Noted flautist Rajendra Prasanna, Kathak dancer Shobha Koser, folk singer Anwar Khan Manganiyar, and Odissi dancer Sujata Mohapatra among others were conferred with Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards by President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday.
In a ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the President awarded a total of 42 artists in five categories for the year 2017, including a joint award to Umakant and Ramakant Gundecha for their contribution in Hindustani vocal music.
Those awarded in the field of music include Hindustani vocalist Lalith J Rao, Tabla player Yogesh Samsi, flautist and shehnai player Rajendra Prasanna, Carnatic vocalist M S Sheela, Carnatic veena player Suma Sudhindra, Carnatic mridangam player Tiruvarur Vaidyanathan, Carnatic flautist Shashank Subramanyam, Madhurani and Haimanti Sukla for Sugam Sangeet, and Gurnam Singh for Gurbani.
A total of nine artists received awards for their contribution in the field of dance.
Rama Vaidyanathan for Bharatnatyam, Shobha Koser for Kathak, Madambi Subramanian Namboodiri for Kathakali, I N Oinam Ongbi Dhoni Devi for Manipuri dance, Deepika Reddy for Kuchipudi, Ramkrishna Talukdar for Sattriya, Janmajoy Saibabu for Chhau, and Ashit Desai (composer) received the award.
Talking to PTI on the sidelines of the event, Janmajoy Saibabu appreciated the recognition granted after “a continuous struggle for 47 years”.
“Of course the field is full of struggle but the joy of bringing your state’s culture in front of people is beyond words. I am hopeful that after seeing the art of chhau getting recognised more young people will come forward to keep it alive,” Saibabu said.
Nine noted artists from the field of theatre also received the prestigious award.
Abhiram Damodar Bhadkamkar for playwriting, Sunil Ganesh Shanbag and Bapi Bose for direction, Hema Singh, Deepak Virat Tiwari, and Anil Tickoo for acting, Nuruddin Ahmed for stagecraft, Avtar Sahni for lighting, and Shougrakpam Hemanta Singh for Manipur’s Shuman Leela received the award in the field of theatre.
Ten eminent artistes were facilitated for their contribution in the field of traditional art forms including folk and tribal music, dance, theatre, and puppetry.
Anwar Khan Manganiyar for Rajasthani folk music, Prakash Dahadeo Khandge for Maharashtra’s folk arts, Jagannath Bayan for Assam’s traditional music (Khol), Ramachandra Manjhi for Bihar’s folk music, Rakesh Kumar Tiwari for Chhattisgarh’s folk theatre, Parvathy Baul for West Bengal’s folk music (Baul), Sarvjeet Kaur for Punjabi folk music, KC Runremsangi for Mizoram’s folk music, Mukund Nayak for Jharkhand’ folk music, and Sudip Gupta for West Bengal’s puppetry were awarded in the category.
The West Bengal folk music, Baul, made it to the awards for the first time.
Calling it her “life’s mission” to take Baul across the world, Parvathy Baul felt content with the recognition the art form has received.
“I have practised all these years, more than that I have practised ‘saadhana’. Those who want to take it forward and create something new will have to focus on the inner sadhana. Baul or any art form should not be taken up as a career option,” the folk singer said.
Anwar Khan Manganiyar also said that “the younger generations should learn from their ancestors, else this art will be forgotten”.
“Every child that is born in Rajasthan is born with music in his blood, but they also have to follow in the footsteps of their fathers, grandfathers to continue this legacy. I’m thankful to the government for recognising the artists and their art,” Manganiyar told PTI.
Sandhya Purecha for her overall contribution and Vijay Verma for his scholarship in the field of performing arts also received the award.