Feet on Earth Festival, an initiative driven by the intent to bring together the worlds of arts, culture, history and ecology. Poised on the intersection of urbanity and tradition, Hyderabad possesses the advantages of a unique landscape, live with dynamic cultural traditions and of course a long and interesting history.
The festival that pays ode to one of the elements of earth – water and Hyderabad, the city on the banks of Musi and was called a City of Lakes for a reason – has been conceived, curated and organised by Feet on Earth, founded by Pujita Krishna.
The two day performing arts festival was held on 22nd and 23rd Oct, 2022, at the auditorium of the Salarjung Museum on the banks of the Musi. The choice of the venue was deliberate as the edifice and the river are both remnants of the past and reminders of the chequered history of this city.
The motif of the two-day event was ‘apah’ or water in Sanskrit. The purpose behind having a motif was to bring attention to an aspect of history, ecology or heritage of our society. Water has always been considered very important in our culture. As a tribute to ‘apah’, the first day opened with a short presentation on the Musi river. The second day opened with a presentation on the stepwells of Telengana, some of which are now being restored by the state government.
This one of a kind festival included paintings on dance sculptures and an abstract painting on the Musi by featured artist, Naishitha Reddy. The performances on the first day opened with Pujita Krishna’s recital in Kuchipudi. She opened with an invocation to Lord Ganapathi that had incorporated an excerpt from 15th century poet Allasani pedanna’s Manucharitram. She followed that up with an Annamacharya keertana presented as a padam and ended her presentation with a thillana. Sharmila Biswas, a Sangeet Natak Academy awardee and senior odissi artist presented two very interesting pieces. She started with an odiya composition on an old devadasi. The second piece was called the Divine Puppeteer, based on an annamacharya keertana. Her interpretations of both pieces were very unique and different and away from the traditional approach to choreography.
The concluding presentation, a physical theatre piece called Leher enacted by Pallavi Verma Minnaganti and Nenita Praveen, and accompanied by Trilok on the handpan, was off beat too. It brought in elements of theatre, dialogue and movement meant to fall in line with the motif of the festival- apah.
The second day of Feet on Earth Dance Festival opened with a scintillating Kuchipudi performance by Sannidha Rajasagi who presented an invocation to Lord Ganesha called Navami Satham and concluded with an Annamacharya keertana.
The second presentation of the evening caught the attention of the audience. Yakshagana from coastal Karnataka has rarely been witnessed in Hyderabad before. 6th generation artist of the Keremane ‘shaili’ of the form from Idagunji near Honnavar, Keremane Shridhara Hegde, performed this rare form along with a three-member troupe depicting the story of ‘Maara’ or Lord Kama who is reduced to ashes by Lord Shiva.
The concluding presentation also in Kuchipudi was a fitting end to the entire event. Srividya Angara Sinha presented the very engaging Mandodari shabdam and concluded with ‘Krishnam Kalaya Sakhi’ a tarangam- both of which are traditional Kuchipudi compositions.