Interview Dance

Madhurima Narla and her love for appreciation

Madhurima Narla  

2017 has been eventful for actress and dancer Madhurima Narla. Equally dedicated to both dance and cinema (she calls them her rendu kallu), she returned to films after a gap with Shatamanam Bhavati, received the Ugadi Puraskaram from the A P Government and has given six international performances besides hosting introductory workshops and lecture demonstrations in Kuchipudi in her just-concluded Europe trip

Mangalagiri-born Madhurima had learnt Kuchipudi under the likes of Vempati China Sathyam and is also proficient in Bharatanatyam. A niece of dancer-actor Prabha, she made her film debut with EVV Sathyanarayana’s 420 and acted in a handful of Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam films including Gunshot, My Dear Mutthachan and Orey Rickshaw. That was in the early 90s, before dance took precedence. Her work commitments brought her from Chennai to Hyderabad, where she runs her dance school Tanmaya, even as she balances time between films and her role as a director of art and culture in VRS Vignana Jyothy School in Bachupally.

“It was actor Murali Mohan garu who chided me to get back to films, he said that there’s no better medium to stay in people’s hearts than cinema. Sometimes, you are in a shell and want to do only one thing at a time, but his words were an eye opener,” she shares.

Though she signed Shatamanam Bhavati with a certain amount of hesitation, the national-award winning film gave her the impetus to sign more films, one in Tamil directed by Bharathi Raja (where she plays a character named Marina Kumari) besides untitled projects in Malayalam and Hollywood too.

In fact it is audience reception, she says, which gives her an unparalleled high to better herself. “Films give you a chance to do retakes and have a permanent effect, people can see your work time and again. A dance performance may last only a few minutes, but it takes months of sadhana to get it right, it has a more instantaneous effect.” Madhurima elaborates.

Her dance tours to Finland, Scotland, Wales and Sweden have renewed her commitment to promote Kuchipudi all over the world. “Thanks to the AP Government, the Ugadi Puraskaram has been a true motivation. When you perform in India (dance), there’s a chance of taking things for granted. Only when you tour abroad and you have to impress an audience that doesn’t know the mythological context behind the form, do you realise its true value,” she reveals. She had the opportunity to present a seminar in the Victorian parliament too.

Besides being a visiting faculty at Sanskrit Vidya Peetham and an empanelled artist at ICCR, she’s also pursuing a doctorate in Natya Sastra. Her regular travels and film offers keep her away from her dance school at times. “I always insist that I am a performing artist as much as a guru to my students. Teaching them has really changed the way I look at life; they are pure, with high energy and capability. They know how authentic you are with the form, the beauty of the guru-shishya parampara never ceases to amaze me,” Madhurima smiles.

Her popular songs

- Ramju bhale ramchilaka (Maavichiguru)

- Nee padam meeda puttumacchanai (Orey Rickshaw)

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2020 1:22:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/dance/madhurima-narla-interview-for-the-love-of-appreciation/article19154886.ece

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