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Kartik Fine Arts Natya Darshan
20 December, 2019

Kartik Fine Arts (KFA) in association with VR Chennai, Annanagar is presenting its 19th Natya Darshan Conference which was inaugurated with the auspicious lighting of the Kuthuvilakku by eminent personalities from the arts scene and office-bearers of KFA. This function was held on 20th December, 2019 at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s Main Hall at 5 p.m.

The main theme of the conference this year is ‘Kadamba, The Flowering Path’ which has been conceptualized and curated by Smt. Priya Murle. In this aesthetic endeavour she has had the advice of two of the greatest exponents of dance, Smt. Sudharani Raghupathy and Smt.Chitra Visweswaran.

The Chief Guest for the event was Shri Shekhar Sen, Chairman, Sangeet Natak Academy. He conferred the title “Nritya Peroli” on Ms. Malavika Sarukkai danseuse of repute. The Guest of Honour of the day was Smt. Janaka Pushpanathan, Director-South India, British Council Division, British Deputy High Commission, Chennai. She conferred the title “Natya Chudar” on Ms. Varsha Sankar, which has been instituted by Saba Foundation.

In his address, Shri Shekhar Sen sang more but spoke less. After saying a few words initially by way of completion of formalities, he made a conscious choice to sing a composition of Lalith Kishori, a double couplet (4 lines) that was in praise of the eyes of Lord Krishna and was full of adjectives and similes and nothing else. He also gave a hint of the sakhi sampradaya prevalent in Vrindavan. The song started with the words Lajile sakuchile and as he sang these lines the audience was left enthralled by his voice that soared with loveliness and sweetness. Music became the communicator here.

Earlier Sri K M Narasimhan, President, KFA welcomed the gathering and told in detail about the many art-related activities of KFA and elaborated on how it organizes many festivals that relate to music, dance and drama round the year.  Talented and skilful youngsters are recognized as these festivals provide opportunities to showcase their talents. About 700 artistes participated during this festival that commences on the fixed date of December 1st every year and continues till January 7th every year. He thanked the art-lovers for extending their support that has given them immense satisfaction. He also observed that the hall always would be full on all these days. He then thanked Mrs. Priya Murle and complimented her for the dedication and sincerity in curating and conceptualizing Natya  Darshan. He  said KFA was also in the habit of conducting the Kodai Nataka Vizha for 12 days in the months of April and May which gets a huge response from the public.

Smt. Janaka Pushpanathan in her speech felt honoured to be part of this function and related her back story regarding KFA and dance per se’. She also felt that learning any art form gives you a sense of discipline and gives you a definition of who you want to be. She told that The British Council and KFA have come together as partners in many programmes relating to dance. She told us about the breathtaking journey of Natya Darshan which has been a subliminal experience to her,  as she was watching and becoming a part of it still wearing the British Council hat. She narrated in her short-talk how the British Council not only teaches English but also does many other things in the field of arts for the sake of the arts. She further said that it could be a kind of mutual learning that should benefit both the artistes and the British Council.  

The Nrithyajothi Award of Excellence in Bharathanatyam instituted by Sri R M Sundaram’s family in memory of Smt. Uma Sundaram was presented to Ms. Padmalaksshme Suresh and the Madura Kalamani Award instituted by Ms. G V Aparna in memory of vidwan Madurai N Krishnan was conferred on Mohini Attam Exponent and Guru Ms. Gopika Varma.

In her acceptance speech delivered after receiving the award, Ms Malavika Sarukkai felt that the award was particularly special for her as she was receiving it in the presence of Bharathanatyam legends Smt. Chitra Visweswaran and Smt. Sudharani Raghupathy. She thanked KFA for conferring this award on her and complimented the audience of Chennai who have always encouraged performances in dance and music, year after year. She told us about Kalavaahini the outfit for dance founded by her and its various activities to further dance. She wondered how to describe Sri Shekhar Sen, who had given her the award, as he was actually a multi-faceted personality, an actor, a musician, playwright and a theatre-director. She felt elated to receive this award from such a person. She expressed her gratitude to all those who had played a pivotal role in shaping her as an artiste, especially all her gurus. The person who actually brought her into the world of dance and had made her travel through this rewarding journey was Saroja Kamakshi, her mother. She had instilled the spirit of creative thinking in her. She stood by her in the highs and lows in the world of dance. She was the one who inspired her into forming certain original choreographies for more than three decades. She said she accepted this award in her fond memory. An art form like dance requires conducive ecosystems to survive and flourish. The responsibility to create and nurture this lies with all of us gathered here. There was a tinge of emotion as she remembered her mother time and again during her speech.

Born in 1959 Malavika Sarukkai, the awardee, began learning Bharatanatyam at a tender age and has been trained under Gurus Kalyanasundaram Pillai and Swamimalai S K Rajaratnam. She also learnt abhinaya under Guru Kalanidhi Narayanan and Odissi under renowned Gurus, Kelucharan Mohapatra and Ramani Ranjan Jena. She made her debut at 12 and has performed at many places in India and abroad, including the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington. A documentary has been made about her life and her works named Samarpanam by the Government of India. Another documentary made on her as a dancer has been screened at the National Centre for the Performing Arts, Mumbai. Malavika Sarukkai was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award by the Government of India in 2002 and the Kalaimamani title from the Government of Tamil Nadu. The Government of India honoured her with the Padmasri, in 2003.

After this event Bharathanatyam artistes again gathered for the release of a CD that featured the collected  experiences of Gurus Dr. Padma Subramanaim, Mrs. Sudharani Raghupathy, Mrs. Chitra Visweswaran, Ms.Lakshmi Viswanathan and Sri C V Chandrasekar.

This was followed by a Bharathanatyam recital by Uma (Nambudiripad) Sathyanarayana.


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