Wednesday, November 4, 2009



ress coverage in indian papers after her return from gulf

Kathak danseuse Pratishtha touches the hearts of gulf countries

Acharyaa Pratishtha with Ms. deepa Wadhva, Indian Ambassador, Qatar

Born with bells in her feet

Kathak danseuse Pratishtha touches the hearts of gulf countries

This was for the first time that not only the lovers of Indian classical dance but the ambassadors, governors, diplomats from different countries beside media person, common men and school children in Doha, Taiz, Sanaa, and Aden the important cities of Yemen and Qatar were thrilled to witness the mind blowing kathak performance of Indian Kathak danseuse Pratishtha based on depiction of Nav Rasa (nine emotions of human nature). Pratishtha succeded in establishing the concept of global family (Yetra Vishwam Bhavetyek Needam) and message of spiritualism through her solo kathak dance based on the tales from Ramayana and Geeta during her two weeks visit to gulf countries. The ethics behind the tales of Ram and Seeta & Radha and Krishna touched the people of gulf deeply and keep them in tune with this dancer of international repute. The performance of Pratishtha captured the banner position in gulf news papers such as “Qatar Tribune Nation”, “Yemen Times”, “Yemen Observer”, “Al Thawrah” and “Thawrah” etc.

Her performance with live orchestra in DMIS at Doha the capital city of Qatar was inaugurated by HE Deepa Gopalan Wadhwa the Indian Ambassador and Ambessador of Japan to Qatar HE Yukio Kitazume was the chief guest.

The daughter of world renown yoga guru 'Padmashri' Bharat Bhushan ji and Isht Sharma Kathak performer of International repute Pratishtha is popularly known as the Youngest Yogacharyaa whose yoga shows are at telecast on different TV channels and is the first ever artist who has equal command over two great arts Dance & Yoga, the blessings of Lord Shiva who is known as Natraj and Yogiraj.

Pratishtha's historical dance with artistic interaction with huge gathering on the occasion kept the audiance spell bound. Pratishtha's show in sanaa, Tiaz and Aden the three main cities of Yemen made her so popular among the people of this country that this entire program organized by Indian Embassy became a joint venture of India and Yemen under the patronage of Yemeni Ministry of Culture. Indian Ambassador to Yemen HE Praveen Verma on the occasion said, "We are on fast track in our political, economical and cultural relationships and looking to participate in the development of Yemen's infrastructure as well." He invited Yemeni artists to perform in India a give an opportunity to reciprocate the wonderful hospitality. Yemeni minister of culture Muhmad Abu Bkr al-Maflahi along with several other diplomats attended the function. He said, "I hope the event such as today's will promote our cultural relations with India."

Pratishtha and her troop of four musicians – Yogesh Gangani on Tabla, Md. Ayub on Sarangi, Amit on vocal and Dheeraj on Padant concluded the visit to gulf countries with her performance at Palestine Hall of Aden. The show was inaugurated by Abdul Galeel Al-shaoibi the chairman of Aden Free Zone who referred to the historical relations between the two countries and admired the cultural heritage that India has in the world. He said that the performance of this great dancer will prove a strong foundation for economical, commercial and cultural coexistence. HE Praveen Verma the Ambassador of India mentioned that the purpose of such performance as of Pratishtha, is to promote and strengthen the aspects of cultural cooperation between the two countries, pointing to Indo Yemeni relations for hundreds of years.

Pratishtha's performance as an interesting mixture of dance, narration and acting won the wider appreciation from the audience and the dignitaries. The crew led by Pratishtha was welcomed at Indira Gandhi International Airport by her kathak admirers from National Institute of Kathak Dance, and her family members. She gives the credit of her achievements to her parents and husband CA Dheeraj Saraswat who are always by her side to guide, help and motivate.

She has performed extensively in India as well as the U.S.A., Japan, Indonesia, Iceland and many other countries. She had the honor to be the member of cultural crew gone to Iceland and London with President APJ Abdul Kalaam and perform in the presence of Presidents of the two countries.

Pratishtha gives the credit of all her achievements to her parents, Guru Pandit Rajendra Gangani and her husband.

