Pujita Krishna – Dancer, Writer, Actor and Educator, is all set to helm the maiden two-day The Feet On Earth Festival at the Salarjung Museum Auditorium on 22nd and 23rd October. There are many talented artists, who will be performing at the two-day festival, including Pujita herself. Speaking to Natyahasini, Pujita reveals that she had been planning this Festival for a long time. “I had planned this Festival before Covid. Then Covid happened. Now after two-and-a-half-years, I am hosting this festival to break off the inertia, and to coincide with the festivities as Dussehra was celebrated recently and Diwali is round the corner,” she says.
The multi-talented Pujita states that the vision propelling this initiative is a desire to honour and celebrate arts, culture, history and ecology as she firm believes that none of these are mutually exclusive of one another. She says that the choice of Salarjung Museum is deliberate – A historical building on the banks of the much-forgotten Musi River. The Kuchipudi dancer shares that her intent is to invite senior consummate artists from around the country, but also to give space to younger, promising artists. “Odissi dancer Sharmila Biswas, Yakshagana dancer Keremane Shridhara Hegde, Kuchipudi dancer Srividya Angara, Kathak dancer and theatre artist Pallavi Verma, Bharatanatyam dancer Nenita Praveen and Kuchipudi dancer Sannidha Rajasagi will be performing,” says the organiser.
Sangeet Natak Akademi Awardee Sharmila Biswas, who rarely performs in Hyderabad, has agreed to perform at the Feet On Earth Festival. Sharmila, prominent student of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, has been promoting Odissi Dance and Music for the last 30 years. She was the Dance Director of late Rituparno Ghosh’s award-winning film Chitrangada.
First Time In Hyderabad: Also, Keremane Shridhara Hegde, the sixth-generation artist of the Keremane shyli (style) of Bayalata or Yakshagana from South Karnataka has never performed in Hyderabad. “Bayalata actually means play on open field and rasikas must not miss this opportunity,” she says.
Pujita states that Naishitha Reddy Kasarla is the featured visual artist at the Feet on Earth Festival this year. A self-taught artist, professionally trained as an engineer, and interior decorator, Naishitha has a natural flair for creatively expressing her thoughts, ideas and emotions on any canvas. Whether it is colourful oils, soothing water colours or plain pencil sketches, her work is very appealing and therapeutic. Each artwork reveals aspects of her inner desire and passion for showcasing some lush landscape, age-old tradition, or a graceful personality. “A small sample of her works will be showcased at the festival, especially an abstract painting inspired by the degeneration of the Musi river – this is in keeping with our motif this year, ‘Apah’,” the dancer says.
Watch-Out: The multi-talented Pujita is presenting Pallavi Verma – a trained kathak dancer and a theatre performer- founder of Kriti Stories and Nenita Praveen – a Bharatnatyam dancer, who is also a student of and dancer in Daksha Seth’s contemporary ensemble, together in ‘Leher’ which takes off on the motif of ‘Apah’ for this year’s festival. Engineer turned dancer, Srividya Angara – rising star in the Kuchipudi world will be presenting the Vempati style of Kuchipudi. Srividya is a choreographer with several independent projects to her credit. Sannidha Rajasagi, who hails from Vishakhapatnam, is currently pursuing her Master’s in Kuchipudi at the University of Hyderabad.
Pujita, who is popular for her diversity and versatility, will be opening the Festival. With close to over 20 years of experience as a performing artist, Pujita has been noted for her performances in Kuchipudi and Vilasini Natyam, will perform the Guru Uma Rama Rao style of Kuchipudi.