March 2021


Health is not a debt we can cancel
The body collects..
Memories, events, heartbreak, loss
and reacts

- Actor Patricia Clarkson in SHARP OBJECTS, a HBO miniseries

Our bodies HAVE collected. Almost a full year of drastic change. A brutal turn around-stopped in our tracks - bodies in collision with nature - minds at war within - hearts torn asunder with confusion and fear..

Yet here we are. Among the ruins (and some shards of rapture) of past 11 months. Surveying how we have somehow found the means to survive while millions have dropped off and fallen through the cracks of Fate and Time. This past year has been called a time of "Global Weirdness" by the New York Times. It seems to fit. We have fallen down the rabbit hole of every dark and dismal sensorial experience and one emotion is echoed through our lives and the voice of the media. FATIGUE.

The creative community in India has been slapped on both cheeks. Cancelled opportunities and rendered invisible by the government that does not seem to care about the dire situation of its heroes and heroines who are somehow expected to step up when it's time for the chant of INDIA SHINING.

Read on...


Andal by Bindu Rajendran
The documentary is specially produced by MOPA Foundation as part of an in-depth exhibition on T Balasaraswati during her birth centenary in 2019, in collaboration with Balasaraswati Institute of Performing Arts. It's a tribute to the fiery, feisty, gritty artiste who held her own against drastic changes in her social and professional environment and yet went on to make incredible art. With rare footage made available by her grandson Aniruddha Knight, this documentary provides several fresh perspectives to her life and art.
Part 1

Part 2

TA KI TA TOM presents A-NIDRA, a special 5 hour curated presentation on SIVARATRI from 7pm onwards on March 11, 2021 on its Facebook and YouTube channel.

Documentary filmmaker VINU VASUDEVAN and Kuchipudi exponent MADHAVI MALLAMPALLI have made a film titled NRITHYA GANDHARVA: PROF. C. V. CHANDRASEKHAR, HIS ART & LIFE that was released on Jan 24, 2021 on YouTube.

Guru VIRALIMALAI R MUTHUKANNAMAL, the senior most performer and artist from a family that has served six generations for the arts received the STATE ART AND CULTURE AWARD at Pudukottai on Feb 5, 2021. It is a historic moment for dance history because in post independent India for the first time, a hereditary dancer has been awarded as SADIR ARTIST.

On Feb 7, 2021 during the Dhauli-Kalinga Festival, Odisha, the BUDDHA SAMMAN was awarded to Pt Gopal Chandra Panda (Odissi and Hindustani vocalist), GURU GANGADHAR PRADHAN SMRUTI SAMMAN to Guru K. Ramarao Patra (veena), Dr. Snehaprava Samantra (Odissi dancer), Shyamhari Chakra (journalist, dance critic) and Late Tarakanta Panda (sound designer, music arranger).

On 7th Feb 2021, APSARAS ARTS presented the NEILA SATHYALINGAM MEMORIAL ENDOWMENT AWARD to Meera Balasubramanian at the Stamford Arts Centre, Singapore.

Tridhara presented the LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD to musician Pt Anup Jhalota on Feb 13, 2021 on the inaugural day of the 14th Guru Debaprasad Award Festival at Rabindra Mandap, Bhubaneswar. On Feb 15, the GURU DEBAPRASAD AWARD 2020 was given to Aruna Mohanty (Odissi, Bhubaneswar), Guru Ghanakanta Bora (Sattriya, Assam) and Gopika Varma (Mohiniattam, Chennai). The GURU DEBAPRASAD PRATIVA AWARD 2020 went to Prof. Manoj Kumar Behera (Balasore), Prativa Panda (Bhubaneswar), Binod Chandra Sahu (Kandhamala), Palomi Mandal (Kolkata).

Kolkata based Chidakash Kalalay under Kalalamandalam Piyal Bhatacharya, conferred the CHIDAKASH SAMMAN on art critic/scholar Dr.Utpal K Banerjee on Feb 17, 2021 as the first time award from this year. Other awardees include Probir Guha (theatre), Meena Banerjee (music) and Anita Mallick (Bharatanatyam).

