2013

Kathak Guru Pt. Sundaralal Gangani passed away on December 17, 2013 at Baroda.

Radha Burnier passed away on October 31, 2013 in Chennai at the age of 90. The first student to graduate from Kalakshetra, she was the niece of Rukmini Devi Arundale. She was the granddaughter of Nilakanta Sastri, the most authoritative scholar and historian of South India. Radha was also a very close friend of philosopher and educationist Jiddu Krishnamurti who established the Rishi Valley schools. She often visited the schools herself and monitored them. She was a thorough Theosophist and was the last connection to the great theosophical movement that contributed to India's independence movement. She was serving her 5th term as the president of Theosophical society in Adyar.
                
Here is a rare dance clipping of Radha Burnier dancing in Jean Renoir's film ‘The River’ in 1951. On nattuvangam is the legendary Dandayudhapani Pillai who was a staff member, senior guru and teacher in Kalakshetra in those years.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1ndD4knjpQ

Dr. Leela Pai (FRCOG & Fellow of the Royal College London), a very well known and much sought after gynecologist in Bengaluru passed away on October 2, 2013 after a brief illness. Dr. Leela Pai is the elder sister of Shanta Dhananjayan.

A performer of the Punjab gharana of Kathak, Tara Chaudhri, popularly dubbed the Pavlova of the Punjab, passed away on Sept 22, 2013 at Karachi in Pakistan.

Classical vocalist, composer and Odissi musicologist Pt Raghunath Panigrahi passed away in Bhubaneswar on Aug 25, 2013. He was born on 10 August 1934 in Gunpur of Koraput District in Orissa. Pt Raghunath Panigrahi learnt from his father Nilamani Panigrahi, the classical way of singing Gita Govinda as preserved in the temple of Jagannatha in Puri and is known for his lifetime contribution towards promoting, propagating and popularizing the life and works of Jayadeva in the Orissa style.
He met Sanjukta Panigrahi at Kalakshetra where she was learning Bharatanatyam and married her in 1960. A regular artist of the All India Radio since 1948, Panigrahi also lent his voice in playback to several films produced in Orissa and in South India. He sang when he was only 19 in the film ‘Ilavelpu’ for superstar N T Rama Rao. The song was a super hit. He even sang for Tamil and Kannada films and his voice became an instant hit. He left a promising career in film music in Chennai to provide vocal accompaniment to Sanjukta Panigrahi for her Odissi programs and together the duo enchanted the audience for many years from the 70s till the 90s. In 1976, they jointly received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award. After the death of Sanjukta in 1997, he was associated with Nrityagram and composed music for many of their productions.  In 1999, he formed the Sanjukta Panigrahi Memorial Trust to promote the cause of Odissi dance. Since 2001, every year on her birth anniversary, the trust has been giving away scholarships to budding dancers, and awards of excellence in the field of Odissi dance.
Pt Raghunath Panigrahi was honoured by the French Government in 1976. In Nov 2008, he received the first Jayadeva Samman, Padma Shri in 2010. On August 23, 2013 Ravenshaw University awarded him an honorary doctorate at his residence.

Odissi Guru Muralidhar Majhi passed away on 22nd July 2013 on Guru Purnima day. A torch bearer of Guru Pankaj Charan gharana, he was a professor of Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata.

Bharatanatyam teacher Saraswathi Sundaresan, Director of Vipanchee, passed away in Chennai on July 13, 2013.

Emily Mayne (Feb 8, 1952 - May 29, 2013), a disciple of T Balasaraswati in the United States, breathed her last after suffering from cancer.
http://www.movedamnyou.com/a-tribute-to-emily-mayne-ep-73/


Mridangam vidwan G Ekambaram passed away at Kanchipuram on May 23, 2013. Ekambaram had accompanied T Balasaraswati, her disciples Priyamvada and Nandini Ramani as well as their students in India and abroad from 1958 to 2006.


