– BARTLETT, Ill.
Maharashtra Mandal Chicago (MMC) celebrated Makar Sankranti on Jan. 19 at the Jain Center here. About 380 people participated in an evening of fun and entertainment, according to a press release.
Lord Ganesha was first invoked through a group dance by Radhika Joshi, Vaidehi Talegaokar, Anuja Gadgil, Priyanka Mehendale, Radhika Akolkar and Samrudhi Joshi describing his appearance with single tusk and crooked trunk (ekadantaya vakratundaya). Women exchanged haldi and kumkum to mark their married status and wish long lives for their husbands.
This was followed by a fusion of traditional and classical dances performed by Chicagoland youth artists Priyanka Mehendale, Radhika Mistry, Samruddhi Joshi, Radhika Akolkar and Anuja Gadgil.
The Soor Pravas item, directed and produced by MMC President Vidya Joshi, recapitulated the musical journey of Marathi films from 1932 to 2013.
Music direction was by Vaishali Dande, with Dhananjay Kunte on the tabla, and vocals by Vikas Falnikar, Vaishali Dhande, Anita Navkal, Anand Navdikar, Divya Khandekar, Jagdish Prabhu, Asavari Javeri, Mohit Dhande, Ravi Joshi and Nupur Khanvilkar. Gondhal and Lavani are both dance forms of Maharashtra. Gondhal consists of dramatic narration of mythical stories, praise of heroes or narration of folk legends, within a ritual dedicated to different divinities.
Though traditionally performed exclusively by a group of men, it was performed here by women – Saloni Nagarkar, Sanika Dev and Savni Nagarkar. Lavani, a combination of song and dance always performed by women wearing nine-yard-long saris to fast tempo beaten on the dholak, is noted for its powerful rhythm and erotic sentiment. It was performed by Rucha Deshpande, Samrudhi Joshi, Aneri Bamne, Bhargavi Ogale and Radhika Akolkar.
The second half of the program consisted of MMC 2013 calendar inauguration and volunteer appreciation. The Indian fare served included gul poli, specially shipped in from Mumbai. Two MMC volunteers took family pictures.
The lucky draw winner of the quiz contest on Makar Sankranti was given a gift card.