Updated: April 28, 2012 09:35 IST

Leela Samson to quit as Kalakshetra director

  • Special Correspondent
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Leela Samson
Bijoy Ghosh
Leela Samson

The news has shocked many in the artiste fraternity

Bharatanatyam exponent Leela Samson will relinquish charge as director of Kalakshetra on April 30, it is reliably learnt. Until the Ministry of Culture appoints a new director, Karunaker K. Menon, deputy director, will be in charge of the administration of the institution.

Confirming that Ms. Samson was relinquishing charge, Kalakshetra Foundation's chairman Gopalkrishna Gandhi said if at all anyone should comment on the reason for her decision, it should be her.

However, Ms. Samson, who is on a performance tour, was not reachable for comment.

The news has shocked many in the artist fraternity. Bharatanatyam exponent Alarmel Valli said she was very distressed and dismayed to know about it. “I do not know what the situation is, or why she decided to resign, but it is a great loss to an institution which so many look up to the world over. Leela breathed a fresh, new perspective into Kalakshetra.”

‘Visionary approach'

Ms. Samson had a progressive visionary approach, Ms. Valli said.

This, combined with her loyalty and commitment to the ideals of her alma mater, made her an outstanding leader of Kalakshetra. “She is also known as much for her creative energy as for her remarkable integrity and dignity.”

‘A great artist'

Bharatanatyam exponent Malavika Sarukkai said it was a pity that Ms. Samson would not be heading Kalakshetra anymore. “One felt great that an artist like her, who has contributed so extensively to solo in classical dance, was heading the institution. She spearheaded several new initiatives at a time when classical arts need a lot of promotion and support. I am sure she had valid reasons to relinquish her charge, but still, it is a pity.”

You will not easily find a person of her calibre, vision and integrity to head Kalakshetra. You can buy administrative ability in the market but not talent, vision and integrity.In my opinion letting her go is a national disaster for the arts and education. I would request Gopal Gandhi to persuade her to stay and resolve whatever issues led to her resignation with dialogue and mutual respect. As an old Theosophist and a nephew of Rukmini Arundale I feel most concerned about these developments.

Padmanabhan Krishna FNA
Secretary, Rajghat Education Centre
Krishnamurti Foundation India

from:  Padmanabhan Krishna
Posted on: May 5, 2012 at 19:54 IST

Sir, It makes me very sad that leela Samson is leaving will go on but leela is an artist and she loves kalakshetra she is connected to it through her love for art,if they can bring someone with that kind of background then everything will be fine.,but who cares for the art or for kalakshetra not the burocrates or politicians, India is respected and recognized for it's culture ,art and philosophy and not for it's politicians and corruption.

from:  Vinod.r
Posted on: May 5, 2012 at 07:26 IST

Institutions like the Kalakshetra need people like Leelaji, with her calibre, comittment and integrity. She has a broad minded far seeing approach which teemed with her calibre as a dancer and choreographer, her intelligence and sense of aesthetics is very difficult to find. It is a real pity.

from:  Aditi Mangaldas
Posted on: May 2, 2012 at 17:07 IST

I think it is lamentable that we do not allow our best national treasures to thrive. Artist-administrators will be a different breed. They will function at a pace and in a style that best suits them, and they will obtain results their own way. Trying to constrain them on the basis of pettiness, misplaced egos and a lack of consideration is symptomatic of a community that values mediocrity and malice more than it encourages expression and creativity. Truly unfortunate. Leela Akka represents the best our nation has in every possible way.

from:  Anil Srinivasan
Posted on: May 2, 2012 at 00:05 IST

There is a time and season for everyone and everything!!!
Yes she was asked to step down with good reason too!
Indeed how could a person being full-time director of such a prestigious institution as KALAKSHETRA also be full-time member of the SANGEETNATAK ACADEMY and manage to do full justice to both institutions?
Why should our media persons and papers like THE HINDU become the mouth-piece to protest for something which is so normal and regular?People come and must go.There should always be dynamism and new ideas.That can happen only when we make way for other deserving candidates.Why should people shed crocodile tears for a person whose term is over?Surely Leela Samson herself has resigned.
Is this not utter sycophancy and hypocrisy singing in tune and unison with 'the establishment of vested interests'???
No one can expect to be permanent and no one should weep.Men will come and men will go(here it is a woman)and the old older must change giving place to new!!!

from:  VMouli
Posted on: May 1, 2012 at 17:45 IST

We saw a new and energized kalakshetra. The artists were eager and excited. Leela was a
breath of fresh air, an excellent administrator of the performing arts. Above all,she gave up
her own successful career in dance so as she could dedicate her time bringing Kalakshetra
back to it's original glory. I do not know of any other artist who would have done that as
easily as did Leela. And she was well on her way. What a loss for Kalakshetra.
Leela will continue in excelling in whatever she does. It is the institution's loss. And those
who envied and engineered her removal will have to bear the consequences.
Thank you leela for all you have done for the arts. And most of all for "Padma pushkarini -
that gorgeous new and creative space which you have imagined and executed.

from:  Uma Ganesan
Posted on: Apr 29, 2012 at 22:42 IST

really kalakshetra lose a great legend.i am very sad to hear that.i miss
her not only myself all the students of kalakshetra

from:  Elakkiya
Posted on: Apr 28, 2012 at 11:39 IST
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