Kerala

Dancing in memory of a singing legend

Methil Devika’s tribute to S.P. Balasubrahmanyam has been watched by nearly 14,000 people on YouTube.  

Methil Devika first watched Sankarabharanam as a little girl at a cinema in Dubai. She was so moved by the dance and music of the film, she ran up to the screen and began to dance; her mother had to drag her back.

The man who sang those timeless songs in Sankarabharanam is no more. Like most south Indians of her generation, Devika grew up listening to S.P. Balasubrahmanyam’s songs.

She felt she needed to a pay a tribute to the gifted singer who gave so much happiness to her and millions of others. It had to be through dance.

Though she is primarily known as a Mohiniyattam dancer – she is one of the leading practitioners of the art – she chose Kuchipudi for her tribute. That was apt, for Kuchipudi is from Andhra Pradesh, where SPB belonged to.

She did not choose one of his popular film songs though, but a Telugu devotional song – Sri Narasimha dandakam.

Why the song

“I had stumbled on the song years before and loved it,” she says. “I choreographed and performed it in Mohiniyattam, after making the necessary changes in music.” Not many know that Devika is trained in Kuchipudi, that too from the legendary Vempatti Chinna Satyam.

She has not performed Kuchipudi on stage for a while, though. But one would not realise it while watching her tribute to SPB.

The response

She is pleasantly surprised by the response the video has generated. “Actress Menaka told me she loved it; she could have related to it better than many because Telugu is her mother tongue,” says Devika. “It was also nice to find that many others, including actor Mohanlal, liked it.”

It has already been watched by nearly 14,000 people on YouTube, within a day of its release.

That is not a bad number, for a video of classical dance.

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Printable version | Nov 23, 2020 10:44:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/dancing-in-memory-of-a-singing-legend/article32733213.ece

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