“The Making of a Guru” by Dr. Ileana Citaristi attempts to recreate the story of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra’s lifetime achievements and to capture the flavour of the times which saw his genius talent radiate, capturing the hearts of hundreds who came under his spell. This book shelf suggestion is in remembrance of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, one of the key architects of the revival of Odissi dance on his 16th death anniversary on 7th April 2020.
The life story of Kelucharan Mohapatra, one of the main architects of the revival of Odissi dance, is intimately interwoven with important events of the cultural life of Orissa for the last sixty years. It is also the story of the development and recognition of the dance itself. From the early years of apprenticeship and struggle to the Padma Vibhusan award which he received before his death, Kelucharan’s artistic journey was one of the continuous dedication and search for excellence.
For him dance was sadhana, teaching his dharma. From his gurus he imbibed the essence, the passion and poetry of Odissi and these secrets he shared with his students. A great dance, a brilliant choreographer, a patient teacher and above all, a humble person, Kelucharan’s wisdom and undemanding simplicity gave him a unique vision and child-like purity. The Making of a Guru attempts to recreate the story of Kelucharan’s life and achievements and to capture the flavour of the times which saw his genius blossom and his talent radiate, capturing the hearts of hundreds who came under his spell.
Italian by birth, Ileana Citaristi has done her doctoral research on ‘Psychoanalysis and Eastern Mythology’. She came to Indian dance after years of experience in the traditional as well as experimental theatre of Europe. Ileana Citaristi was the disciple of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, and has been living in Orissa, India, since 1979 in close contact with the Oriya people, their language and culture.She is the author of three books, The Making of a Guru: Kelucharan Mohapatra: His Life and Times (2001); Traditional Martial Practices in Orissa (2012); and My Journey: A Tale of Two Births (2015).