KALAIMAMANI for 2019: Madurai R Muralidharam, Maya Shyamsunder, Parvathi Balasubramanian,TM Sreedevi
KALAIMAMANI for 2020: Prof. A Janardhanan, Kavitha Charles, Sreelatha Vinod, Vijayalakshmi Boopathy, Aparna Ramesh
Sound engineer Sai Shravanam (2019), KN Ramaswamy of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and M Murali (2019), Y Prabhu of Krishna Gana Sabha and J Balasubramanian of JB Cultural Foundation (2020), musicians Nirmala Rajasekhar (veena), Sikkil Gurucharan (vocal) and Anil Srinivasan (piano) also received the KALAIMAMANI.
PURATCHI THALAIVI DR.J.JAYALALITHA SPECIAL KALAIMAMANI AWARD: Ambika Kameshwar (2019) and Parvathi Ravi Ghantasala (2020)
BALASARASWATHI AWARD: Alarmel Valli (2019) and Chandra Dhandayuthapani (2020)
The awards (5 sovereigns gold medal of 22ct & a certificate of Merit) were given on Feb 20, 2021 by the Tamilnadu Chief Minister in Chennai.

Odissi dancer Ileana Citaristi received PRABASI BHASHA SAMMAN on Feb 21, 2021 at the 7th International Mother Language Conclave.

ABHAI celebrates its 32nd anniversary with presentation of the annual ABHAI awards (gold medal & cash prize) on March 20, 2021 at Narada Gana Sabha, Chennai.
NATYA KALANIDHI: Prof.A. Janardhanan, senior professor, Kalakshetra
GANDHARVA NIPUNA: M.S. Kannan, senior violin accompanist for Bharatanatyam
NARTHAKA NIPUNA: G.Narendra, senior performer/teacher, director of Avigna Dance Company
NRITHYA PERUNJYOTI: Parvathi Ravi Ghantasala, senior Bharatanatyam exponent, acharya and Arts administrator

Kathakali artiste SADANAM HARIKUMAR (also a sculptor, painter, Bharatanatyam dancer, musician and composer) is honored with KERALA LALITHAKALA AKADEMI AWARD for 2020 for his sculpture titled 'Karmayogam' that shows a resurrected man with a wreath on his chest and crows milling around. The six-foot sculpture depicts ramifications of life and death.

Mohiniattam dancer Methil Devika received the Kerala State KSHETRAKALASREE PURASKARAM 2020 from the Kerala Kshetrakala Academy.

The 30th JK ARCHITECT OF THE YEAR AWARD for public building category was awarded to Indigo architects for the NATARANI THEATRE project of Darpana, Ahmedabad.

The KERALA STATE KATHAKALI AWARD goes to Vazhengada Vijayan for 2019 and to Sadanam Balakrishnan for 2020.
The KERALEEYA NRITTA-NATYA PURASKARAM to V.P. Dhananjayan and Shanta Dhananjayan for 2019 and to Vimala Menon for 2020.
The PALLAVUR APPU MARAR PURASKARAM to Machad Ramakrishnan Nair for 2019 and to Keezhkoottu Aniyan Marar for 2020.
All three awards comprise a purse of Rs.1 lakh, plaque, and citation.

Mohiniattam dancer/mentor TARA RAJKUMAR is one of the 24 talented women nominated for the KINGSTON WOMAN OF THE YEAR AWARD 2021, Australia. The award will be presented at Kingston's International Women's Day ceremony hosted on 5 March 2021.

Kathak dancer VIDYA PATEL has started an open South Asian community for dance artists within the UK to connect, develop, network and progress collectively - @danceartistsuk_

Leicester based NILIMA DEVI's CENTRE FOR INDIAN CLASSICAL DANCE (CICD) celebrates 40 years throughout 2021, by sharing special performances, interviews, seminars and workshops by Indian dance artists, musicians, academics & alumnis from UK and around the globe.

On 19 and 20 March, AKADEMI hosts its first ever SCREEN DANCE FESTIVAL. Curated by screen dance expert Omari Carter, and Artistic Director Suba Subramaniam, the festival will feature new and archived South Asian dance films along with selected talks with filmmakers and dance artists.

