

At the 23rd edition of the Sangit Kala Kendra Awards function, the Aditya Vikram Birla Kalashikhar Puraskar was conferred upon Padma Bhushan Dr. Kanak Rele.  Alongside, the Aditya Vikram Birla Kalakiran Puraskars were awarded to  Sreelakshmy Govardhanan,  Sanjukta Wagh and Parshwanath Upadhye.

His Excellency, the Governor of Maharashtra, Vidyasagar Rao who was the Guest of Honour presented these awards to these exceptional artists of Hindustani Classical dance.

Addressing the gathering, Mrs. Rajashree Birla said, that these Awards are a reinforcement of the creative spirit of the Sangit Kala Kendra’s iconic founder  Aditya Vikram Birla.  Instituted in 1996, these Awards are majorly in the field of performing arts.  The Aditya Vikram Birla Kalashikhar Puraskar and the Aditya Vikram Birla Kalakiran Puraskars are a unique form of recognition of artists – the Kalashikhar Puraskar honours an artist of an absolutely outstanding calibre, and the Kalakiran Puraskar recognises exceptional creativity among the younger artists in their chosen areas of performing arts.

This year dance is the centre point of the Awards.  Honouring Dr. Kanak Rele and her renditions of the Mohiniyattam, Mrs. Birla remarked that – “In her dance, there is a kind of magic, a kind of spirited, yet tranquil energy.  In a manner of speaking, the song of life, radiating bliss, akin to a spiritual experience, expressed through the Natya Shastra by her.  She has transformed, Mohiniyattam from the dance of the enchantress, to this level of spiritualism.  She is a living legend”.

Mrs. Birla added that in honouring her as the Aditya Vikram Birla Kalashikhar Puraskar for her Lifetime Achievement, in classical dance, “We have honoured Sangit Kala Kendra itself.”

Complimenting Ms. Sreelakshmy Govardhanan, Ms. Sanjukta Wagh, and  Parshwanath Upadhye, Mrs. Birla stated that, “their accomplishments in classical dance and their academies for taking the message of dance to youngsters, are notable contributions”.  “All three of them, have carved out a niche for themselves, in the world of classical dance.  Given their dedication, and commitment, they are sure to take dance, to stratospheric heights.  It is my belief, that they will scale higher peaks”, averred, Mrs Birla.

From L to R: Rajashree Birla, Sreelakshmy Govardhanan, CH. Vidyasagar Rao and Neerja Birla

From L to R: Rajashree Birla, Sanjukta Wagh, CH. Vidyasagar Rao and Neerja Birla

From L to R: Rajashree Birla, Parshwanath Upadhye, CH. Vidyasagar Rao and Neerja Birla

The panel of judges comprised of luminaries in the field viz. Dr. Sucheta Chapekar, Dr. Ileana Citaristi, Pandita Uma Dogra and Smt. Rajashree Shirke.

Among earlier recipients, feature a galaxy of artists such as – Kum. Lata Mangeshkar, Pt. Kelucharan Mohapatra, Pt. Bhimsen Joshi,  Sankho Choudhuri,  Somnath Hore,  Purshottam Das Jalota,  K. G. Subramanyan, Pandit Vijay Raghav Rao, Prof Raj Bisaria, Smt Yamunabai Vikram Jawle,  Nageswara Rao (Babji), Pandit Birju Maharaj, Dr Pratibha Agrawal,  M F Hussain, Pt. Ram Narayan,  Habib Tanvir, Smt. Tejan Bai,  Jeeva Soma Mashe, Dr Gangu Bai Hangal, Smt. Mrinalini Sarabhai, Pandit Jasraj,  Nagji Patel, Dr. Girija Devi and Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma, Dr. Pratibha Agrawal and Dr. Prabha Atre.

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