Friday Review

When the Fort came alive

Deepika Reddy  

The stone walls of Golconda Fort reverberated with the sound of the anklet bells of the Kuchipudi dancers. Unmindful of the midweek November nip in the air, the audience savoured the moment and gave a standing ovation to the artistes led by danseuse Deepika Reddy and Padma Rajgopal, FICCI FLO chairperson, the brain behind the event.

The event, a first of its kind, was a Kuchipudi recital by Deepika and her students at the Golconda Fort, aptly titled ‘Jayaho Golconda’ and ‘Telangana Vaibhavam’.

With the magnificent Fort as the backdrop, Deepika Reddy took the audience through the story of Abul Hassan Taneshah, the Golconda ruler who’s known as the patron of performing arts. His contribution to the growth and recognition of Kuchipudi dance form and the artistes is well known too. Deepika, through her brilliant choreography, depicted the episode where Taneshah, after witnessing a performance, becomes so mesmerised by the beauty of the dance form that he instantly gives them the village of Kuchipudi as a gift.

‘Heritage Speaks Through Dance’ was Deepika’s next segment, where a specially choreographed thematic dance, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of Hyderabad and Telangana was presented. Titled ‘Telangana Vaibhavam’, the ballet encompassed the historic tourist destinations, important pilgrim centres and renowned poets of Telangana. Yet again Deepika was at her choreographic best while depicting the touristy places like Charminar, Salarjung Museum, Hussain Sagar in Hyderabad, ably assisted by her disciples. While Vaddepalli Krishna had penned the lyrics, DSV Sastry composed and sung for the musical.

Within months of taking over as the chairperson of FLO, businesswoman Padma Rajagopal made a significant impact within the Hyderabad chapter. Initiating a work culture that resonates the theme of the year ‘Aspire to Inspire’, Padma set out to invite many first time international speakers at FICCI events and is making efforts to establish one-on-one contact with all the 600 members of FLO. ‘Raise the bar’ has been her motto and ‘making impossible possible’, her mantra. Organising this mammoth dance event at Golconda Fort was one such initiative. While speaking about how this idea came about, Padma says right from the time she took over as FICCI chairperson she wanted to do something different. “When Deepika Reddy called me to congratulate when I took over, I told her we must do something different. I don’t know why but I connect Deepika with Golconda. I had always wanted to organise her dance at the historic Fort. That’s how we went about planning this grandiose event,” she smiles.

But permission to perform at the Fort, which was under the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) wasn’t easy. Padma had to move “heaven and earth and many files in Delhi to get the approval”. Recalls Padma, “We had to spend many sleepless nights and we got the approval just 48 hours before the event.”

Not the one to rest on her laurels, Padma is ready to move on to FICCI’s next exciting venture.

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Printable version | Dec 1, 2020 2:03:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/When-the-Fort-came-alive/article16441764.ece

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