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  • Home >> India >> Kuchipudi Dance Accomplishes the Global Record

    Kuchipudi Dance Accomplishes the Global Record

    The second Siliconindia Kuchipudi Natya Sammelanam (Dance convention) at the happening and historic city of Hyderabad (nicknamed Cyberabad, as it is the IT and software hub) is quite an achievement not merely for the non-resident Andhras staying in the US, but quite a creditable achievement for the whole of India. Well, Hyderabad is known for its historic 160-foot (48.7 metre) tall * Charminar, masonry structure built 400 years ago, the Golconda Fort and the then world’s third richest personage (Nizam Osmanali Khan, the last ruler of Hyderabad, before the British quit India). And in modern times it has emerged as an educational center and of course, vying with Bangalore as the software hub. India’s fifth largest city, Hyderabad is in the forefront of media and entertainment sectors. The Telugu TV channels are thriving. Telugu films far outnumber Hindi films, both in quality and quantity. At the top of film studies, stands the Ramoji Film City.

    Against this backdrop, any wonder that the non-resident Indians (Telugus or Andhras apart, Kannadigas, Tamilians, Malayalees and other Indian linguistic populace) made it a memorable event.

    Just imagine an troupe of 2,800 dancers (of varying ages, both women and men) presenting a thrilling ensemble! And that marked the finale of the three-day Kuchipudi dance convention. India’s President, Pratibha Patil, was the chief guest at the packed G M C Balayogi stadium, located in the vicinity of the Hi-Tech City in the well-entrenched software hub.

    Kuchipudi exponents like Dr Vempati Chinna Satyam, Yamini Krishnamurthy, Shobha Naidu, the dancing couple Raja Radha Reddy were felicitated. But I wished and craved that another Kuchipudi exponent, a contemporary of China Satyam, was also honoured on the occasion.

    Ignored by his country men Guru C R Acharyulu, a purist and perfectionist, had to bid adieu to the then cultural center of what was then Madras (now Chennai) and shift to the western India’s Ahmedabad. He trained many but led a life of penury and neglect. Having learnt from masters, Guru Acharyulu was preceptor and preacher of many facets of the ancient Kuchipudi tradition which alas, faded with him. His disciples could not master all of that wisdom. It is no joke to learn it all.

    For sure, Vempati Chinna Satyam has done a lot for preserving and enriching this divine dance form.
    Let us come back to the Kuchipudi convention that has etched for itself a name in the Guinness Book. A representative from the global mascot attended the gala function.

    The first two days, the convention venue (Dec 24 and 25), was the prestigious Hyderabad International Convention Center HICC, the best Convention Center in India that conforms to global standards.
    The global recognition winning ensemble on Sunday (Dec 26) was Mahabrinda Natyam at G.M.C. Balayogi Athletic Stadium Gachibowli.

    Obviously, the three-day event had lined up discussions and debate, lecture demonstrations, panel discussions, ‘Kuchipudi Natya Rajya Samithi’ (mock United Nations style). As its organizers made it amply clear, it NOT a performance-centric event. So it must be judged and reviewed as such. Against the initial expectation of 2,500 performers, it is highly delightful that 2,800 Kuchipudi dancers performed the Maha Brinda Natyam — the Hindolam Thillana — in the splendid and magnificent finale. Yes, the global media which was very excited about the convention beamed out its bytes and bits to a vast audience: 100 million people (or, convert it as ten crore) across the world. Sure, Siliconindia did showcase the grandeur and beauty of the ancient Kuchipudi to the whole world and proved how it could be dovetailed into an emerging humanitarian form, to appeal to the global audience.

    The ‘Thillana’ in Hindolam was composed/choreographed by the ‘Padma Bhushan Sri Vempati Chinna Satyam ‘Master garu’. Organizers said the audio/video to teach/practice would be ready before the Makara Sankranti or Pongal festival due on January 14.

    The ensemble was meant as a fitting and apt tribute to Sri Siddhendra Yogi. It set a new world record. The old record was the Cupertino Convention.

    The convention theme: ‘Yuvatha Kuchipudi Bhavitha!’ meant Youth is the Future of Kuchipudi.
    And what a sumptuous gastronomic cuisine was served to participants, who relished the sumptuous Telugu Bhojanam (Telugu meal) served at the sprawling HITEX domes. But purists lamented the dilution of Kuchipudi dance form. Sure it was not meant to be a recital, where the focus is on the pristine glory. “Okay, the costume, jewelery and attire had the conventional Kuchipudi touch, but not the performance” said an old-timer Nagaraju Pantulu. He felt it odd that the kongu (Pallu) was shunned and the performers had opted for the northern style of dupatta (a huge scarf) to cover their bosom. He took exception to the non-Indian (English) lyric.

    Yet one must acknowledge that the individual recitals, (performed by various troupes as solo or group events on the first two days) did excellently display the talent, dedication and devotion of the learners, performers and masters. They had devotional theme and contemporary ideas to prove how effective Kuchipudi retains its format.

    The media partner TV 9 did this bit. And, its CEO Ravi Prakash was felicitated by President Pratibha Patil. It would have been in order if the anchor had put on ethnic dress.
    Another fallacy constantly propagated was that KLuchiudi is a 600-year-old dance form. Indeed, Kuchipudi evolved out of Nataraja’s naadswara and tandava. It was gifted to Bharata. To say that Kuchipudi is a 600-year form is a sad thing. Kuchipudi village in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh has been the fountainhead for the six centuries. But Kuchipudi dance form is very ancient, mythical and mythological.
    Kuchipudi performance is an ode to nature. A prayer to the creator!!

    Jai Nataraja

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