The icon of Kuchipudi dance form, Vedantam Satyanarayana Sarma, passed away in Vijayawada on Friday after a prolonged ailment. He was 77 and is survived by wife, a son and two daughters.
He was so well-dressed for the heroine roles in Kuchupudi dance dramas that if any male, who goes into the green room in search of Vedantam Satyanarayana Sarma, would found a charming Satyabhama. His demise has left the traditional Kuchipudi families, artistes and his admirers in deep sorrow.
Satyanarayana Sarma was born in 1935 and took to dance right in his fifth year, initiated by Vedantam Prahlada Sarma. He was a child prodigy. He began playing the role of Prahlada in dramas staged during Navaratri celebrations. He then shifted to portraying female roles. As he grew up, he struck to portrayal of heroine and earned name for Mugdha Nayiaka roles. This attracted his paternal uncle renowned Lakshminarayana Sastry, a master in this art. Under his tutelage, Satyanarayana Sarma used to tour villages. Initially, he learned classical music from Sishtu Brahmayya and later perfected it under the tutelage of Eleswarapu Sitaramanjaneyulu.
He soon learned ‘Bhamakalapam’ created by Siddhendrayogi and began playing prime role of Satyabhama. He then joined Pasumarti Kondalarayudu Pelam (troupe) and stayed there for a while.
Chinta Krishnamurthy trained him in Yakshjaganas. He learned Bharatam from Lakshminarayana Sastry. He studied all the kalapas. He soon became famous for the roles of Satyabhama, Usha, Devadevi and Viswa Mohini. He was the first recipient of ‘Sangeetha Nataka Academy’ award and ‘Padmasri’.