Friday Review

Kala Krishna: It’s tough to depend on dance

Andhra Natyam exponent Kala Krishna as Satyabhama. Photo: K.N. Murali Sankar

Andhra Natyam exponent Kala Krishna as Satyabhama. Photo: K.N. Murali Sankar   | Photo Credit: C.V.Subrahmanyam


Kala Krishna laments lack of male candidates whom he can groom as his successors.

“Classical dance is no longer a male bastion. In fact, there is a steady drop in the number of boys coming forward to take it as full-time profession owing to lack of patronage,” says Kala Krishna, Kuchipudi turned Andhra Natyam exponent, who is well-known for his female roles in dance ballets in general and for the role of Satyabhama in particular. “The case of women is totally different. They get more opportunities to perform and support from corporate groups.But for men, it is tough to depend solely on the dance,” he points out.

Kala Krishna performed for the Sangitha Vidwat Sabha in Kakinada and for the Pithapuram Rajah’s cultural organisation at Kunthi Madhava Swamy temple in Pithapuram. He appeared as Satyabhama on both the stages and performed along with his troupe ‘Nava Janardahna Parijatham’ a dance form that was born on the banks of the Godavari. A disciple of guru Nataraja Ramakrishna, Kala Krishna learnt the nuances of female attire from his mentor. Interestingly, he has not found any boy to groom as his sishya all these years.

“Somehow, I could not spot a boy who has interest in Andhra Natyam and whose features are apt for donning the female role on the stage,” he recalls. Sixty four-year-old Kala Krishna involves himself in the role of Satyabhama and takes care of every minute detail. As a result, people forget his gender and age while watching his amazing footwork and scintillating expressions on the stage. “This is the result of my three-decade long effort. And, I give half the credit to my team, particularly to Rama Jagannath who lends her voice to my female roles in all the major performances,” says the artiste, who is against using recorded orchestra. “I am not comfortable with the pre-recorded nattuvangam, as it restricts the artiste to certain expressions. In live orchestra, there is a lot of scope for onstage improvisations,” he explains. With five of his female disciples, he performs ‘Nava Janardhana Parijatham’ and ‘Ekantha Seva’ in the ballet form along with other items following requests from the connoisseurs of dance. “Makeup is the crucial part. For me, it takes two hours to be attired as Satyabhama,” Kala Krishna reveals.

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Printable version | Dec 13, 2019 11:42:06 AM |

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