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Individual Issues

Papa Venkataramiah: A Celebrated Violinist
Issue : 204
Published on : September, 2001



3 Sruti Box

7 News & Notes

13 Obituary

15 Dance Space

17 Reverie

19 Special Feature

39 The Book Shelf

43 The Record Rack

47 Multi-Media

49 Brief Notes

52 Editor's Note

Front Cover: Papa Venkataramiah
(Samudri Archives)

News & Notes
Kelubabu's 75th Birthday

It was the stuff dreams are made of! Renowned Odissi Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra's 75th year was celebrated with a rousing two-day festival 'Pradakshina' mounted by loyal and adoring disciples from within and outside India, 5 and 6 July in Delhi. Even for one much feted with prestigious titles and awards from all corners of the world, this downpour of reverence and love was an overwhelming experience. Spearheaded by senior disciples Kumkum Lai and Madhavi Mudgal who were ably supported by over 50 students, and with government agencies like the central Sangeet Natak Akademi, the Sahitya Kala Parishad and the North Central Zone Cultural Centre collaborating with institutions like the Gandharva Mahavidyalaya and Srjan, the two-day event was a memorable experience for both the organisers and the viewers.

The occasion became a trip down memory lane with the presence of people, who, at various points in the guru's life, had played crucial roles in guiding his destiny.

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Special Feature
Papa Venkataramiah

Papa Venkataramiah was born on 12 September 1901 as the second son of violinist Karur Srikantiah. He, like Tyagaraja, belonged to the Mulakanadu (Murikinadu) sect of Teluguspeaking brahmins. He could claim kinship of blood and music with the composer Matrubhootiah, and with the Devudu Brothers: Pedda Devudu (Venkatasubbiah) and Chinna Devudu (Krishniah), the violinist and composer of the Garbhapuri kriti-S; and also with Sangeeta Kalanidhi Karur Chinnaswami Iyer (1888-1967), who was a recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award as well. Father Srikantiah was a disciple of Chinna Devudu and he helped his guru to establish a music school in Esplanade, Madras. In his time, Papa had his novitiate under Chinnaswami Iyer.

Papa wanted to become Govindaswamy Pillai's disciple in 1920 when the latter had come to Madras for a concert engagement at the wedding of Veena Dhanammal's grandson. It was a lucky coincidence, as Veena Dhanammal was Govindaswamy Pillai's patron-saint, philosopher and friend. Papa was accepted and this was a turning point in his career as a musician.

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Dance Space
Surviving Cultural Fascism

The problem lies buried deep, unspoken, in the minds of the dancers. A strange dissatisfaction disturbs us, even as we are complimented, partied, feted and apparently highly regarded.

We were taught to believe that we should be committed and dedicated to our chosen style of dance, that the gestation period could be long but the rewards would be many. Despite all this indoctrination, we seem to be plagued by restlessness, discontent with self, and an urge to  get to the bottom of 'this source of dissatisfaction'.

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News & Notes
IDA Celebrates Fifteenth Anniversary

The two-day dance festival in celebration of the 15th anniversary of the International Dance Alliance (IDA) held at the Music Academy in Chennai on 18 and 19 July, was an eagerly awaited event. The programme billed as 'Nrithya Mala'—a dance extravaganza by young and talented dancers—was organised jointly by IDA and ABHAI (Association of Bharatanatyam Artistes of India).

Whatever its shortcomings, and there were a few, the main mover behind this 12-petalled flowering of dance, Leela Sekhar did spread her net wide—two teams from Bangalore, one from Delhi, the rest from Madras.

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