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My aim is to master nuances of Kuchipudi: Abhinaya


J S CHITHRA | New Delhi, December 5, 2011 16:49
Tags : aim | to master | nuances of Kuchipudi | Abhinaya |

Abhinaya Praneetha Nagajothy, a Delhi-based Kuchipudi danseuse, believes in the Guru-Shishya tradition. Having been introduced to this art form at the age of three, Abhinaya has mastered Kuchipudi to a greater extent and has participated in major dance festivals in India and abroad. Her objective is to master the nuances of Kuchipudi and to share her knowledge. Abhinaya has received several accolades like "Natya Yuva Mani" and "Nritya Paripoorna" among others. Recently Abhinaya participated in 'Maha Brinda Natyam' and made it to the Guinness Book of World Records. Abhinaya shares her experience with The Sunday Indian after her felicitation by the Delhi Tamil Sangam in the Capital recently. Excerpts from the interview:

TSI: How was it to be part of Maha Brinda Natyam?
APN: A resolve made forty years ago by Guru. Dr
Vempati Chinna Satyam, has consummated in the rendition of Maha Brinda Natyam with the participation of Kuchipudi dancers from world over. 2,800 dedicated practioners of this classical form came together under the aegis of Andhra Silicon Valley. Being a part of an unforgettable experience, Maha Brinda Natyam was like a drop in the ocean or an anu (atom), contributing to big event. Dancing on a piece that was composed and choreographed for my mother's Rangapravesam (first maiden performance) by the legendry Padmabhushan awardee, Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam, was an added pride as the follower of this Parampara. My mother presented a scholarly paper in the seminar held as a part of the same event. I am fortunate to have attended the presentations made by my mother and many other artists and stalwarts including Yamini Krishnamurthy, Avinash Pasricha, Alekhya Punjala who enlightened us about various aspects of unexplored Kuchipudi.

TSI: After becoming an exponent of Kuchipudi, how do you plan to take the tradition forward?
APN: My Naanna (father) introduced me to Kuchipudi. He taught me the basics of this art form. I used to imitate the mudras that other students were taught just at the age of three. Naanna saw the interest in me and gave rigorous training for few years an
d then Amma taught me the expressional pieces. I was always spell bound in seeing my parent’s dedication towards teaching and propagating Kuchipudi. I have never been spared of hard work because I am Guru’s daughter. I had to make double the effort to keep up with their name. I have been assisting my Gurus in conducting classes and workshops here and abroad. But I strongly feel one becomes a real Guru only when your disciple creates his/her own disciple, following the Parampara. I think it is a continuous process of learning as you keep on practicing.

TSI: Apart from Kuchipudi, you are interested in theatres too. Tell us about your theatre experience.
APN: Theatre is something I feel related to. The theatrical aspects of Kuchipudi, a solo art form, may be the reason that I am dedicated to theatre. My Gurus have choreographed many dance ballets like Shiva Tarangam, Dasavataram, Ayyappa Jananam where the characters use dialogue and monologues. This created a lot of interest in theatre for me as child. As I grew I joined various Tamil theatres in Delhi and bagged leading roles in them. I like the role I played as Swasini in a Tamil play, Chanakyian, which was adapted from Deshpande's Vishnugupta Chanakya and was largely liked by the Chennai audience. The role was of a court young dancer falling in love with Chandra Gupta Maurya. There were interesting mix of dance and dialogues between me and Chanakya in the play.

TSI: Kuchipudi exponents are many in Andhra Pradesh. How did the capital city help you in shaping yourself as an artiste?
APN: I think most of the kids like me who are born to cross cultural parents (my naana is a Tamil and amma is a Telegu) create a unique culture. And artists like me, who speak four or more languages, are open to wider audience for their art. It is always interesting to explain the niceties and nuances of the classical dance that has travelled from a village in Andhra Pradesh and made its mark in the Common Wealth Games and more internationally to enter into the Guinness Book of World Records. Our school has disciples from all over the country, Kashmiris, Gujaratis, Bengalis, Kannadikas, Malayalees, Tamils and Telugus, giving us a feel of true united India.

TSI: Tell us about some exponents whose work infuenced your growth in the field.
APN: There are many who have inspired me. One of them particularly is Dr. Kamala Reddy. She was trained by Guru Garu and became one of the leading dancers. All this happened before my birht. I had watched her video, a million times as I was left spell bound each time I watched it. I find her performance very aesthetic. I have always loved watching Dr. Raja Reddy, for his very presence on stage used to thrill me. His dedication and sadhana is shown in his performance. When I recently watched Dr. Alekhya Punjala perform on Satya Bhama, I loved the intensity of her histrionics. I also admire Vyjayanthi Kashi ji’s usage of theatre in dance.

TSI: Having achieved this much at an early age, what is your message for the young dancers?
APN: Natya has everything- Bharata says,
Natat jnanam Natat Chilpam Nasa Vidya Nasa kala I
Naasou Yogo Natat Karma Natyesmin Yannadrisyate II

There is nothing that is not included in Natya, knowledge, scriptures, education, art, yoga, and karma. It is an encyclopedia. I suggest youngsters not to deviate and not to take up too many activities than you can handle. Be focused in what you are most passionate about. To establish oneself as a professional, one needs deep understanding of not only the practical aspects but also the deep belief it is rooted in. To create something new, one needs to be well versed with the past and the existing form blending Tradition with individual talent. Learn it for the heart; the body will love it too.

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Posted By: vanitha | New delhi | December 6th 2011 | 17:12
you are the best abhi..proud to be your friend...:)'

Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017