Malavika Sarukkai became a star in the 1980s. She was probably lucky to be in the right place at the right time. Classical dance had moved out from chambers to small halls and large sabha auditoria. Bharatanatyam was going global with the Festivals of India, and the performing space was growing larger. Cultural bureaucrats were on the lookout for classical dancers with impressive bodylines in dance and a contemporary sensibility which could wow the West. Malavika had a good dance vocabulary and her angika abhinaya was emphatic; her style seemed just right. She was among the few dancers to become very popular during this phase. The fact that she was articulate and eloquent in speech was an added advantage.