2003
Sundaram Ramakrishnan, executive secretary and director general of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Worldwide, passed away in Mumbai on February 14, 2003 at the age of 81. He was born on July 22, 1922 at Pushpagiri, Trissur in Kerala. In 1947, he joined the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, which had been founded by KM Munshi in 1938. After Munshi passed away in 1971, Ramakrishnan took over as Bhavan's executive secretary and later as director general. Due to his untiring efforts and vision, the Bhavan became the home of Indian culture with 113 centres in every major city all over India and Kendras in New York, London, Portugal, Kuwait, South Africa and Canada.


Doraikannu, a Devadasi who played a principal role in the revived Kaisiki Natakam, passed away on April 10, 2003. She was 89.

Kamala Rani, Professor Emeritus, Nattuvanar and musician, Kalakshetra (retd), passed away on April 19, 2003 at Chennai.

Muriel Topaz, director of the Dance Division of the Juilliard School from 1985 to 1992 passed away on Monday April 28, 2003 in Branford, Connecticut due to liver ailment. She has notated dances that without her would not survive. As director of the Dance Notation Bureau she arranged for the notation of many works that generations will continue to enjoy. She has trained notators who continue her work. At Juilliard, she oversaw the training of a new generation of dancers and choreographers.

T A Rajalakshmi, Bharatanatyam dancer and guru of Thiruvidaimarudur, passed away in Chennai on June 4, 2003.
The 'Guru of the gurus', noted Odissi Guru Pankaj Charan Das passed away on June 11, 2003 at his residence in Puri (Orissa) following prolonged illness. He was 82 and is survived by seven sons and four daughters. The state Culture Dept gave Rs.10, 000 cash for performing the last rites. His body was cremated at the Swarga Dwara with full state honour. Born on March 17, 1921, he was the only Guru of his tradition to be born in a traditional Mahari family of Puri.
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Born on March 1, 1917, K P Sivanandam, the last survivor of the Thanjavur Quartette, passed away in Chennai on July 30, 2003 at the age of 86. He learnt music and dance from his grandfather Pandanallur Meenakshisundaram Pillai and from his father K Ponnaiah Pillai. He graduated with a Sangita Bushanam degree from the Annamalai University where he also learned the veena from V S Gomathisankara Iyer and Deshamangalam Subramanya Iyer. Sivanandam took to music and became proficient on the veena, whilst his elder brother Kittappa Pillai became famous in the field of dance. He is known for his huge repertoire of rare kritis of the Quartette.
Bhaskar Roy Chowdhury, celebrated choreographer and dancer who took the beauty, power and grace of Bharatanatyam in the 1950s to the USA passed away on Monday, August 4, 2003 at The Jewish Home & Hospital, 120 West 106th Street, NYC. His mortal remains were cremated as desired by him in his Will and Testament.
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The youngest of the Pooviah Sisters, Kathak dancer Lata Pooviah passed away in Bangalore on August 7, 2003, at the age of 92.
Bharatanatyam exponent Thanjavur Kamalambal was born in 1908. She was famous for her portrayal of the sakhi in the Kuravanji Natakam held annually at the Brihadeeswara temple, Thanjavur. She passed away on August 11, 2003 in Chidambaram at the ripe old age of 95.

Scholar and a veteran critic B V K Sastry passed away on September 22, 2003. He was the music and dance critic of Deccan Herald for more than three decades. B V K Sastry was born on July 30,1916 in Nanjangud in Karnataka. Well versed in music and painting, he obtained a diploma in painting at the Chamarajendra Technical Institute. Mysore, and studied music under Chicka Rama Rao, the veteran musician of the Mysore palace. He started his journalistic career in 1941. He was closely associated with institutions like Karnataka Ganakala Parishat, Bangalore Gayana Samaja, Percussive Arts Centre, and Nupura. In various capacities, he has served national and State-level institutions like Central Sangeet Natak Akademi, Lalit Kala Akademi (New Delhi), Advisory Committee of ICCR, Bharat Bhavan (MP), and South Zone Culture Centre, and Karnataka Sangeet Nritya Academy. He received several awards including Rajyotsava Award from the Govt of Karnataka. The book Murali Vaani contains about 127 of his articles in both Kannada and English on music, dance, painting, sculpture and theatre.
Legendary dancer Pandit Ram Gopal, one of the greatest Indian dancers of the 20th century passed away in a nursing home in London on Sunday 12th October 2003. Born in Bangalore, India on November 20, (the year of his birth is given variously as 1912 or 1914) to an Indian lawyer father and Burmese mother, Ram Gopal was drawn to dance from childhood and learnt Bharatanatyam, Kathak and Kathakali. He was a pioneer in introducing traditional Indian dance to Western audiences, and made his New York solo debut on May 1, 1938, at the 46th Street Theater. He took his company to London's Aldwych Theatre in 1939. He returned to the west after the war.

He published his autobiography, "Rhythm in the Heavens," in 1957. In 1999 he received the Order of the British Empire. The Indian government conferred the title of Pandit on him. Ram Gopal lived out his old age in a nursing home in Norbury, south London, cared for by a few devoted friends.
The funeral will take place on Monday 20th October at 3.15pm at Croydon Crematorium, West Chapel, Thornton Road, Thornton Heath, Croydon CR9 3AT. Profile/Ttribute


A Ravi, Bharatanatyam dancer and director of the Chennai based dance school Ravi's Naatyopasana, was murdered on October 29, 2003 by Sivakumar, an unemployed youth from Theni district (Tamilnadu) for monetary gain. Sivakumar met Ravi five months ago and after winning his friendship and confidence, was entrusted with Ravi's banking transactions. A student of the Dhananjayans, 37-year-old Ravi was administered poisoned food. Sivakumar had withdrawn cash amounting to Rs.60, 000 from Ravi's accounts and stolen his mobile and 3 sovereign gold chain.

Manipuri dancer Sunanda Chowdhury passed away on November 4, 2003 at Kolkata after a brief illness. She was 67. She was a noted Rabindra Sangeet artiste and a disciple of Manipuri guru Bipin Singh.

Jayalakshmi Sadagopan, director of Chennai based organization Natyanjali Trust passed away on November 7, 2003.