An active member of the Odissi discussion group, Guru Jhelum Paranjape of Mumbai has been a student of Guru Kelucharan for 24 yrs. She runs the renowned Odissi Smitaly school located online at www.smitalay.com.
Dance has been a way of life for Jhelum Paranjape since childhood. For a number of years she performed in the dance ballets staged by the Rashtra Seva Dal Kalapathak under the direction of noted poet Vasant Bapat and tutelage of Shri Ramesh Purav. The troupe presented several memorable shows. Maharashtra Darshan, Bharat Darshan, Shiv Darshan and Azadi Ki Jung can be cited as particularly noteworthy productions.
Since 1977, she have dedicated herself to the pursuit of Odissi dance. Starting her training with Guru Shankar Behera, she has, since the last 26 years been training with the doyen of Odissi dance, Padmavibhushan Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra. She has been actively performing since 1983.
When she began her training in Odissi with Shankar Behera, Smita Patil was her active partner. Though Smita Patil shifted to film very soon, her mind was always into dance. She was Ms Paranjape's friend & mentor. It was through her that Ms Paranjape was introduced to Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra. Smita Patil died in 1986, and Jhelum was already teaching in a small way by then. Her memory very much inspired the creation of Smitalay.
Ms Paranjape has also done numerous solo dance recitals, in conferences hosted by Hindustan Lever, BARC, TIFR etc. Group Odissi performances and lecture demonstrations for various dance circles and institutions like "Spicmacay", all over India and abroad. She has participated in the various dance ballet productions of Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, notable being the role of Krishna in Jayadeva's Geet Govind. She is an 'A' grade artist of Doordarshan and also empanelled by the ICCR.
Her current professional interests go beyond the solo dance. She is keen interest in recreating the traditional Odissi repertoire in a group format, and is also involved in a number of projects of choreography for various performing art forms. She takes choreography assignments for plays, ballets, advertising films, feature films, television serials, puppet shows, theme-based choreographies for corporate houses, companies, award functions etc.
- Kumar Gandharva Award - for innovative choreography in Odissi & also for propagating and popularising the Odissi form throughout Maharashtra.
- Rotary Award - for vocational excellence.
- Mahari Award 2005 - Instituted by Guru Pankaj Charan Odissi Research Foundation, Bhubaneshwar, this prestigious award is dedicated to the memory of Maharis, the spiritual dancers of Lord Jagannath Temple from where the Odissi Dance had its origin. This award is given to a professional solo Odissi dancer of national or international repute for outstanding contribution in the field of Odissi dance. For the last 10 years this award was given only to Odiya dancers. Guru Smt. Jhelum Paranjape is the first non Oriya dancer to have received this very prestigious award.
- Sanjukta Panigrahi National Award - For continuous effort towards the spread of Odissi. Received on 24th Aug 2005, Bhubaneswar