Baripada, December 10 (LocalWire): Where there is a will there is a way and Subhashree Mukharjee, an ardent lover of Odissi and Chhau, the traditional dance form of Odisha, has proved it even though it took him three years to take a team of Chhau artists to the international stage.
Her biggest success came when the team comprising eight Chhau artists, including five dancers and three musicians from Mayurbhanj boarded the airplane for the first time in their life to crossing international boundaries and perform in Trinidad and Tobago Island in West Indies and in Guinea.
The team not only enthralled the audiences with its performances, but also earned accolades from the high commissioners in the host countries.
It all started in copybook style at the drawing board with Mukharjee, along with another connoisseur of Odia culture Bibhudatta Das drew a road map to take Chhau global and presented it to the then district collector Rajesh Prabhakar Patil.
Patil was quick to agree with the proposal and they soon got on to the mission, which included identifying established yet neglected artists, and training the newcomers in two groups—junior and senior.
“The troupe has been able to achieve success only because of the encouragement and help provided by the then collector Patil.
We traveled extensively to all blocks and panchayats to find out the artists who were no longer in troupes.
Further orientation and training for fresher was imparted,” Mukharjee said.
Mukherjee’s initiative was part of the Project Chhauni, and is supported by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).
According to her, the troupe would be making 12 performances on stage and hold four workshops.
“The flight expenditure is being by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), while the lodging, boarding, and remunerations are being looked after by the concerned state High Commissioners.
“Ever since the troupe was set, the artists have performed at over 50 places including outside the state.
This is the first occasion they have got a chance to perform overseas after going through a stringent selection procedure of ICCR,” Project Chhauni director Das said.
The project is being managed by a trust with Patil as the managing trustee, while Mukherjee serves as its executive director.