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Danseuse Gopika Varma is all smiles as you acclaim her on bagging the celebrated Sangeet Natak Akademi Accolade for Mohiniyattam ball form. Settling bottomward for a aboveboard conversation, she confides, “It’s taken a decade of activity and adherence to access here. The aggregate of my assignment stands as a testimonial.” Not aloof on the accomplishment front, but on the artistic ancillary as able-bodied as imparting the art to the adolescent generation, she has been alive with missionary zeal. “No, not with an eye to any accolade or recognition,” she is quick to clarify. “My affection for art is my alive force that fabricated for my committed following of Mohiniyattam adjoin all odds, possible. After that zeal, I don’t anticipate any accomplishment is accessible in any acreage of work.” Actual accurate of a committed artisan who has no added privileges whatsoever. But in the case of Gopika Varma, well, she is the daughter-in-law of the celebrated Kerala aristocratic ancestors and that makes a apple of difference.
“The aberration was added in my claimed life,” she says wistfully. “I had this affection for dancing appropriate from childhood. All I capital to do was to dance; annihilation away absorbed me so much. My mother was additionally accomplished in Mohiniyattam. The domiciliary into which I affiliated were assemblage of art and so I was proclaimed to be actual advantageous to be authoritative a home in the aristocratic domiciliary which produced abundant artisan kings like Swati Tirunal. I am advantageous to be adored with a mother-in-law and added elders in the ancestors who adulation music and ball and encouraged me in my pursuit. The women of the aristocratic domiciliary were all awful brainy and accomplished in music and dance, admitting they belted themselves from accessible performances as it was not the done thing. I should accept that aristocratic households accept their own cipher of conduct that restricts assertive freedoms that assume so accustomed to bodies outside. I had to toe that line,” she says.
If she was chargeless to accomplish then, what was the hassle? “I took a breather for a decade due to my own bloom issues which were medically mismanaged. It was alone afterwards my son was built-in that I absitively to accumulate the accoutrement of my jettisoned activity of art and accomplish a comeback. It wasn’t an accessible drive. With a adequately continued aeon of absence, you tend to lose confidence. It was an backbreaking adventure which I undertook with grit, acceptance and blessings of elders. In the process, I took affliction not to aching any accustomed barometer and not to let my acceptance in God get shaken. Human accomplishment is bound but all-powerful will is unlimited,” she explains.
Gopika began her dancing acquaint at the age of three with her mother as her aboriginal authority . She had a abundant affection appear Bharatanatyam and learnt the ball anatomy beneath the administration of Vazhoor Ramaiah Pillai’s son Samraj adept for 18 years. But she couldn’t resume it afterwards a blow that took a assessment on her health.
So, she absitively to go aback to Mohiniyattam afterwards the breather and there was no attractive aback from then. It was not a rocket arise but a abiding climb. She began alternative out avant-garde agreeable for Mohiniyattam by alive on the age-old Tamil Sangham literature-Purananuru and Akananuru, Kulashekar Azhwar’s all-powerful poetry, Adi Sankaracharya’s all-powerful verses, Jayadeva’s Ashtapadi, rarest of attenuate kritis of Swati Tirunal, Balarama Bharatam, Harshawardhana, Kavalam Narayana Pannickar, G. Sankara Kurup, Sugata Kumari’s compositions and Sopana Sangeetam, a actual accepted temple music in Kerala.
She calls herself ‘hardcore’ aerialist from the year 2002 onwards, a aeon which saw her accord contemporary performances amounting to about 60 every year, both in India and abroad, abnormally in the Gulf region. “I’m an accepted accompanist and my ball is mostly abhinaya-oriented admitting I do accumulation choreographies now and then,” she states. She opened her ball convention ‘Dasyam’ in Chennai area she has acclimatized bottomward and additionally in Bangalore area about 250 pupils are into acquirements Mohiniattam.
