Hema Malini’s yearly tribute to her mother, the late Jaya Chakravatrti, will see daughters Esha and Ahana Deol perform together. Organised in the memory of Hema’s mother, who was also a classical dancer, Jaya Smriti aims to encourage young classical dancers and honour personalities from music and dance fields.
Dancers from Mumbai and Kolkata will perform a variety of dance forms such as Kathak, Odissi, Manipuri and Kathakali. "My grandmother was a great promoter of new talent. She was the one responsible for introducing my mother to classical dance," says Esha. Esha and Ahana say performing at the tribute is very special as they both shared a loving relationship with their grandmother.
"My mother was very supportive of all the art forms. She supported young girls for their Arangetrams financially. Initially, Dharamji was not keen on Esha and Ahana learning dance. But now he extends his full support and is in awe of them," says Hema. Esha reveals that as children, both the sisters were reluctant to learn dance and their grandmother was glad when they finally got around to learning it. "Grandmother was very strict with our mother with regard to dancing. However, she was always lenient with us and mom would exclaim how unfair it was," laughs Ahana.
"Grandmother would give me tips to help me improve my dance and show me how to be more graceful and expressive. I would go to her for advice. We would even paint together. Performing at her tribute is going to be emotional. She was truly an inspiration," recollects Esha. Ahana remembers her grandmother as a friendly, humourous and powerful woman. "I have learnt a lot from her. She was very affectionate and we would have a lot of fun together," remembers Ahana.
Upcoming dancers Vishal Krishna, Renjish Nair, Tanushree Das, Aparna Mane and Mahiri dancers will perform at the tribute. This year onward, Natyavihar Kalakendra will be honouring Ravindra Jain and Dr Kanak Rele, from music and dance fields.