A Musical on the day will keep the monotony at bay!
The event was conceptualized and managed by KKings Events. The dance drama was directed and choreographed by Sumit Khetan. The event was attended by nearly five hundred guests.
Gitikka Ganju Dhar played the role of Sutradhaar at a social space event that had been curated with utmost thrust on content. Not that she has not been roped in earlier for wedding events that were entertainment capsules and were pieces of art, adorned with superlative content, but the occasions have been far and few between. In her humble capacity as an anchor and content curator, she has constantly urged entertainment planners at wedding events to draw from India’s rich reservoir of culture. It excites her to see professionals like Monil Shah, MD of KKings Events take the less trodden path and attempt to rise above the customary, regular and routine fair of size, scale and star power.
So, the occasion was the Munj Sanskar of the two sons of a Maharashtrian business family settled in Mumbai. The ceremony was held at the St. Regis Mumbai in the month of November. The event was conceptualized and managed by KKings Events. The dance drama was directed and choreographed by Sumit Khetan. The event was attended by nearly five hundred guests.
For the few readers who may not be aware and that is an perfectly acceptable gap in general awareness, the Munj Sanskar is widely known as Upanayana and it literally means - The act of leading to or near the eye or vision. Upanayana is one of the traditional rites of passage that marks the acceptance of a student by a guru and an individual's entrance to a school in Hinduism. Upanayana is an elaborate ceremony that includes rituals involving the family, the child, priests and the teacher. During this ceremony, the child receives a sacred thread called Yajñopaveetam that he then adorns. Traditionally, in ancient India, this ceremony was to be done before the age of twelve. In the modern era, the Upanayana rite of passage is open to anyone at any age. The Upanayana was restricted in many medieval Indian texts to the upper three of the four varnas or castes of society, namely the Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas. However, Vedic period texts such as the Baudhāyana Grihyasutra encouraged all members of society to undergo the Upanayana, even the Shudras. This division of society, thankfully, no longer exists in the modern world. In ancient India, women were also encouraged to undergo Upanayana before they started Vedic studies or before their wedding.
As the members of the creative crew walked into the venue, they were delighted to see women, men and children attired in traditional Maharashtrian attire. The décor, the installations in the pre-function area and the stage set were all designed keeping in mind the regional flavor of the event. Detailing was achieved to a certain degree, limited by the dictates of the budget. But, overall, the aura of the setting delighted the senses and enveloped all present in a blanket of divine scents, scenes and serenity.
The proceedings began by invoking blessings from Lord Ganesh, the elephant-headed God of the Hindu pantheon, the God of good beginnings. As the Ganesh Poojan began on a specially created dais and the core family members paid obeisance to the Lord, the Ganesh Vandana was simultaneously performed by artists on the performance stage. Ganesh Vandana was followed by the Sutradhaar narrating to the audience, a rivetting tale from Lord Ganesha’s life. The artists then enacted the mythological tale through a dance drama while the Ganesh Poojan continued. Ganesh Poojan was followed by the rituals of Chul Karma, Abyang and the Mangalashtaka ceremony. Each step, each ritual, each ceremony was depicted and explained through dance, drama and the words of the Sutradhaar on the performance stage as the vidhi, the rituals continued on the special stage erected for the family. The hosts were very keen that the guests, many of them from the new generation, understand the myriad intricacies of the rituals. The highlight of the entire dance drama was the depiction of the power of the Gayatri Mantra and the sequence depicting Bhikshawaad, where the boys went asking for bheeksha to village hut installations on stage, uttering the words - 'Om bhavati bhikshaam day'. The Navgraha pooja was performed, the evening was capped by a Grand Matrubhojan.
It was a novel concept and effort by the managing experiential agency. In the context of the fading glory of Indian customs and traditions, such endeavors by the experiential industry will go a long way to help preserve fast paling treasure of our heritage. Also, curating such capsules of entertainment is a refreshing change not only for live performing artists but also for the audiences at Indian social events.
Here’s to many more musicals at Indian social events.
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