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Indian Arts patron Milena Salvini no more
- Ashish Mohan Khokar

January 26, 2022

Milena Salvini
Milena Salvini, founder-director of Mandapa Centre, Paris, died (23 April 1933 - January 25, 2022) on the eve of Republic Day of India, due to Covid complications. She was 88.

Milena Salvini
Prime Minister Narendra Modi personally handed over the Padma Shri award to her in 2019 on his visit to France. Milena was the first French disciple of veteran guru M. K. Saroja in 1967. She additionally learnt Kathakali and promoted Indian dance and music in a big way in Paris, with her husband Roger Filipuzzi, an architect. Together they also documented Koodiyattam, and made films that won an award from UNESCO. Their centre is so active a platform for Indian arts that after 50 years of founding Mandapa, this centre now dovetails as ICCR's cultural window in France. She has two daughters Isabelle Anna and Maria Kiran, one doing Kathak and other Bharatanatyam.

Milena Salvini
Milena with husband & daughters
Courtesy: M.K.Saroja's biography 'Bhakta of Bharatanatyam'

Mandapa has provided quality teaching of two styles for the last 30 years - Bharatanatyam by Vidya Passard, guru Saroja's main disciple and Kathak by Sharmila Sharma and Isabelle Anna herself. Many French  star performers of both styles have emerged from Mandapa like 'Vani, Ambika, Jyoti, Shalini' over the years.

Ashish Mohan Khokar
Khokar is a senior, seasoned dance commentator with 40 years solid work in art field as a pioneer arts administrator, archivist, critic, curator, author, academician and more. Detailed bio on

A really great person. Though not from our country, she promoted so much of our dance culture. Great honour to have received Padma Shri award. Great loss to us.
(Prashanth Gopal Shastry, 28 January 2022)

Very sad. Huge loss. A couple of decades ago Paris meant Mandapa for aspiring Bharatanatyam dancers from India. Respects.
- Lakshmi Gopalaswamy (Jan 28, 2022)

Her passing away marks a huge vacuum, her immense contribution will always be remembered for the decades to come. My heartfelt condolences to her family and her students and admirers. So proud of the fact that she was the first French disciple of Smt. M K Saroja. My naman to the departed soul.
- Anon (Jan 28, 2022)

A French national learning Bharatanatyam, from Guru M K Saroja in the 60s is really admirable and the Mandapa Centre founded and maintained for so many years is indeed a great achievement. It is very sad to know that an artist like her is no more.
- Gayathri Keshavan (Jan 29, 2022)

Very sad and unfortunate for the art... a huge loss.. her contribution will be always remembered...
- Dr.Laxminarayan Jena (Jan 29, 2022)

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