The achievements of veteran dancer Vyjayanthimala Bali and her versatility as an actor were hailed at a function organised by the Indian Fine Arts Society here on Tuesday, where she was awarded the ‘Natya Kala Shikamani' title.

Commending her prowess in both dance and acting, veteran singer P.B. Sreenivas said that as an actor, Ms. Bali lived every character through her realistic performances. Her dance numbers in films stand testimony to her undying passion for the performing art.

Her deft footwork and fast-paced choreography remained inimitable and her innovations in classical performances had brought in an interesting mix of traditional and contemporary styles.

Mr. Sreenivas read out poems on Ms. Bali penned by him in Hindi, Sanskrit, Urdu, Telugu and Tamil.

In her acceptance speech, Ms. Bali recalled her early days when A.V. Meyyappa Chettiar selected her for the film ‘Vazhkai.' Following its success, it was remade in Telugu and Hindi and received overwhelming responses in both the languages.

“That was a time when Bollywood had never seen such elaborate dance performances in films. Many found it amazing to see a full-fledged classical performance fused in films. Since then, every movie that I was part of featured a lot of my dance performances,” she said.

Defining dance as a “passion that would live all through her life,” Ms.Bali said she never found any of her film choreography difficult as her classical foundation was strong.

She spoke of her research on the forgotten dance forms of India and expressed hope that the art form would continue to attract hundreds of passionate learners.

Apollo Hospitals Managing Director Preetha Reddy, and Indian Fine Arts Society president V. Sethuraman were present.