Click here for all links

Social media links

Gems of Telugu
- Shilpa Nanjappa

April 19, 2022

The past two years have left the human race fatigued, demotivated and lost as wave after wave of trials spanned across the globe. As artistes gleaned their existence for strings of inspiration and motivation, slowly but steadily one organization churned out one visionary project after another right through this period. Natyarambha, Hyderabad, spearheaded by Dr. Ananda Shankar Jayant, assisted by her efficient team of students have brought us a plethora of endeavours over the last two years. The most recent series to be launched was 'Tamrapatra', which brought us, on a silver platter, select gems of 15th century poetry by Annamacharya, delineated with incomparable erudite research by Dr. Anupama Kylash, set to lilting and uplifting music by late Sathiraju Venu Madhav, and brought to life by our country's leading dance practitioners and choreographers. Collaborations such as these would often make this author sigh and say, "If only I were a fly on that wall, just to absorb every single second!" What a magnanimous gesture on Dr. Ananda's part to make available to all artistes, this gamut of information! Perhaps I speak on behalf of all artistes when I say that opportunities such as this come few and far apart, and we are indeed blessed to have access to such scholarly work.

Deepika Reddy
Deepika Reddy

The artiste for the 10th session of the Tamrapatra series was the mesmerising Kuchipudi star Deepika Reddy. The composition chosen for the session was 'Ekkuva thakkuvalevo yeraga middarilona' which highlights the comparison between Tirumala Venkateshwara and Alamelumanga in a style exclusive to Annamayya. His visionary thinking and grasp over the poetic fluences makes his poems absolutely transcendental and timeless. As always, the Zoom session was preceded by an interesting and thought-provoking online conversation made possible by Dr. Anita Ratnam of This piqued our curiosity of what was to come. The session itself began with Dr. Anupama's transliteration and address, which was akin to "peeling the banana and putting it in our mouth", as Deepika Reddy aptly stated during the session. It is difficult to applaud in a few phrases the magnitude of Dr. Anupama's scholarly disposition and her generosity in willing to share the same with sincerity and honesty. One has to truly be privy to her discourses to perceive their own takeaways and interpretations.

Deepika Reddy's eyes speak volumes and it is her signature style of using just her eyes to communicate that shone right through the choreography. She incorporated perfectly sequenced nritta additions to what could have only been an abhinaya centric dance. It wasn't just the addition of nritta that caught one's attention, but the seamless and non-intrusive way in which it flowed that left us speechless. As the chief guest for the session, the doyen of Kuchipudi, Ratna Kumar of USA rightly observed, "I loved watching Deepika use nritta and natya so discreetly and how she handled the sancharis crisply. This contributed greatly in bringing the words of the composition to the fore."

I, for one, revelled in the keen nuances of Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam's style generously amplifying the choreography. Great care was taken by Deepika Reddy to incorporate typical stances, charis, hasta vinyasas and the kolipimpu (akin to cholkattu or bhols) exclusive to Kuchipudi. She gave attendees multiple options to explore, without restricting our approach and effortlessly elucidated the grandeur of visual imagery of the deity and his consort. Her smooth transitions in-between the characters of Venkateshwara and Alamelumanga left us yearning for more! Special mention should be made of the meticulous preparation by Deepika, as she had not only completed the choreography beforehand, but had also pre-recorded the video of the choreography which interspersed her demonstration from time to time. Technical prowess of Sneha Magapu, Aditi Rao and Poojitha Namburi from the Natyarambha team played a crucial role in making this digital learning module extremely successful and time efficient. For a student of dance, the Tamrapatra sessions also bring the invaluable opportunity to glimpse into the working and thought process of the cream of choreographers dotting our screens every month. This intangible learning can never be quantified.

10th session of the Tamrapatra series

Rathna Kumar deftly summarised this visionary series as one that is "rich in literature, erudition, dance and music", while the brains behind it all, Dr. Ananda reiterated that Tamrapatra was started in order to share what they had at hand. "We have the Sankeerthanas, the stellar compositions by Sathiraju Venu Madhav produced by Sujanaranjani, the scholarly input of Dr. Anupama, who is more than happy to share her knowledge and the support of such wonderful dancers, across various styles, willing to teach their choreographies. Why should we keep this to ourselves? Everyone should have access to these gems," she shares excitedly. And how greatly the dance fraternity has benefited from her magnanimity! It is indeed the coming together of several gems of Telugu.

