Report by OD bureau; Bhubaneswar: Acclaimed Odissi dancer Rajashri Praharaj enthralled audience in 7th Devdasi National Festival 2012 on 25th September 2012 at Rabindra Mandap.
Rajashri perform an episode from Tulsidas's Ramcharit Manas - "Seeta Haran". Original dance which was composed by revered Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra. The choreographic adaptation by Guru Ratikant Mohapatra and the music is composed by Pt. Raghunath Panigrahi.
The theme of the Seeta Haran has taken from the epic Ramayana, this is a deeply moving tale of trust, betrayal, of devotion and the pain of separation.
Sita spots a pretty deer roaming in the woods, covets the beautiful animal and pleads with husband Rama to get it for her. Poor Sita is unaware that the deer actually is an impersonation craftily arranged by demon king Ravana. Suddenly a desperate cry, seeming to come from lord Rama himself, resounds in the forest, a distressed cry summoning Lakshmana to rush to the aid of his brother. Unaware of the magical powers of Ravana, Sita orders Lakshmana to rush to Rama’s aid. Lakshmana as previously instructed by Lord Rama refuses to leave Sita even for a moment. A furious Sita orders Lakshmana to go to the help of his brother, even accusing the dutiful Lakshmana of harbouring sinful designs on her. Very reluctantly, Lakshmana leaves but only after drawing three lines across the threshold of their cottage. He instructs Sita never, never to cross the three lines for her own safety.
While Lakshmana goes in search of the deer, Ravana appears suddenly at Sita’s doorstep; in the guise of a mendicant begging for alms. When Sita declines to cross the three lines, the Lakshmana Rekha as it is known, the wily demon king commands her to come to him and give alms with respect. An unsuspecting Sita overwhelmed by the persuasive power of the wily demon, does the unthinkable. She crosses the three lines, and Ravana abducts her onto the aerial chariot – his Pushpaka Vimana, and flies away towards his kingdom – Lanka. Jatayu, the ever faithful follower of Lord Rama, witnesses this terrible event, and rushes to fight with Ravana and rescue Sita from her terrible fate.
Jatayu is dismembered by the all powerful demon-king; after dealing a death blow to the valiant Jatayu, Ravana spirits Sita away to Lanka and she, the hapless captive, with no hope of rescue, desperately cries out for Rama and Lakshmana.
Here ends our story and thus begins the great Indian epic – the Ramayana – the absorbing tale of the ultimate triumph of good over evil.
It should be noted that Rajashri Praharaj is an accomplished artiste of the Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra gharana. She has been dancing since an early age. Her formal training in Srjan as a resident student under the able tutelage of her Guru Shri Ratikant Mohapatra, helped her to master the art and technique of Odissi. Rajashri has imbibed the essence of this style with purity and perfection. Her dance has the excellent blend of sensuous movement and graceful footwork with absolute control of laya.
She has performed widely as a soloist in India, and internationally. She has participated in Kal-ke-Kalakar of Sur Singar Samsad, Mumbai and won the "Sringaramani" title. And in the year 2007, the Nalanda Dance Research Centre, has awarded her the "Nalanda Nrutya Nipuna 2008" for her outstanding performance in Odissi dance.
Rajasri's performance in Odissi Dance Festival, organized by Orissa Sangeet Natak Academy - the New Indian Express in one of its reviews writes that – Rajashri's technical perfection combined with feminine grace gave glimpses of her bright future as a promising dancer with distinct signature of the Kelucharan 'Gharana'.
Rajashri holds a Master's Degree in Music from Utkal University of Culture, and also teaches dance to a variety of age-groups as one of the senior faculty members in Srjan (Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Odissi Nrityabasa).