Andhra Pradesh

Awards are like junk food, says Manju Bhargavi

Kuchipudi should be introduced in primary schools, says Manju Bhargavi

Kuchipudi should be introduced in primary schools, says Manju Bhargavi  

Kuchipudi dancer strongly criticises ‘shortcut’ routes embraced by ‘modern’ dance gurus

Actress and Kuchipudi dancer Manju Bhargavi does not encourage the younger generation children learning dance to participate in competitions.

“I don’t encourage students to go for competitions. The awards they receive there are like pizza; junk food that can give only short-term gratification. It makes you lose sight of lasting glory,” she cautions.

The dancer, best known for her performance in the Telugu blockbuster film Shankarabharanam, says the falling standards of Kuchipudi dance is of serious concern. Kuchipudi tradition, she says, is an ancient art.

“Many families have struggled to infuse life in this dance form over centuries to keep it alive,” she says evoking the legendary dance guru Vempati Chinna Satyam who left his tiny village in Andhra with just two rupees in hand with a determination to reach Madras, the mecca of all dance forms and improve Kuchipudi there.

“Pitted against odds, the dance guru set up the Kuchupudi Art Academy in Madras in 1963 which marked the beginning of his journey in the field of dance. It is our responsibility to prevent any possible dilution of this great dance form which ought to be passed on to the next generations with its glory intact,” she emphasises.

Quick-fix modes

Speaking to The Hindu on the sidelines of a performance, the actress strongly criticises what she calls ‘shortcut’ routes embraced by ‘modern’ dance gurus. “In our times, we had to learn the nuances at least for 10 years before thinking of a stage performance. Now I see Kuchipudi teachers adopting quick-fix modes to garner disciples. A seven-year-old girl who can’t perform even the ‘namaskaram’ properly, gives a stage performance. It is sad that the basics of Kuchipudi dance are given the go-by,” she laments.

Commenting on the several reality shows of music and dance on television channels, Ms. Bhargavi says music has benefited immensely due to these programmes but not the dance. “One needs to involve head to feet in a dance; all parts must fall in place; dance is a huge ocean; it takes a very long time to become proficient in a dance form,” she maintains.

Speaking about the measures to address the huge disconnect between the current generation and the ancient art forms, says Kuchipudi should be introduced in primary schools.

“Children should know something about their culture. What is the point in acquiring bookish knowledge which has no soul,” she says.

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Printable version | Apr 1, 2020 12:05:31 PM |

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