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Durga Puja Illuminates with Kusum Sharma as Goddess Durga in the Mahishasur Mardini Show

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By Kamlesh Narwani

HOUSTON: Durga Pooja is an ancient Hindu festival symbolizing good triumphing over evil and women power. According to Hindu tradition, Goddess Durga was created in form by the Hindu deities to incarnate Shakti (Cosmic Energy) to rid the world from the atrocities of the evil Mahishasura, who was a combination of both an  and a Mahisha (water buffalo) intending to annihilate all the Devas as they were the arch-enemies of Asuras.

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Kusum Sharma, the executive director of Kalakriti Performing Arts (a Houston 501(c) (3) organization) has conceived, directed, and lead performed this show on Sep 30th to honor Goddess Durga during the festive celebration of Durga Puja, which was organized by Puja Samithi of Greater Houston at Shri Radha Krishna Temple from Sep 29th to Oct 1st 2017.

This 45 min show was an inspiring amalgamation of dance, thrilling action and dialogues in Hindi, and left the audience in awe and mesmerized.  Some of the highlight performances of the show were the illustrative intense battle scene between Durga’s lion with Mahishasur Asur, which brought the kids, and adults to the edge of the seat. The finale of the show was the immaculate scene where Durga kills Mahishasura (played by Hari Sriram) by crushing him with her foot and piercing him with her trident. It was visually memorable to see Goddess Durga on stage with all her 8 arms with mighty weapons, whilst the dancers danced to the empowering “Mahishasura Mardini Stotram”.

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Kamlesh Narwani (the production lead) concluded the show by introducing the entire production crew of 35 volunteers, whilst the entire hall stood up to give a loud applause. The audience remained highly energized post the shown end, rushing to congratulate Kusum Sharma and all the performers. Sishir Datta, an audience memeber said, “This was the single most amazing item that I was so fortunate to attend and witness. ALL in the packed audience – whether little kids or young or old, just were spellbound – with Colors, Choreography, Performance, Scripts and everything (almost like a Jatraa in Satyajit Ray’s rural Bengal depiction or I’d say – like an opera in country side Italy) Just so beautiful. This is the type of music + content + quality + REAL fun that is so deservingly needed today. Thank you Kusum ji. Kudos to the Organizers! From Ravana Samhaar to Mahishasur Vadh – your presentation was wholesome and beautiful.”

Throughout the past 13 years, Kusum Sharma and Kalakiriti Performing Arts has pioneered in presenting such inspirational cultural and heritage shows to the Greater Houston Community. Some of the past shows include but not limited to Ramleela, Life of Tulsidas, Ganesh Leela, Shiv Leela, Meera, Krishna & Rukmini, Krishna Leela. Kalakriti is now taking their signature event Ramleela to Austin this year on October 14.

For more details or volunteer for the non-profit please visit www.KalakritiUsa.org.  Kalakriti thanks Puja Samithi, Satish & Kamlesh Agarwal for the opportunity to perform at the Durga puja celebration.

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