Hema Malini’s annual tribute to her mother Jaya Chakravarthy returns this weekend to the Nehru Centre. This year, Jaya Smriti celebrates Stree Shakti (woman power) through dance and drama, music and films, painting and photography contests and workshops. “Everyone talks about women empowerment, yet we continue to face problems,” explains Malini, who will be performing two dance ballets on Mahalakshmi and Durga.
“They are the goddesses whose blessings we seek through the Diwali week and who embody power.” The actor-danseuse points out that people like watching dance ballets, and since our folklore is rich, they can easily lend themselves to a six-hour recital.
“But organisers don’t want me to perform for more than an hour-and-a-half. This gives me a chance to constantly improvise on content and technicalities and there’s no feeling of déjà vu,” she says. “Playing Durga or Lakshmi helps cleanse the soul and gives me a sense of purpose.”
Her younger daughter Aahana has been penciled in for an Odissi recital on the opening day. But older daughter Esha, who recently tied the knot, will be missing in action this year. “Esha’s going on a holiday with her family,” says mom Hema Malini.
Jaya Smriti offers a showcase for young talents and one of the attractions this year is an all-women fusion band. “I’ve heard a lot about the White Lilies and am looking forward to seeing them. The idea of an all-girl band is exciting because usually they’re about boys with the girls only playing the flute or violin. We also have a fusion violin recital by two sisters,” says Malini. “We’re also having photography and painting contests and have invited youngsters to make short films on the subject. The winning entries will get a bigger platform.”
Quiz her on her film and TV
assignments and she says, “As of now, there’s nothing, but I like the kind of work being done and am open to anything that challenges me creatively. I’ve never planned anything in my life.”
Day one: Performance by
all-women fusion band White Lilies, a Kathak recital by Pooja Pant and Aahana Deol’s Odissi presentation.
Day two: Kabir, a one-act play by Shekhar Sen, and an educative workshop by Kathak exponent Sunayana Hazarilal. Later, there is an Odissi recital by Mitali Varadakar, a fusion violin act by sisters Ragini and Nandini and a dance ballet, Mahalakshmi, by Hema Malini.
Day three: Rabindra Sangeet by Indrani with her Shahana group and Odissi workshop by Shubhada Varadkar. Later in the evening, East meets West, a fusion dance by young girls, followed by a short film, photography and painting contests and a performance on Durga by Hema Malini. The recipient of this year’s Jaya Chakravarthy Award, Bhushan Lakhandri, will be honoured for his contributions as a director-choreographer in the field of classical and contemporary dance.