TAMIL NADU

A tale of the struggles and triumphs in dancers’ lives

A picture of graceDancer Dhananjayan performs with the author Tulsi Badrinath at the book launch — Photo: R. Ragu

A picture of graceDancer Dhananjayan performs with the author Tulsi Badrinath at the book launch — Photo: R. Ragu  

The book ‘Master of Arts: A Life in Dance’ by Tulsi Badrinath, is not just about dance alone or men and dance, but about life as it experienced by people in dance, said former West Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi during the launch of the book on Tuesday.

He said the book had some compelling descriptions of what dancer Navtej Johar underwent in October, 1984 in Delhi and how anything may have happened during those disturbing and dangerous hours.

“When Leela Samson puts him in the last bus from Delhi to Chandigarh and says ‘Navtej, go!’, so much comes to life,” he said.

Describing the book as “frank, fair and hugely readable”, he said that Tulsi, through her conversation with artists, brings out their struggles and triumphs for the reader to see collectively.

In conversation with Mr. Gandhi, Tulsi Badrinath said that she faced some difficulty in choosing the people portrayed in the book. “My guru Dhananjayan’s story is the closest to my heart. There are several eminent dancers whom I wanted to write about; but when I write about my guru, their stories were also included. Also, some of them didn’t want to be a part of the book due to various personal reasons,” Ms. Badrinath said.

She spoke about how she had to give up one of her favourite chapters where dancers speak about the disasters backstage as the editor of the book thought it disrupted the narrative flow.

“I asked several dancers about backstage disasters as that was one of the things most dancers connect to. You overcome those problems and present a perfect show but only we know what happened behind stage. That was my favourite chapter but my editor felt that it broke the flow and so, with a heavy heart I gave up that chapter,” she added.



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