Once India absorbs something, it stays. In this ever diverse society, as one of its many, many layered fabrics. Niharika’s journey of dance gives us a glimpse of this.
An 11th grade student of science. Passionate about Animals, Football, Mathematics … and yes, one of the ancient most dance forms of India #Odissi.
She started dancing when she was 7 years, which is 2009.
Here is her story, set in the capital of India, where contemporary and classical are seamlessly woven together.
This family story features her parents, Smita and Sharat Prakash. Her sister, Nainika Prakash. And her Guru, Padmashree Ranjana Gauhar, who has been transmitting this graceful tradition of Odissi to many young Indian women like Niharika.
The film has been made by Akanksha Damini Joshi, for Niharika, her ‘Aaki’!
Village Bagoha, Bundelkhand
Kirtan is a method of Bhakti Yoga. Telling, narrating, describing, Sagun Brahman, Forms of The Whole. Meditation via story-telling, singing, dancing.
As we sing, as we dance, as we express our bhaav, emotions … our antahkarana – mind, to be precise – gently begins to focus on the Lord. Diffusing the flow of mechanical thoughts. Creating space from our ‘self’.
As we connect with the Sagun Brahman, the form manifestations of Brahman, we begin see the circumstances surrounding us – life, work, relations, heck, even our own emotions – as things, Outside. Passing. Anitya. Transitory.
The connection with the Whole makes us objective towards Reality. What others perceive us to be, what we perceive others to be. We begin to learn the art of sifting with clarity, the perceived and the Real.
Folk India uses the method of #Kirtan to dive into the Brahman. That which IS #Poornam, whole.
The Kirtan mandali of the village Bagoha sings this Bundeli bhajan, in the tradition of Gopi Geet from Bhagwat Purana.
Story goes like this. Kanha has gone to Mathura, killed Kansa. He is now the Lord of the Yadus, not a cowherd of Gokul. He has left Gokul, become one of Mathura. The Gopis are in pain. Angry, hurt, and hugely missing.
Kanha sends his friend Uddhav as a messenger to Gokul.
Gopis see him, and first reaction is an outpouring of hurt, pain. “Uddhau, go tell Giridhar …” tell him of our pain. Why did he leave his home? Why did he make Radha cry so? Why? Why? Go Uddhau, tell him of our pain.
Then. Once the pain is expressed, released. The turning in, towards the home, within your self.
“Come on, sakhi, lets search for him, he has not gone, he is here, in Barsana – the home of his beloved Radha.”
Kanha, never leaves home of the beloveds. In other words, to find the Lord, the Whole, the All … search in your own home.
It is all happening here, in a small Indian village. A pathbreaking Disruption. In the heart of central India’s cotton growing district, infamous for its farmer suicides, yes, Vidarbha.
A young engineer-innovator has joined hands with another young visionary cooperative leader. Together they are, truly, Making in India.
With women farmers, youth. Disrupting a 200 years old colonial yarn-making technology, the basis of the now old, energy guzzling Industrial Revolution. Creating a new pipeline of people and processes. A possibility for famers to become manufacturing entrepreneurs.
Welcome to The World’s Smallest Integrated Textile Mill in Buldana, India. Luring back the yarn from the archaic colonial technology, from the polluting, dirty urban Industrial hubs. Back to the villages, the farms. Where that fluffy white cotton is actually birthed. And to the people, the farmers who mother it.
Crafted Yarn™, straight from #FarmToWardrobe.
The Innovator-Entrepreneur : L.KANNAN aka PILA
The Visionary Co-op Leader : DR. Sukesh ZAMWAR
A ‘Micro’ Film By : Akanksha Joshi
She carries him everywhere. She sings to him, dances to him.
Who, who? Call him what you may. A little idol. The eternal cow herder. Whatever you say, he is full of the sweetness of a ladoo!
Meet Parvathy Baul’s Ladoo-Gopal whose naughty eyes open the doorway to the drunken divine delight felt in the songs of the Bauls, The Mad Mystics of Mother India.
In this 7 minute video Parvathy Baul, one of contemporary India’s most famous Baul performers reveals her sutra into the world of divine delight. A bit through words, much through experience. And it all begins with that naughty cow-herder, full of the sweetness of a ladoo. Yes! Ladoo Gopal!
EDITING: Niharika Popli
CAMERA: Akshay Madan
SOUND: Mathew Arackaprambil
SERIES EP : Akanksha Joshi
What is the Art of Learning?
India answers this question with a word, ‘Shishya’. No, a shishya is not a student. She is a disciple, plus. A deep feminine receptivity. She does not ‘learn from’ the Guru. She, absorbs the Guru. She, imbibes him, his life, his being. Simply, delicately, gracefully.
In the life of Dr. Ashwini Bhide-Deshpande Learning has taken many different paths. She is a is a Scientist and also a much acclaimed Hindustani Classical Vocalist.
In this video, Dr. Bhide-Deshpande shares with us the art of the merger of Science and Song. It lies in becoming a Shishya.
In the dissolution of the form, the revelation of the soul. Rests. The Art of Dance.
In this 7 min video Sujata Mohapatra, one of India’s eminent classical dancers and a Guru of Odissi describes the art, in words and in experience. Quite simply. Get married to dance. So you dissolve into the dance, and the dance into you.
