Back to the Roots: Essays on Performing Arts of India
Jiwan Pani was born on 13 February 1933 in a Brahmin family from Baripada in the Mayurbhanj district of Orissa. From his early years he showed a keen interest in music, dance and theatre. His first poem was published when he was only fourteen years old. Later his lyrics began to be widely sung by the common man and were freely adopted by film makers. His film on the Ravanachhaya, the shadow puppet theatre of Orissa, and his video-films on the Mayurbhanj Chhau have all been widely acclaimed and are expressions of his master craftsmanship. There was no aspect of Indian art and aesthetics that he was not familiar with. Back to the Roots is a collection of Jiwan Panis articles which have been put together themewise. This book reflects his wide-ranging interests: the cult of Jagannatha, an individualistic and an in-depth study of the Geetagovinda, the Oriya systems of music as the third school along with Carnatic and Hindustani, his numerous scripts for dance-dramas, tele-serials and films, his deep study and understanding of Hindu and Buddhist systems of philosophy. These articles only go to prove that Jiwan Pani was a leading scholar of traditional Indian performing arts and Indian aesthetics. This handsome volume with numerous photographs is a celebration of the true vidwan that Jiwan Pani was.
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