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my first break -- KALA

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How it happened: I was working with my guru Raghu master then. I had done a lot of K. Balachander’s films under Raghu master and was also working with Thara master in Telugu films. It so happened that she couldn’t do the Telugu film Manmadha Samrajulu and asked me to choreograph a song for it. The director-producer liked my work and I got to do the entire film. As for Tamil cinema, Karate champ Hussaini, S. Janaki’s son Murali and artiste Ramki were students of mine in Raghu master’s class. Through them I got introduced to Robert Rajashekar and did Chinna Poove Mella Pesu and then there was no looking back.

How it felt: I never thought I would make it as a dance master as it is very difficult for a woman to succeed in this field. But once I tasted success, I was seized with a desire to work in other regional language films. I came up the hard way. If I had no shoot, I would be either taking classes or generating ideas. I had no home or car of my own, but just supreme confidence in my abilities. Patience paid off.

How life changed: I had to make a lot of sacrifices. I was never at home for Diwali or New Year, as I used to shuttle between locations – Hyderabad in the morning, Chennai in the evening. Even for my sister’s wedding, I boarded the bus just hours before the event. I was the first to do a cinematic dance show and another with 700 police personnel. My father, who was proud of me, died a happy man. Now after marriage and the arrival of my son Vidhyuth, who’s now eight months old, I am enjoying life.

SUDHA UMASHANKER


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