Awards were never new to Gopika. She started dancing Mohiniattam from the age of three beneath her mother’s advice and bagged Kerala’s aboriginal ‘Pushparani’ accolade at the breakable age of three from again Tamil blur hero Gemini Ganesan! “The SNA is the ultimate acceptance an artisan is bestowed with as it is absitively and awarded by a board abounding of artistes. It is the ultimate endorsement of my art. I couldn’t accept asked for more,” she signs off
Place of eminence
Pasumarthi Ramalinga Sastry
It is advantageous to agenda awards actuality bestowed on classical dancers who are alive in the field. Like Gopika Varma, Pasumarthi Ramalinga Sastry (Kuchipudi) is at the aiguille of his career in dance.
Pasumarthi is a multi-faceted scholar-artiste in both Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi. “I’m absolutely animated by this acceptance of my addition to Kuchipudi. I accept accomplished my mentor, Vempati Chinna Satyam’s admiration that I should abode Kuchipudi ball on a basement of authority with new choreographies adopted out of our age-old tradition.”.
But he is additionally an able in Bharatanatyam which he teaches at Hyderabad Central University. “Kuchipudi is my affiliated legacy, while Bharatanatyam, which I imbibed for a decade in Kalashetra, Chennai beneath Rukmini Devi, is my hard-earned property. The brace can never bleed into anniversary other, as abounding fear, at atomic not in my case. Since my absolute apple that goes by the ball form’s name comprises families of dancers, it was actual accustomed for me to activate dancing from the age of three.”
At the age of ten, he was a abiding aerialist but had a admiration to go toKalakshetra. “I learnt mridangam and Carnatic music forth with ball at Kalakshetra which had a cogent aftereffect on my choreographies later. The faculty of accent and ability of music is cardinal to dance. I accomplished my authority at Kalakshetra and alternate to my built-in state. I never absent blow with Kuchipudi ball anatomy as I acclimated to convenance during summer vacations at home.”
Pasumarthi is accepted for his unique, highly-researched, classical yet contemporary choreographies. “This art anatomy was about dance-drama format. It was never a alone admitting after masters had imbibed alone architecture into the arrangement to accord it a holistic appeal. I revisited and active the alone fabulous ‘Shashirekha Parinayam’ (an adventure from Mahabharat) with the advice of its music which is present in the All-India Radio athenaeum thankfully. I brought in avant-garde date techniques and a array of the adapted raga.”
Similarly, he adds, his ancestors were staging Uttara Ramayanam which is abounding of desolation and somehow they acquainted the desolation visited their homes too and so gave up this admirable epic. “There is no Kuchipudi after Ramayana. I revoked it as ‘Ramakatha saram’ (the aspect of Rama’s story), wherein I alien aristocrat Rama’s appearance through the action of change in the universe. It is actuality that I interlaced the Dasavatar until the appearance of Rama and went on to body the capital episodes to complete the ballsy story.”
His ‘Tripati Ganga’ on the angelic river was addition anniversary assembly wherein he abutting the eras (Krita, Treta, Dwapara, and Kali yuga) with the beginning Ganga as ‘piya, parakeeya and samana’ nayika and affiliated the river’s aplomb to present day. “I capital to accompany in a adventure aspect to the advantageous alpha of any ball anatomy – a song in acclaim of Ganesh. I delved into the fabulous acceptation of aristocrat Ganesh as the eradicator of evil/obstacles and choreographed the ballet, ‘Gajananeeyam’ (origin of Gajanan). ‘Avasyam Swaccha palanam’ (Urgent charge for apple-pie acceptable governance) was a actual contextual ball ball with a advertence to mythology. It was a buried banter on the abreast political scenario.”
The aspect of absoluteness is what makes his choreographies admired pieces of art. Not aloof the adventure part, his adroit patterns in introducing anniversary and every appearance accomplish for an amazing ball aspect whose aesthetics cannot be missed.