Transcending boundaries

Updated - November 01, 2016 08:13 pm IST

Published - September 22, 2016 10:10 pm IST

Guru Raja and Radha Reddy explain to Ranee Kumar how they fulfilled their dream of making Kuchipudi popular in North India.

REALISING THEIR DREAM Guru Raja and Radha Reddy

REALISING THEIR DREAM Guru Raja and Radha Reddy

Two decades later, Gurus Raja and Radha Reddy look at their brainchild, the Natya Tarangini Institute of Kuchipudi dance with a sense of fulfilment as they get ready to host Parampara, their annual festival which is also into its 20th year.

“It was a long, arduous journey, unimaginable for a young couple, with zeal for Kuchipudi dance in a backward area of Telangana viz. Adilabad, to pursue their passion, work tirelessly with single-minded purpose to emerge as dancers irrespective of returns. “To have finally arrived at an alien metropolis far away from our home and carve a niche for ourselves, or rather for Kuchipudi dance in this Capital is it not the grace of the Supreme?,” says Raja Reddy in all humility as his wife nods in acceptance.

The Parampara festival has also traversed through alleys and avenues before it hit the global arena. From a festival that focussed and promoted Kuchipudi, a classical dance specific to the land of the Telugus-Andhra Pradesh, to a national and later an international stage hosting the best in the fields of classical dance and music. “Initially we wanted to give our dance form Kuchipudi a recognition by organising performances of various practising artistes. But from the last four years we have opened up to other forms of art. Now the objective is to bring excellence in the field of performing arts to our stage and present the best to art lovers of this city,” says Kaushalya Reddy, the organiser.

Financial hitches notwithstanding, the festival is not ticketed, “but then there is a catch to this,” quips Kaushalya. “We issue passes at certain points and whoever is interested has to go and pick them up from these points. In that way, we are assured of a genuinely interested audience, not to underestimate the viewers and art aficionados of Delhi,” she adds.

“The pains of growing and establishing our art has now given way to pleasure of enjoying, experiencing, teaching and performing them,” says Raja Reddy. “When we arrived in Delhi, we just stepped in with courage as our armour and art as our insurance. There were greats in the field of dance here and we had to compete with them if we were to prove to the world our existence and that of our dance form. We encountered a lot of denials since no one knew about Kuchipudi dance nor wanted to watch us and judge for themselves. Fortunately, we had our guru the famed Vedantam Prahalada Sarma come over here to further fine-tune us as performers-teachers. The milieu was such then that we had to innovate in order to be understood keeping the grammar of the form intact. Thanks to our former Prime Minister who gave a public applause to our performance, a place to stay and finally recognition over the years, we have achieved what we dream of. This festival is like a marriage in the house, we and the students of Natya Tarangini are the hosts, our invitees, the artistes and audience are our guests, we have to make them happy,” the couple say in unison.

The fest will be held from September 30 to October 2 and feature Carnatic vocalists Hyderabad Brothers on day one followed by Lokendrajit Singh’s Manipuri ensemble and Ronu Mazumdar’s flute recital on the second day. And will conclude with Samudra group’s “Contemporary dance” followed by Kaushiki Chakrabarty’s Hindustani vocal. The special component of the festival will be the revival of 12th century Bodhayana’s composition Bhagavadajjyakam (Vasantasena) in the Kuchipudi format after a hiatus of 21 years! Kamani Auditorium will play host to the three-day dance fest.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.