To replace those who resigned, dissatisfied over recent events

Kalakshetra’s Board will soon have four new members – musician T.M. Krishna, Bharatanatyam exponent and Kalakshetra alumnus C.V. Chandrasekhar, Kathak dancer and choreographer Kumudini Lakhia and heritage restoration architect Gundu Rao.

On Monday, Kalakshetra received a notification from the Ministry of Culture nominating the members, subject to their consent. The nominees will replace N. Murali, Madhavi Mudgal, A.C. Muthiah and P.T. Krishnan, former Board members who resigned over the last few weeks. The reason for their resignation, according to sources, is said to be their dissatisfaction with the turn of events on campus from the time former director Leela Samson resigned.

Speaking on the development to The Hindu, chairman of Kalakshetra Foundation Gopalkrishna Gandhi said: “The four members who relinquished their charge are distinguished persons, and the four new members are also distinguished in their respective fields. Prof. Chandrasekhar is a senior guru, who has been associated with the institution for decades. Vidushi Kumudini Lakhia is an artiste of extraordinary stature and T.M. Krishna brings in more dynamism to the Board. Mr. Rao could contribute to the execution of Kalakshetra’s master plan and also to the completion of the Koothambalam [main theatre space] on campus. I hope they all give their consent.”

The Ministry’s move to reconstitute the Board brings with it the promise of a new leadership for the institution. According well-placed sources at Kalakshetra, after the Board gets functional with the new members, the Ministry is likely to constitute a search committee that would identify the new director. The committee will have as its members Mr. Gandhi, the Secretary to the Ministry of Culture, an eminent person nominated by the Ministry and another eminent person nominated by the Kalakshetra Board (who could be one of the Board members or an outsider).

Once reconstituted, the Board is expected to soon meet in full strength to discuss the roadmap for the institution, which has seen a lot of turbulence since April this year. Following a Board meeting on April 10 – where some members questioned her continuance based on her age and a CAG report that pointed to certain irregularities at Kalakshetra – Leela Samson stepped down on April 12. On May 11, the Board met again and unanimously expressed its desire to have her back. By the end of June, the Ministry decided to re-appoint her. However, a fresh round of legal battles sprung up, changing the course of events with the Madras High Court, in August, ruling against her re-entry.