'AMERICAN MASTERS: TWYLA MOVES' that explores the iconic choreographer's storied career, will premiere March 26 on PBS. The documentary will feature interviews along with select footage of Tharp's more than 160 choreographed works, "including 129 dances, 12 television specials, 6 major Hollywood movies, 4 full-length ballets, 4 Broadway shows and 2 figure skating routines."

Bhaalu or Bagheera? 22 incredible acting roles and 12 creative roles in ENACTE CONSERVATORY's musical production of THE JUNGLE BOOK: RUDYARD'S REVISION with a socially conscious and environmentally sensitive script. The fully virtual musical will have its world premiere in June 2021.


Kathakali artiste MATHOOR GOVINDAN KUTTY passed away on Feb 4, 2021 after a brief illness from post Covid complications. He was 81.
More info

Theater director and founder of Rang Vidushak, a theatre group in Bhopal, BANSI KAUL (b 23 Aug 1949) passed away on Feb 6, 2021.
More info

Mumbai based senior dance critic SATISH MEHTA passed away on Feb 9, 2021. He was 86.
More info

SANGKARI BALASUBRAMANIAM, disciple of Thanjavur Lakshmikaantham and Thanjavur Doraikannammal, passed away on Feb 17, 2021.



Nrityaparva 2021 dedicated to lately departed stalwarts
Conceived, coordinated and executed by Anjali Memorial Committee, Nrityaparva 2021was dedicated to the much-mourned departed souls of Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan, Phillip Zarrilli, Astad Deboo and Dr. Sunil Kothari, in a fitting, sensitive gesture.


Two titans and their travelogues
RABI KARE BIBEK JYOTI presented on January 16 by 'Srijan Chhanda' under the noted Odissi dancer Rajiv Bhattacharjee attempted to place Tagore and Vivekananda side by side.

Dancers' sojourn in distressed days
Mahagami Gurukul, the unique performing arts institution of its kind, has now grown into a branch of Mahagami University, having completed 20 years of a flourishing existence in 2017. Past students travelled to Mahagami to be part of the dance offering VAYAM.

Chiaroscuro of classical cadenza
ANANTA presented on January 9 by 'Darpani' as their silver jubilee offering, directed by the Odissi and Bharatanatyam dancer Arnab Bandyopadhyay was quite an eye-catching affair with a few luminaries from the dance world.

Colors of classical choreography
Purnaya, the young dancers' festival, was organized on February 7, 2021 by Manipuri Nartanalaya, admirably supported by Manipur govt and conducted by Bimbavati Devi, the talented daughter of Guru Bipin Singh.

NCPA Utkarsh with Dr. Anita Ratnam
Dr. Anita Ratnam speaks about innovation, ideas and experimentation in artistic pursuits.

Nrithya Gandharva: Prof. C. V. Chandrasekhar, His Art & Life
By documentary filmmaker Vinu Vasudevan and Kuchipudi exponent Madhavi Mallampalli.

Kalapradarshini presented Thyagaraja Utsav
Episode I
Episode II

Bird choreographed by Preethi Athreya, is a series of solo movement propositions where we see the quirky bridging of two anatomies that of human rootedness and of avian flight.

ANTARANG: Guru Kalamandalam Ramamohan
In Sangeet Natak Akademi's Antarang-Facebook Live Series, Guru Kalamandalam Ramamohan talks on 'Aesthetics of Costumes and Make up in Kutiyattam.'
Telugu film 'Natyam' stars Kuchipudi dancer and actress Sandhya Raju. Written and directed by Revanth Korukonda.

Burning Skin by Roger Sinha
For the company's 25th anniversary, Roger Sinha revisited his 1992 success Burning Skin created in reaction to the choreographer's personal experiences of racism. Bharatanatyam, martial arts, ballet, modern dance, combine with theatre techniques.

Gandiva presents Gananayakaya
Choreographed by Kavya Muralidaran, performed by Kavya, Shravanthy Subramaniane, M.A Asvika, Rashmeta Sai, Sree Mourya,

Write to us at
Subscribe / Unsubscribe
to the Narthaki monthly newsletter