अरब देशों का बैनर न्यूज़ बनी नत्यांगना प्रतिष्ठा

अरब देशों का बैनर न्यूज़ बनी नत्यांगना प्रतिष्ठा

तीन राज्यों के गवर्नोर और अनेक राजदूत भी जुटे अद्भुत नृत्य प्रस्तुति में

यह पहला मौका था जब भारत का "यत्र विश्वं भवत्येक नीडम्" यानी 'विश्व परिवार' का सन्देश देने वाली अध्यात्मिक विरासत पर आधारित कत्थक नृत्य प्रस्तुति का रस लेने के लिए 'यमन' और 'क़तर' जैसे अरब देशों के प्रमुख शहरों 'दोहा', 'सना', 'तायज़' और 'अदन' में भारत की कत्थक नृत्यांगना 'प्रतिष्ठा शर्मा' को देखने सुनने के लिए न सिर्फ नृत्य रसिक बल्कि विविध धर्मों के लोग तीन राज्यों के गवर्नोर यमन के संस्कृति मंत्री भारत समेत अनेक देशों के राजदूत मीडिया और राजनयिक जुटे.

आई. सी. सी. आर द्वारा आयोजित अरब देशों में प्रतिष्ठा शर्मा के दो हफ्ते के प्रवास में कत्थक नृत्य की थिरकन से बंधे क़तर देश वासियों के प्रतिष्ठा के प्रति आकर्षण का परिणाम ये रहा की उसकी नृत्य प्रस्तुतियों को दोनों देशों के सामूहिक आयोजन का रूप दे दिया गया. यमन में हुई हर नृत्य प्रस्तुति में भारतीय राजदूत- यमन प्रवीण वर्मा स्वयं उपस्थित रहे व् यमन के संस्कृति मंत्री मोहमद अबू बकर अल मफ्लाही ने कार्यक्रम की सराहना करते हुए कहा "इस तरह की नृत्य प्रस्तुतियां भारत से हमारे संबंधों को और गहरा कर देती हैं" . दुनिया की सबसे छोटी उम्र की योगाचार्या होने का गौरव पा चुकी प्रतिष्ठा 'पद्म श्री" योगिराज भारत भूषण जी की पुत्री हैं, प्रतिष्ठा के योग कार्यक्रम कई टीवी चैनल्स पर आते हैं व् इन पर भगवान् शिव के योगिराज व् नटराज दोनों ही स्वरूपों की कृपा होने के कारण उनका योग व् शास्त्रीय नृत्य में सामान अधिकार है. अपनी प्रस्तुति में प्रतिष्ठा ने राम व् कृष्ण की कहानियों के माध्यम से प्रत्येक मनुष्य में स्थित नव रसों का ज्ञान करवाया.

प्रतिष्ठा शर्मा ने कत्थक नृत्य को लीक से हट कर एक नयी परिभाषा दी और प्रतिष्ठा की नृत्य प्रस्तुति को अरब देशों के 'क़तर ट्रिब्यून नेशन', 'यमन टाईम्स' , 'अल्ताब्राह', 'यमन अब्ज़र्वर' व् 'तवाराह' जैसे अखबारों ने न सिर्फ प्रमुखता से छापा बल्कि ये वहां के अखबारों का बैनर न्यूज़ बन गया. क़तर की राजधानी दोहा में संस्कृति केंद्र के अध्यक्ष श्री वर्गीस व् जनरल सेक्रेटरी हबिबुल्नाबी के आलावा अरब के कई नृत्य प्रेमी उपस्थित थे व् कार्यक्रम का उद्घाटन किया भारतीय राजदूत दीपा गोपालन वाधवा व् जापान के राजदूत यूकियो कित्ज़ुमे ने.

अदन के पेलेस्तिन हॉल में प्रतिष्ठा की नृत्य प्रस्तुति में मोजूद अदन फ्री ज़ोन के चीफ अब्दुल गलील अल शोहाबी ने यमन और भारत के बीच आर्थिक व्यावसायिक व् सांस्कृतिक संबंधों की चर्चा करते हुए भारत की महान सांस्कृतिक विरासत का उल्लेख किया और कहा की प्रतिष्ठा शर्मा ने जो समान संस्कृति की नींव अपने नाच के माध्यम से डाली है उसे और अधिक प्रोत्साहन की ज़रूरत है, उससे यमन और भारत के बीच आर्थिक व् व्यावसायिक ही नहीं बल्कि अन्य क्षेत्रों में भी सहयोग को बल मिलेगा.