The 10th session ended with a warm discussion that led everyone to reminisce about the days long gone. Rathna Kumar, one of the senior most disciples of Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam, garnered a feeling of great nostalgia and respect from all attendees. As Deepika Reddy stood every single time she was addressed by Rathna Kumar, one could sense the reverence and admiration she shared for her senior. For this writer, the greatest personal takeaways were the humility and generosity of the key members. It was truly motivating and inspiring to see such stalwarts conduct themselves so. And this feeling will remain for a long while. Ardently looking forward to the following session that will feature Guru Bragha Bessell.

The In Session link

Shilpa Nanjappa
Shilpa is a Bharatanatyam dancer, writer, choreographer and research scholar.

What a fabulous session indeed at every level! Thank you, Ananda, for giving me the privilege of becoming a very involved and illumined guest of honor for this wonderful weekend of artistic excellence. A & A make an outstanding team. And Deepika was amazing. Loved every minute of the 2 day session.
- Rathna Kumar

Deepika garu, it was so wonderful and nice to see original Kuchupudi. Thank you Ananda garu and Anupama garu. I want to do this item soon. Thank you.
- Sathyanarayana Raju

Ananda, what a mammoth task you have taken up. Every session is an unforgettable gem! It is a feast to mind, heart and soul.
Anupama, your explanation is invaluable. The enthusiasm in your voice when you explain is inspiring. It increases our curiosity and prepares us for the delight to come.
Deepika, I thoroughly enjoyed your class. As Rathna akka mentioned, Kuchipudi is a lively dance form with very interesting movements. I loved your visualization and choreography. Also admired the graceful movements you used to enhance your ideas.
Thank you all, ladies!
- Bragha Besell

This session was too good. Very informative and watching you dance makes me wants to get back to dance as soon as possible. The choreography is so good and mesmerizing. Waiting to learn the whole choreography. Had a lot of fun in this session.
- Keerthana Chetluru

The session was amazing. The item was so beautifully choreographed. Loved the lyrics and the music.
- Sreya

This session has really been so special. Firstly I cannot express the excitement and happiness I felt when I finally saw my guru dance live...after what seems like forever. I don't know if it is because I haven't been able to experience this nowadays...but every second of yesterday as Deepika Ma'am was dancing, her expressions and dance looked more and more beautiful, that I just got completely lost in it..I forgot I had to actually try and learn all of that. And Anupama ma'am, I would really like to thank you for very diligently explaining to us many things. Most of it was new to me and it really has added another layer of maturity with which I will view music and dance from now on. Really felt blessed to have been part of the session...and at the same time sad that it is only a two day program. My whole body and mind is eager to try this choreography and at the same time overwhelmed with the beauty of it.
- Geethika

Immense appreciation and thanks to Natyarambha.
Deepika, it was a pleasure watching you dance. You made this keerthana grand and glorious in your own style and did full justice to Master garu's "mudra." Really enjoyed your jhalaks, especially Swami varu wearing the vastram, ammavaru's waist and when you show their tilakam.
Anupama, as always, an ocean of knowledge! Enjoyed every bit.
Thank you for a great session!
- Arunima Mamidi

Loved today's session so much, the choreography was so good! Loved the Tirumala- Tiruchanur depiction and also the whole vaamana sanchari. Second charanam choreography was amazing and graceful.
Thank you so much, Deepika ma'am, for dancing and showing it all to us. It was two beautiful days and an enriching experience you've given us.
Thank you, Ananda ma'am, for bringing all this together. So fortunate to have been able to expose myself to so many more Annamacharya keertanas than the regular ones we hear.
Anupama ma'am, thank you so much for such beautiful transliteration. You helped us visualize Annamacharya having a conversation with Lord Venkateswara and Ammavaru. It almost felt like it was all happening in real at the moment.
- Sreya

It was really a very beautiful and enriching experience. Simple explanation by Anupama ji, beautifully and gracefully expressed by my Guru Deepika ma'am. Thank you so much for this exposure...
- Zankhana Mehta

All I can say is my daughter is very fortunate to have been in this workshop and for this chance to see what makes you all such respected and legendary artistes.
- Aarti Chintanippu

Thank you very much for the great initiative 'Tamrapatra' by Natyarambha.
Ms. Anupama Kylash's explanation of lyrics and about para, vibhava, vyuha, antharyami and archa swarupas is excellent.
Ms. Deepika's Kuchipudi dance is feast to the eyes. It has been so gracefully choreographed and presented by her.
- Vyshali

Click here for all links
Reviews | Home | About | Address Bank | News | Info Centre | Featured Columns