Founder of Pracheen Kala Kendra and a great artist of tremendous range, Madan Lal Koser is no more. He died at Fortis Hospital here today after a brief illness. He was nearly 80. As great exponent of Indian dance, a selfless pursuit of this noble art has earned him fame and recognition in the country and abroad.Born in an illustrious family in Gujranwala (Pakistan) to mother Ishar Kaur and father Mela Ram, Koser’s interest in dance took him to various sources. Despite tremendous family opposition, Koser paved him way up through years of practice and struggle under heavy odds. This young dancer was absolutely convinced of learning the classical dance forms at their places of origin. He spent considerable time at the feet of legendary Guru Uday Shankar and guru Namudri at Almora and learnt the techniques, intricacies and nuances of dancing. Not contended, he further practised Bharatnatyam in Tanjor and Kathak in Lucknow under the able guidance of the master exponents. Not only that, he even went to Manipur to master the techniques of Manipuri dance and under went a rigorous training of one year under the guidance of renowned Guru Ambui Singh, a figure unparalled in the field of Manipuri dancing.
Koser’s hard work bore fruit as at the young age of 21, he was awarded the title of ‘Dwitya Tandav’, a rare distinction from Manipur.Having mastered the various facets of Indian classical dances, Koser then joined a Maharastrian dancing troupe and toured the whole of India giving performances in all the major dance festivals. This enabled him to observe study and practice the folk and traditional dance forms prevalent in the various parts of the country.
Equipped with such wonderful theoretical and practical knowledge, Koser formed his own dancing troupe at the age of 20. His debut being mind-blowing ballet based on Pandit Nehru’s “Discovery of India” which hailed him as a great artist from one and all. In the form of social crusade, his numerous ballets staged spoke about the then burning topics of the country. The spectacular technique and novelty in its presentation brought him name and fame so much so, the king of Ethiopia, who was witnessing one of the ballets, presented Koser a Gold medal and extended an invitation to visit his country. The other most memorable ballets staged by Koser are “Indo-Pak Conflict”, “India’s peace role in Korea”, “Unification of India”, Nawakhali Episode, Bhakra Nangal etc.
M.L. Koser got the unique opportunity of performing on a number of occasions, before the home and foreign high dignitaries. His performances were witnessed amongst others, by the late Dr. Rajendera Prasad, late Dr. Radha Krishan, late Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, former president, Vice-President and prime Minster of India respectively and by many Governors and Chief Ministers of the different states and those were all widely-acclaimed and appreciated. Koser was awarded the president’s Award twice for presenting most inspiring programmes draped with newness and creativity with perfect professional competence revealing newer shades of classical dancing art.
His powerful mind and indefatigable energy resulted in setting up an institution “Pracheen Kala Kendra” in Chandigarh in the year 1956 with the patronage of CPN Singh and Partap Singh Kairaon, the then Governor and Chief Minister, respectively, of Punjab. The idea behind this was to preserve and promote traditional music and dance in their technical perfection and classical excellence along scientific lines.
Today the Kendra has around 3500 centres all over India and abroad and around 2 lakh students studying and preparing themselves for various grades of professional courses conducted by it.Even today, the quality of his performance remain incomparable and matchless. It would be conceded that his achievements in the myriad fields of dance and music have secured for him a lofty place in the galaxy of world’s foremost exponents, originators, organisers and true propagators of the musical arts.
A wide acclaimed artist, Koser is a recipient of many honours and awards including Uday Shankar Award, Gopi Krishan Award, Pt. Manmohan Bhatt Memorial Award and the title of Nritya Shiromani, Nritya Samrat to name a few. He was associated with Bharat Sevak Samaj for many years and was the distinguished member of almost all the Advisory Committees of Different state governments.
Apart from performing in almost all the parts of India, before various parliamentary delegates and foreign dignitaries including Marshal Bulganan, Chief-yen-lie, former Chinese Prime Minster, he toured extensively all over the world exhibiting his versatility to one an all.He will be remembered by the art fraternity for all times to come. He is survived by his wife Shobha Koser, son Sajal Koser and daughter Purva Puri.