स्वदेश लौटने पर नयी दिल्ली स्थित कत्थक नृत्य के राष्ट्रिय संस्थान के नर्तकों व् शास्त्रीय नृत्य प्रेमियों ने हवाई अड्डे पर उसका स्वागत किया तो उसकी अगवानी को मोजूद उसके पिता 'पद्मश्री' योगिराज भारत भूषण, माँ इष्ट शर्मा, पति धीरज सारस्वत, राष्ट्र वंदना मिशन अध्यक्ष व् शहीद भगत सिंह के भतीजे किरनजीत संधू व् मोक्षायतन इंटरनेशनल योगाश्रम परिवार के मुख्य साधकों को देख प्रतिष्टा भाव विभोर हो उठी. प्रतिष्ठा इससे पहले और कई देशों में अपनी नृत्य प्रस्तुति दे चुकी हैं जैसे - अमेरिका, जापान, इंडोनेशिया, आइसलैंड इत्यादि. भारतीय राष्ट्रपति अबुल कलम जी के संस्कृतिक मंडली का हिस्सा बन प्रतिष्ठा भारत व् आइसलैंड दोनों राष्ट्रपतियों के समक्ष आइसलैंड में भी अपनी प्रस्तुति दे चुकी हैं. प्रतिष्ठा अपनी सारी सफलता का श्री अपने माता पिता गुरु पंडित राजेंद्र गंगानी व् अपने पति को देती हैं.

QUESTIONS asked by Acharyaa Pratishtha after her return from Gulf

1. When and how did you learn that a program had been chalked out for your tour to Gulf ? Why Gulf ?

As I’m an empanelled artist of ICCR- Indian Council for cultural relations, infact the youngest empanelled artist of ICCR, they send Eminent artists from India to other countries to promote and explore Indian culture. I ve been doing regular programs of ICCR and in continuation of that I got a call regarding this program. First they wanted to give 6 to 7 countries and it was scheduled to be a month long trip but b’coz of my prior engagements here at India I requested them to half the time i.e. 15 days and just three countries. This trip was scheduled for August 2009 but b’coz of RAMZAAN it was shifted to October.

2. Who had accompanied you ? Did you know all of them already?

As it was a SOLO PERFORMANCE tour (very few artists get SOLO PERFORMANCE tour from ICCR, generally they go in groups) hence I took 4 musicians with me on Table, Vocal, Sarangi and padant/ Poetry recitation.
All these were my regular accompanists and I was the only one who selected and recommended their names.

3. Had you been to Gulf before ?

No! it was my first ever tour to Gulf, though I’ve visited Japan, Indonesia, Iceland, London, Singapore, USA and lot more but to Gulf this was my first tour.

4. What preparations were needed by you and the group before reaching there?

Well… I took lot of new and beautiful costumes with me and most imp part is that all costumes were stitched at my beautiful Saharanpur , of course TWO pair of ghoonghroos as in case 1 gets damaged, same way table player was carrying two pair of Tablas. Then in our personal tours we take special care of the packing b’coz almost at every airport the authorities open and check our luggage b’coz of UNUSSUAL stuff like ghoonghroos, tabla, sarangi, lot of jewelry but in such trips that are sponsored by GOVT OF INDIA we are allotted WHITE PASSPOSRT i.e. DIPLOMATIC PASSPORT so we get VIP treatment everywhere and no checking problem exists hence we really were comfortable and didn’t prepared a lot. 

But yes as ‘m strictly vegetarian hence I always have to do lot of preparations regarding my food. I always carry lot of ready to made vegetarian food with me and as it was Gulf so I did a bit more preparation.

5. What specific themes had you planned for the tour ? Any specific reasons ? Were you briefed about the tastes of the audience there?

MMMM… not exactly! I wasn’t briefed about the taste of the audience there but yes I knew that they like GHAZALS and all more… but still my theme was “DANCE WITH DIVINE” coz I was sent there to promote and explore Indian Culture. What they watch regularly and they are used to of watching… I too go there and show them the same then what would be new? Or what would be my contribution? As dance is not at all a mere set of physical movements and specially KATHAK is such a dance form through which we can always keep the great stories of great men ALIVE. Hence I chose this theme and by the God’s Grace and my parents blessings it was liked and appreciated like anything else  This was the theme which was published with the invitations as well:
‘Dance with Divine’

