The book ‘Master of Arts’, a life in dance by Tulsi Badrinath is not just about dance alone or men and dance, but about life as it experienced by people in dance, said former West Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi during the launch of the book here on Tuesday. He said the book had some compelling descriptions of what dancer Navtej Johar underwent in October 1984 in Delhi and how anything may have happened during those disturbing and dangerous hours then. “When Leela Samson puts him in the last bus from Delhi to Chandigarh and says ‘Navtej, go!’, so much comes into life,” he said.

Describing the book as “frank, fair and hugely readable”, he said that Tulsi through her conversation with artists brings out their struggles and triumphs for the reader to see it collectively.

In conversation with Gopalkrishna Gandhi, Tulsi Badrinath said that she faced some difficulty in choosing the people portrayed in the book. “My guru Dhananjayans’ story is the closest to my heart. There are several eminent dancers whom I wanted to write about; but when I write about my guru, their stories were also included. Also, some of them didn’t want to be a part of it due to various personal reasons,” Ms. Badrinath said.

She spoke about how she had to give up one of her favourite chapters where dancers speak about the disasters back stage as the editor of the book thought it disrupted the flow of the book. “I asked several dancers about backstage disasters; because that was one thing that most dancers connect to because you overcome that (problems) and present a show perfect; only we know what happened behind stage. That was my favourite chapter but my editor felt that it broke the flow; so, with a heavy heart I gave up that chapter,” she added.


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