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Too busy to watch her father's Budget speech

Meera Srinivasan
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Kathak dancer Sharmistha Mukherjee.— Photo: V. Ganesan.
Kathak dancer Sharmistha Mukherjee.— Photo: V. Ganesan.

Her father may have had his big day on Friday when he presented the nation's Budget, but the Kathak dancer was visibly excited about her special day in the city on Saturday.

Sharmistha Mukherjee, daughter of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, spoke to The Hindu , a day before her performance for the Shri Ariyakudi Music Foundation here.

As she settled down for an interview in the car, on her way from the airport to the hotel, she said “This is my second performance in Chennai and it has been my dream to dance in this city.”

On Saturday's performance on the theme ‘Rainstorm and Autumn Leaves', Sharmistha said she was drawn to Tagore like “most other Bengalis”. ‘Borsho sesh', a poem by Tagore, is said to have been inspired by Shelly's ‘Ode to the west wind'. “I was fascinated by the idea of juxtaposing the two. I interpreted them as a dancer and found that such poetry, which is abstract, offered a huge canvas.”

Recalling her performance in Chennai the last time, she says: “It was a lovely experience.” She feels it was unfair for the media to have virtually ignored everything about the dance to focus purely on the political angle. “You are most welcome to be critical of my dance, but after working so hard, imagine having to read say ‘Clueless Congressmen applaud Pranab's daughter's performance.'”

“Father”, interestingly, somehow finds time for family and importantly, her performances too. “He saw this production in Delhi and even offered some suggestions. I took some and told him I couldn't take the others, for my interpretation was different.”

On whether she witnessed the Budget speech, she says: “No, I was too busy packing and getting ready. I met him last night and said I was coming here…he has the ability to absorb tremendous pressure. He works such long hours and with so much passion. I can never, never do that.”

Sharmistha's performance will be held as part of the Foundation's special programme at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

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