Each individual is destined to cross the ocean of joys and sorrows all through his life, experiencing the truth of life and finally blend in Divine. The nine emotions (Rasas) are the root of entire literature composed in all languages and all human activities. Dance is there to express these states of human mind and lead him finally to ultimate Rasa the ‘Aanand’ or the ‘bliss’. Different great men born in different ages in different corners of this beautiful world have added a lot to enrich our lives. Such two great heroes born in India are ‘Rama’ and ‘Krishna’.
Pratishtha Sharma the world acclaimed dancer par excellence has brought her globally acclaimed performance based on the tales of Rama & Sita and Krishna & Radha for us to present how the nine rasas add color to our lives and how we can go beyond the bondages of ‘Karma’ through the path of Nishkam Karm Yoga (Self less service). Pratishtha’s presentations have nothing to do with any particular faith, sect or religion but she is blessed with a vision to see the different cultures of our beautiful world enriching the human race with true religion that has been leading us to continuous evolution.
The presentation begins with Krishna Stuti i.e. appreciation of Krishna the perfection (the word ‘Krishna’ means dark-as the Divine is dark and abstract for all unless we realize Him). All the nine Rasas are depicted in the next Thaat. Different Rasas are beautifully displayed through different incidents of Maryada Purushottam Ram and Sita’s life that is in true sense the applied form of Rasas.
The beautiful depiction of the tales of Krishna’s incarnation and Lord Shiva witnessing this rare incidence, incidents of Makhan chori (Butter stealing) by Krishna as butter symbolizes the Essence of life or the Rasa. Tales of Kalia Mardan (controlling the evils of the society), Incident of Govardhan Dhaaran (saving the people of Brij from the torturing of Lord Indra [the god of rains] by developing Govardhan mountain). After living and tasting all the different Rasas finally meeting Radha the fair consciousness as radha is depicted as fair in complexion.
This presentation concludes with Radha Krishna Milan or the merger of individual with Divine as all rivers move from the places of their origin and after covering a long journey across mountains and plains, narrows and broads finally blend in to vast ocean. This is the state of true joy which is presented by Pratishtha with Paniharin (filling her pot with the nectar from the source) and Holi (the festival of rejoice and colors). This rejoice concludes in the wonderful and rare dialogue of music and the movement of the dancer called Jugal bandi and the message of karma (Duty)and Yatra Vishwam Bhavatyek Needam (world brotherhood) through holy text Srimad Bhagwadgita.

6. Did the spectators also know you beforehand ?

My profiles, Brief about me were attached with the invitations there and moreover the INTERNET is a big medium these days so no. of viewers came and met me and told me “Oh earlier we thot KATHAK????? Who the hell will go to witness a kathak performance? But then we searched for you on net and we were just amazed!!!! You are a miracle of kathak and that insisted us to come here and be a part of this great show”.
And then out of my expectation number of spectators were regular viewers of my Yoga Show at Zee Network so it gave me a wonderful feeling 

7. How many shows were planned for you?

Seven shows were there in total.

8. Did you feel any language barrier between you and your spectators ? How was the rapport with them ?

Only at ‘Yemen’ language problem was there otherwise everywhere English was understood by all and specially at Qatar more than English Hindi was common. At Yemen I used very simple English language and I learned few of the Arabic words like “KAIF HALAK” “TAMAAM” “SHUKRAN” and I also took a very common LOK GEET in Arabic , composed it hand to hand and concluded the show with that Arabic LOK GEET and in result of that viewers gave a standing ovation. I told them in the beginning only “Of course there is a language problem every where and this might be the reason that BHARAT MUNI mentions different rasas in natya shastra, language of emotions if far more better than words and today you and me will connect through that language only- language of emotions, language of dance!”

9. Do you have any video recordings of the programs? Can we use 1 or 2 minute clips on our website ?

No we don’t have videos  But yes lot of pics are there, you can for sure use those pics 

10. What appealed you most during this tour ? Would you care to go there again ?

The most important and appealing part was the involvement of GOVT. specially at YEMEN. Mr. Praveen Verma, Ambassador of India, YEMEN and Mr. Mahendra Khurana, First secretary, Indian Embassy, YEMEN was with us each and every movement of our 4 day stay there which gave a very warm hospitality feeling and along with these eminent Indian officials presence of YEMEN Officials – specially MINISTER OF CULTURE, YEMEN in every show was a wonderful and warm feeling.
Especially at Qatar the involvement of ICC i.e. Indian cultural centre, a kind of Indian association was just awesome. They made wonderful arrangements for everything and at Qatar it was a home like feeling.
Response of viewers was just amazing they could understand everything and they even explained me the deepest of expressions of my performance and out of our expectations they liked the MAKHAN CHORI, PANIHARAN and RAMAYANA a lot in the entire performance.
Of course I would love to visit there again.

11. How the spectators in Gulf countries are different from others- if they are different ?

Yes they are different as I’ve mentioned earlier their understanding level was really good apart from the language problem as well. According to me the reason is that somewhere there roots are here only that’s why they could understand and enjoy MAKHAN CHORI, PANIHARAN, RAMAYANA and DIFFERENT LILAS OF KRISHNA.
And secondly they don’t get much opportunity to witness such performances there hence they really enjoyed it.