Podcast Host: Piyush Shinde
Guest Interview: Jhelum Paranjape
Jhelum Paranjape is the founder of Smitalay. Dance has been a way of life for her since childhood. For a number of years, she performed in the dance ballets staged by the Rashtra Seva Dal Kalapathak under the direction of noted poet Vasant Bapat and tutelage of Shri Ramesh Purav. The troupe has presented several memorable shows. Maharashtra Darshan, Bharat Darshan, Shiv Darshan and Azadi Ki Jung can be cited as particularly noteworthy productions. Since 1977, she has dedicated herself to the pursuit of Odissi dance. Starting her training with Guru Shankar Behera, she has -since 1980 until his death in 2004 - been training with the doyen of Odissi dance, Padmavibhushan Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra. She has been actively performing since 1983. Late Smita Patil was her active partner when she began her training in Odissi with Shankar Behera. She was her friend & mentor. It was through her that she was introduced to Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra.
● I’ll start with a very interesting question.. I saw a video on youtube which was put by your students of SMITALAY where you are the director. It was about a surprise they had planned for your birthday on carter road in Mumbai. The entire cohort, on your arrival, wished you happy birthday with the help of choreographed Odissi dance steps! That was amazing! My question stems out from the very act of love showered towards you through the dance poses. So Conveying messages, social or otherwise through Odissi dance form is something Smitalay does?
● The graceful poses of Odissi dance bring to my mind breathtaking sculptures on the temples in India. Do these poses signify anything speciﬁc? Which is your favourite pose and why?
● How would you explain Odissi dancing to a commoner who loosely thinks that Bharatnatyam and Odissi are same! And its classic dancing at the end of the day What was the origin of this dance form?
● Odissi is claimed to be the earliest classical dance based on archaeological evidence. What has changed from then till now? Were there any additions, tweaks to the dance form over the years which has been practised across generations? Or it remains the same even today?
● There is an interesting story about your friendship with Late Smita Patil. Can you recall on when did you meet her ﬁrst and what was the conversation and when was the last time you met her?
● You have named your academy after her, if not for her would smitalay still exist?
● Friendship has changed in modern times, it craves for social media attention. One thing you would like to tell about her friendship which we rarely ﬁnd nowadays
● You have come a long way in terms of your contribution to the Classical dance form. It is in so many ways unparalleled. Now dating back, please shed some light on that moment that actually triggered you to do what you are doing, which altered the course of your life. The mug and bucket moment, which deﬁned who you are today!