Reviews


Pulse Magazine, London:
http://www.pulseconnects.com/content/AlchemySamaDivineMusic

From the first moment they (Navtej Johar and Anil Panchal) captivated, as the lights slowly rose on the pair - centre stage, facing one another, hands exploring the negative space that separated them. . . Music by Madan Gopal Singh and a fantastic band, did more than just accompany the dance. Rather the music became another dancer, giving voice to the stories just as much as the visuals. . . Both dancers were equally riveting to watch, but Navtej was glorious - his dance both light and effortless, yet with a power and yogic control that remained in the mind long after the performance ended.

PULSE: Asian Music and Dance, London, UK, April 16, 2011

In the dissolution of love blends two stories — two cultures, two distinctly different ethos and styles and two strains of enduring influences, Heer Ranjha and Kutralakuravanji blur into one stunning whole through the eyes of Navtej Singh Johar.

Deccan Chronicle, December 4, 2006


It was when boundaries disappeared…how two divergent tales and forms could flow into each other with the fluidity of water…the dancers, alternating between joy and sorrow, form and abstractness, passion and spirituality, showed how art is more seamless than imagined.

The Indian Express, December 4, 2006



It is not often that a modern choreography using legends hits a contemporary note in shaping both form and content. Navtej Johar's "Fanaa" did more than that. . .The androgynous quality evoked by two men (Navtej Johar and Anil Panchal) playing both male and female characters, flashed new perspectives…Johar's accent was on self-forgetfulness, a crucial element of love…The fabulous music was an asset, Madan Gopal Singh and Rekha Raj creating their own full-throated drama of emotions. . . G. Elangovan matched the robustness of the folk singers in his Carnatic mode. One of the surprises of the evening was just how well the two genres of music flowed together in a luminous stream. The dancing was strong enough to make full use of (and not get drowned by) this superb orchestra…"Fanaa" communicate(d) a throbbing sthayibhava in soka, of loss and longing as the eternal, irrevocable conditions of existence. An honest, powerful performance.

Gowri Ramnarayan, The Hindu, December 5, 2006

 

Bharatanatyam-based 'Fana'a: Ranjha Revisited' – with a highly nuanced performance by Navtej Johar and the accompanying Sufi music by Madan Gopal Singh – was arguably one of the best choreographic works of the year.

Utpal K. Banerjee, Attendance: The Dance Annual of India 2005-06

 

Drawing inspiration from traditional love poetry and motifs from myth, but very contemporary in perception and blurring of distinctive identity boundaries of regions, of gender, or of dance style, brilliantly visualized in body language fusing Bharatanatyam, Chhau and Modern Dance was "Fana'a" choreographed by Navtej Johar.

Leela Venkatraman, The Hindu, New Delhi, 4th February, 2006

Each moment was a treat, to savour long after it was over, as Navtej Johar and Madan Gopal Singh rendered magic . . . Navtej Johar, who has redefined the Punjabi male machismo, presented his dance drama 'Fana'a: Ranjha Revisited' to soul-wrenching Sufi singing of Madan Gopal Singh, accompanied by Rekha Raj. Johar combined classical elements of Bharatanatyam and Kathak, with the avante-garde; and pirouettes and swinging trances reminiscent of dervishes, to weave a beautiful presentation which defied categorisation. Johar blurred the boundaries of various forms as imperceptibly they led to one another, to and fro.

The powerful anguish in Madan Gopal's voice was a performance in itself as was Johar's expression and dancing. The two could be enjoyed separately as well as in unison as Ranjha changed into Shiva, Vasantvalli, Sakhi, and Heer

The Tribune, Chandigarh, 15th February, 2006