KP Bhaskar, a leading light in the Indian dance community of Singapore and former president of WDA Singapore chapter passed away in Singapore on the morning of April 17, 2013 due to heart related illness.
Obit/tribute

Violin maestro and composer Lalgudi Jayaraman (Sept 17, 1930 - April 22, 2013) passed away in Chennai after a brief illness. He mastered the nuances of Carnatic music under his father Gopala Iyer’s guidance, starting his music career at the age of 12. He accompanied many stalwart vocalists before becoming a solo violinist. Jayaraman cr¬eated a new style popularly known as Lalgudi bani, a style that seemed to make the violin sing. He composed kritis, varnams and thillanas in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Sanskrit. While Jayaraman’s compositions are a standard highlight of every leading Carnatic musician's repertoire, he was also well known for his dance compositions that are very popular with Bharatanatyam dancers. He composed music for the dance dramas ‘Jaya Jaya Devi’ and ‘Pancheswaram’ apart from other dance compositions. He has composed special scores for dancers Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam, Urmila Sathyanarayanan, Nandini Rangan and Chitra Visweswaran. His score for the film ‘Sringaram’ (2006) won him the best music composer award from the Govt of India. He was credited with creating a wide range of ragas. Lalgudi Jayaraman and his contemporaries MS Gopalakrishnan and TN Krishnan are known as the violin trinity.

Jayaraman has been honored with Padma Shri in 1972, state vidhwan of Tamil Nadu in 1979, Padma Bhushan in 2001, lifetime achievement award by Music Academy in 2008. He was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi fellowship in 2010 and was the first musician to be honoured with the Chowdiah Memorial National Level Award for his outstanding achievements as a violinist. He received honorary citizenship of Maryland, USA, in 1994.  He is survived by his wife, son GJR Krishnan and daughter GJR Vijayalakshmi, who are both violinists in their father’s tradition.

Kathakali maestro Kalamandalam Ramankutty Nair (May 25, 1925 – March 11, 2013) passed away at his residence in Vellinezhy, Palakkad, Kerala. The son of Oppath Narayanan Nair and Thenginthottathil Kunhumaalu Amma, he performed characters in kalluvazhi tradition of Kathakali and excelled in Kathi and Vellathadi characters. He was a disciple of Pattikkamthodi Ravunni Menon who took him to Kerala Kalamandalam at the age of 13. He later became a teacher there and retired in 1985 as the principal of Kalamandalam, his service there spanning nearly four decades. Kathakali actors Kalamandalam Gopi, Kalamandalam Balasubramanian and Kalamandalam Vasu Pisharodi are some of his famous pupils.
Ramankutty Nair became famous for his role of Parasurama in ‘Sita Swayamvaram,’ Hanuman   in 'Thoranayudham,' 'Kalyanasougandhikam' and 'Lavanasuravadham,' Ravana in 'Udbavam', Sisupalan in 'Rajasooyam', Duryodhana, Keechaka, Narakasura and other negative heroes. For the purity of his style and his eminence as an exponent and teacher of Kalluvazhi Chitta, Ramankutty Nair was known as ‘Panini of Kathakali.’ He received several honors - Padma Bhushan in 2007, National Sangeetha Nataka Academy award, Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi award, Kalidas Samman from Madhya Pradesh govt, Emeritus fellowship from Human Resources Development of Govt of India in 1999 and was the first artist to receive the Kathakali Puraskaram in 2000.
He wrote his autobiography ‘Thiranottam.’ Filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan made a documentary film titled ‘Kalamandalam Ramankutty Nair’ in 2005. The Kathakali exponent was accorded a gun salute and cremated with full state honours in the compound of his house.
Master of Perfection by K. K. Gopalakrishnan
http://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/dance/master-of-perfection/article4508161.ece


Bharatanatyam dancer Malavika Sarukkai is bereaved. Her mother Saroja Kamakshi passed away in Chennai on March 4, 2013.

Bharatanatyam Guru M.N. Suvarna passed away on February 15, 2013. He was an exponent of the Thanjavur style, and spread his art through his institution Arunodaya Kala Niketan, Mumbai.


Musician and composer Atul Desai passed away in Canada on January 20, 2013. Trained in Hindustani vocal music by Pt. Omkarnath Thakur, Atul Desai has composed music for all of Ahmedabad based Kadamb's dance presentations, for the Bharatiya Kala Kendra, music for children's productions, TV films, radio features and plays.