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The stage was set with the orchestra in the background and a screen projecting renowned faces of Indian cinema right from Dadasaheb Phalke to Ranbir Kapoor. Songs that are associated with the inception of Bollywood such as K L Saigal's Ik Bangla Bane Nyara, was perfect to set the mood of the audience to gear up for a cinematic journey. Organised by Maithilee's Academy of Performing Arts (MAPA), this concert, held on September 14 at Yashwantrao Chavan Natyagruha, was the first of the ten concerts that are a tribute to Indian cinema and celebrate a century. After presenting nine more shows in Pune, that will span till the end of this year, MAPA aims to take the concert to other cities across the country.
"Clubbing a hundred years of cinema and covering the era of Jab Dil Hi Toot Gaya (Shahjehan, 1946) to Chikni Chameli (Agneepath, 2012), in three hours, was an ordeal. The idea was to give a demonstration of the different genres that affected Indian cinema through the years," says Maithilee Page-Kadam, founder MAPA, who choreographed the dance performances in the show.
Page-Kadam mentions that a lot of research has gone into making the costumes and bringing the feel of cinema of that period on stage through the performances. The dancers who performed at the show, were selected through auditions held at Jog Ram Mandir, Law College Road. Only 20 students were selected out of over 500 entries. "Since the dancers are around 18 years to 25 years, they could not relate to the black and white era. So, we showed them videos of old songs so that they could pick up the expressions, body language and movements," she describes.
The show, which was held in Pune on Friday will be re-staged without any additions or changes in future. The event began with a demonstration of Indian classical forms of dance with devotional music worshipping Lord Ganesha and Krishna that influenced Indian cinema during the 1930s. Vocalists like Jitendra Bhuru, who holds a world record for singing Kishore Kumar songs for ten hours non-stop, Prashant Naseri, Reshmi Mukharjee, Rupali Ghogre and Ashwini Kurpe took the audience on a melodious journey through songs like Nache Mann Mora, Inhi Logon Ne, Pyar Ki Ye Kahani Suno and more. The dancers performed on songs like Shola Jo Bhadke (Albela, 1951), Yeh Mera Dil (Don,1978) , Hum Kale Hai (Gumnaam, 1965) and Jai Ho (Slumdog Millionaire, 2008) in the grand finale. While the set remained the same throughout the concert, the costumes of the dancers were detailed to bring out the flavour of the prevailing fashion trends that were set off by the songs of that era. For instance, Shola Jo Bhadke had girls dressed in frilly polka dotted frocks and flower accessories. The song, Kahe Mohe Chede (Devdas, 2002) had dancers dressed in flowy ghagra cholis and Yeh Mera Dil had the popular golden dress.