Dance DISCourse – Kathak ki Kahani – Mujre ki Zubani

MSP_7764 - Copy.jpg
City: Bangalore
Location: Auditorium
Date: Fri, 2012/05/25 – 6:30pm

Based on Author’s Kavi Tilak Raj Tilak’s four poems



concept: Ashish Mohan Khokar
Artistic Direction: Nandini K Mehta & K Murali Mohan
Music: Composed by Praveen D Rao
Orchestra: Praveen D Rao


The story of Kathak partakes both of Nawabi courts of Lucknow and temple patrons of Jaipur, hence the two main gharanas or styles. The courtly etiquette found fervor  from the 18th century when the greatest patron of the art, the king of Awadh,  Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, himself danced in court dressed as Krishna, a reason enough for later day British residents like general Outram to annex his kingdom! Saying the king spent too much time seeking pleasure in dance and arts and thus was a misfit for running a kingdom as large as Awadh or Oudh or modern day Lucknow region.


Consequent to decline of nobility and its support to Kathak in the region, the artistes were left to fend for themselves and some ended up in world’s oldest profession, that of a courtesan, loosely called by the British “Nautch Girls” or Kothawalis in colloquial Hindi. The name stuck, and all through the 19th  century, the art flourished in this manner.


This production is penned by Bangalore’s resident Urdu poet and painter Shri Tilak Raj Tilak, who serves poetry and parantha in Indiranagar with the same flourish. When he penned this ode to the courtesan, we looked for a suitable artiste to represent this very complex theme. Most traditional dancers and gurus are limited by their social moorings and background and dare not touch the subject of a courtesan. Dancers from Lucknow or Delhi are unaffordable and busy doing group works and contemporary stuff. The choice was also on a group that would infuse freshness without being limited by form. And that team is Murlimohan Kalva and Nandini Mehta of Nadam.


The result is for all to see! Music set and composed by ace music man of Bangalore Pandit Praveen Rao and danced by Nandini Mehta and team. This celebrates Kavi Tilak Raj Tilak’s contribution to the enrichment of the city’s Urdu and Hindi poetic landscape, as his goshtis and baithaks on shaer-0-shairi are very popular and engages the cognoscenti and the connoisseur. Dance DISCourse is happy to be associated with this experiment on May 25th , a date close to poet Tilak Raj Tilaks’s heart.