Remembering dancer and guru M.K. Saroja

M.K. Saroja, who passed away recently, remained committed to artistic values all her life

July 21, 2022 07:05 pm | Updated July 22, 2022 06:24 pm IST

M.K. Saroja

M.K. Saroja | Photo Credit: The Mohan Khokar Collection

Guru M.K. Saroja was a holistic Bharatanatyam artiste, with experience in acting in films as well. She remained passionate about the art, caring every moment for the dance fraternity. A disciple of Muthukumaran Pillai of Kattumunar koil in Chidambaram, she guided her students across the globe to excel both in art and life. Her eminence as a guru reflects in the fact that her French disciple, Milena Salvini, an ambassador of Indo-French cultural relationship, was awarded the Padma Shri in 2019.

Saroja’s husband Mohan Khokar was an eminent dance scholar and writer, who streamlined teaching at the Department of Dance at Maharaja Sayajirao University in Baroda. Besides her own artistic pursuits, she ably assisted him in all his endeavours. Mohan Khokar’s collection of rare photographs and articles have been donated to the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), New Delhi. Guru Saroja generously donated to the permanent exhibition of 100 years of Indian dance at Bharata-Ilango Foundation for Asian Culture (BIFAC), near Chennai. Till her last breath (she passed away recently at age 91), she remained committed to artistic values. She will always be remembered for her warmth, simplicity, and the eagerness to share knowledge.

The writer is a well-known dancer and scholar.

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