Wednesday, December 24, 2014



( Photograph of Kashmiri Opera VITASTA performed by Artists from J&K state at New Delhi in February 1977 )

In Germany,opera lost its   spark and lure    after the death of Richard Wagner ( 1813-1883). Wagner revolutionized Opera production by combining   Music , Drama, poetry and  German Mythology .Wagner would always say

“ I write music with an exclamation point ! And I believe  imagination  creates  reality .”

So Did Poet Dina Nath Naadim do  to Kashmiri Opera. I rate Naadim Sahib’s  Bombur Ta Yemberzal ( The Bumble Bee and the Narcissus flower ) And  Vitasta ( river Jhelum ) at par with Wagner’s Der Ring Des Nibelungen or  The Ring of Nibelungen .

In the field of Operas , None like Wagner in Germany after his death and  And no one   in kashmir after Naadim sahib .

 Naadim wrote VITASTA in 1965 for  Radio Kashmir Srinagar . J&K Academy of Art Culture and languages decided to play it on stage sometime around 1976-1977. Much was required to be done in terms of Costumes , Music , Dance , Direction and Artists. Too much was done by Varinder Mohan ( Music Director ), Pran Kishore ( Director ) , Noted Poet Painter   Ghulam  Rasool  Santosh, Choreographer Bansi Dogra, Artists drawn from all the three regions of the state ,singers from valley and Dancers from Delhi. I need to make special mention of Poet , Painter G R Santosh who used his creative mind and reverted to Neelmata purana and Rajataringini to have an idea of the dress of Nagas , Pishatchas of Kashmir.The Director  / Costume Designer is   reported to have also  seen the  Stone sculpture of Nagarjuna at Nalandha for this purpose . Nagarjuna has a strong connection with ancient Kashmir. Santosh sahib designed the crown of Prince wular that looked like a water chestnut or   of Wular lake .The play was staged in Auditorium of All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society New Delhi in February 1977. The packed to capacity audience inside the hall   gave the Artists especially  Gulafroz and  Makhan Lal saraf a standing ovation . So wrote some  National News papers about this Opera ..

“The opera presented by The troupe from Kashmir was a real treat served with vibrant music , Dance and flowing poetry. This opera has left an indelible mark in the minds of the entire audience  . special mention needs to be made about the performance of Artists and singers . Gulafroz comes up as an attractive queen in the opera .Makhan Lal saraf also regaled the audience  with  acting and his Royal style  . A  superb combination of Indian , kashmiri and western musical instrument  enabled to create a  melody that retained its native lustre.”
  wrote Statesman..

“ Marvelous poetry , Superb folk  music , Wonderful choreography , colourful costumes and talented acting transported the audience to some other world . The lighting  arrangements were adequately synchronized with action on stage.”

wrote Times of India..

Vyethh Maar Maenz Khaetch Praathh Akiss Taarey
Raaza Taa Baadshaah Thhaavith Goash

*Lalitaditt Beyi *Badshah Gaarey 

Yethh Reishi Vaarie Vitasta Raatchh..

( Dina Nath Naadim  From Opera Vitasta )

Gorgeous Vitasta turned out to be Darling of Every one over here,
Even the kings and the Sultans flourished under her poise .
Singing glory of lalitaditya and Badshah ,
O Vitasta ! You are the Guardian of this land of Rishis …

( Autar Mota )

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