In other words, false separation of the ego, dissolves. All that remains is Oneness.
No lover. No beloved. Only, Love.
In Indian musical traditions , just like in Yoga , you cannot ever separate the spirituality , the process of meditation from the talent and skill of playing the instrument or the vocals .
The singing and the music is a gift to the divine , a kind of feedback loop that gives one the energy and the flow to keep getting closer and closer to total dissolve , in bhav , in dhyan and perfection in performance .
Niharika Popli ( an engineer turned film-maker) and अक्षय मदान (who is a software geek as well as a classical music enthusiast and disciple) have been working with Akanksha Damini Joshi right from the inception of the idea to its final edit and presentation .
The idea is not just to talk about the genre , but the relationship between the performer and the Guru . To hear how these complex and evolved traditions carry on , in their intimate encounters . Without any schools and institutions . In the ancient one-to-one Bharatiya Parampara .
Hope you see and relish the series .
Our dream at Random Maharasa Entertainment is to keep sharing the real alchemy of how material, cultural , spiritual processes have happened , continue to happen in this indefinable land of ours .
It can be craft , it can be music , it can be innovation , it can be farming .
As long as there is deep spirit, a humility, an intensity , a creative involvement and a delight .
We hope to keep catching , in our valley , filled with receptive roots and trees , such drops .
Have a great new year , and follow your bliss.
GURU, a relationship gifted by India to the world. He is a teacher, but not only. For him is not just respect, but reverence. Not just love, but devotion. A relation which, in calling the disciple to live his highest possibility, opens the door to the divine.
In our musical traditions, Guru-Shishya attempt to share that experience of the divine via performance that gives the rasika – the engaged listener – a glimpse of that beauty and truth.
Random Maharasa Entertainment presents first in a series of four videos exploring ‘The Sacred Presence: Sannidhi’, of the India’s musical maestros, her Gurus. A unique relation that continues way after the physical form of the Guru has faded.
In this video is featured the well known vocalist Nirmalya Dey, Rudra Veena exponent Mohi Baha’ud-din. In the Sacred Presence of their Gurus, Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar and Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar.
Random Maharasa is very happy to announce that our supported Harpreet‘ s song “Kutte” has been been show-cased as the promo-song of Titli on the Yash Raj Films YouTube channel .
It will be used as the promotional song for the film.
The boy from Kurukshetra who came to Delhi with just a guitar following his passion . How Susmit Sen of Indian Ocean (Now independent) took a liking to him and supported him .
Then he made a song with lyrics by Deepak Dhamija and Maheep Singh called Kutte , for a short play with the same name , Directed by Deepak Dhamija .
Then Random Maharasa supported his first album ” Ajab Ishq Maati Da ” so poetry from Punjab and Uttar Pradesh could be put to music .
And now soon after , his song gets selected for Titli , which was nominated for Caméra d’Or at 2014 Cannes Film Festival .
Directed by Kanu Behl and produced by Aditya Chopra and Dibakar Banerjee it is already making waves , showing Delhi’s underbelly , just like Khosla ka Ghosla and Oye Lucky Lucky Oye did .
You can buy the album here :
Saturday, 12th September 2015, DD NEWS broadcast an interview with Akanksha Joshi, an acclaimed non-fiction filmmaker and Creative Director, Random Maharasa Entertainment, a new-age media company exploring spirituality, aesthetics, culture and performance from an Indian perspective.
Akanksha is leading many young creative people in music, photography, film-making to build new narratives that speak of India’s soul and expression. Her own films emerge as intimate creations, with her exploring the whole process – filming, editing, scripting and direction – organically, all by herself.
As a daughter of an army officer from the Gurkhas, she grew up across the Himalayas and Terai from Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim to Dehradun. Rivers, mountains and forests have been Akanksha’s Gurus since her childhood. She known as ‘Damini’ in meditation circles, facilitating creative meditation workshops combining esoteric practices of dhyan with dance and childlike delight.
Her films express her internalisation of lessons from Nature’s Gurus. From ‘GANGA: Ek Prarthana’ which is being shown on Lok Sabha channel since 2007; ‘CHILIKA Bank$’ on the largest salt-water lake in Odisha in India; ‘EARTH Witness’, the narrative in the voices of Central India’s indigenous peoples, sheep-herder nomads of Saurashtra, farmers of Sunderbans and Naga women on the changing rain-systems; and recently ‘HINDU Nectar’ on exploration of Sanatan philosophy weaving the experiences of wanderers across nations who come to this spiritually gifted land.
The interview is featured in Vartavali, one of its kind Sanskrit programme on India’s only 24 hour terrestrial TV news channel, DD News. The channel’s terrestrial reach alone is 25% by area and a whooping 49% of the population of India. Besides this, DD News has 29 functional Regional News Units / Bureaus which are broadcasting over 100 news bulletins in 22 languages/dialects.
The interview done with an idea to expand the reach and understanding of India’s ancient language Sanskrit, comes with Sanskrit subtitles. It explores Akanksha’s journey as a spiritual traveler, meditation facilitator and filmmaker-storyteller, and how all these aspects merge and flow to build her narratives, dialoguing on nature-spirit with feminine grace and lightness.
You can listen to the samples and download the album here