Actor, director, choreographer, writer and composer Veenapani Chawla,
passed away around 11am on November 30, 2014 at a hospital in
Pondicherry. She was 67. In 1981, she founded the Adishakti Laboratory
for Theatre Art Research in Pondicherry to promote research into the
creation of new performance methodologies. She was one of the pioneers
of experimental theatre in contemporary India. Trained in Mayurbhanj
Chhau, Kalaripayattu, Koodiyattam and Dhrupad singing, she has received
the Zee Astiva Award (2006) and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Puruskar
(2010). The Theatre of Veenapani Chawla: Theory, Practice, and Performance edited by Shanta Gokhale offers insights into the artist's creative process and her oeuvre.
VEENAPANI CHAWLA (5 Apr 1947-30 Nov 2014) by Chandradasan, Theatre Director, Actor & Writer
Kathak exponent Sitara Devi (born on 8 November 1920) passed away in the
early hours of November 25, 2014 at Jaslok Hospital in Mumbai. She was
94. She combined the elements of two schools of Kathak, which had
developed in Banaras and Lucknow. She represented a lost age when Kathak
used to be performed for the whole night. Rabindranath Tagore described
her as Nritya Samragini, meaning the empress of dance, after watching
her performance when she was just 16 years old. Sitara Devi was a
recipient of prestigious awards like Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, Padma
Shri and Kalidas Samman.
Vempati Swarajyalakshmi born on August 1, 1937, well known for her
stellar role as a very supporting spouse of late Kuchipudi doyen Vempati
Chinna Satyam, passed away in the early hours of October 1, 2014.
Swarajyalakshmi is probably one of the last links of the Gurukul type of
taking care with affection hundreds of students of Kuchipudi who were
trained by Vempati Chinna Satyam. She had been a very integral part of
the dance journey of Vempati Chinna Satyam right from the start and been
through the thick and thin of his dance voyage. Her role as a
Sahadharmi, meaning being ‘a partner in the spiritual life’ was
performed to perfection as can be seen from the heights that Vempati
Chinna Satyam touched in all aspects of his life. She leaves behind two
sons, three daughters and eight grand children.
Kuchipudi artiste / musician Josyula Krishnamurthy
passed away in the early hours of September 1,
2014 at his residence, aged 86. He was the
integral part of Venkatrama Kala Mandali and
associated with Vedantam Satyanarayana Sarma. He
specialized in Sampradhaya Kuchipudi Yakshaganam
talas / music and had the honour of accompanying
over 8000 programs during his life time.
dancer, choreographer, teacher, writer,
academician and dance curator, Kathak Guru Dr.
Maya Rao passed away in Bangalore around midnight
of September 1, 2014. She was 86. With her
passing, a huge vacuum has been created in the
world of dance and Kathak. The recently released
book MAYA RAO: A LIFETIME IN CHOREOGRAPHY by Dr.
Maya Rao published by Department of Kannada and
Culture and the Karnataka Sahithya Academy is a
valuable record of Indian classical dance and
Kathak in particular. Her path breaking
achievements suffused with personal reminiscences
makes this memoir extremely readable and a
significant chapter in the cultural history of
Her daughter Madhu Nataraj can be contacted at:
About Dr. Maya
Yoga guru BKS Iyengar passed away at
3.15am at a private hospital in Pune (Dec 14, 1918
– Aug 20, 2014). Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja
Iyengar is one of the world's best-known yoga
gurus. He founded the style of yoga known as
‘Iyengar Yoga’ and is considered one of the
foremost yoga teachers in the world. At the age of
16, he was introduced to yoga by his guru T.
Krishnamacharya. At 18, he was sent to Pune by his
guru to teach and preach yoga.
The Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute
(RIMYI) named after his wife was inaugurated in
Pune on January 19, 1975. ‘Iyengar Yoga’ is now
being followed by certified teachers across the
world. In 1998, he taught 800 of his students for
a week on the occasion of his 80th birthday at
Pune. In 2000, he conducted a special course for
senior ‘Iyengar Yoga’ teachers from nearly 40
countries. Perhaps no one has done more than
Iyengar to bring yoga to the West. BKS Iyengar
taught several eminent personalities such as J.
Krishnamurti, Jayaprakash Narayan (freedom
fighter), Achyut Patwardhan (commandant of
National Defence Academy) and many physicians and
industrialists. His teachings were well
appreciated by Dr. Rajendra Prasad (First
President of India), Dr. Mohammad Hatta (ex-Vice
President of Indonesia), Pope Paul VI and eminent
personalities from different countries. A
fortuitous meeting with violin maestro Yehudi
Menuhin in 1952 was instrumental in introducing
the western world to Iyengar. Menuhin was
responsible in introducing several luminaries to
BKS Iyengar, one of them being the Queen Mother of
The author of 14 books, his 1966 book Light on
Yoga contains detailed instructions on how to
perform more than 200 poses. Considered as the
Bible of yoga, it has been translated into 18
languages. The world will dearly miss this
wonderful teacher who has been one of the most
influential advocates of Yoga.
BKS Iyengar in 1977:
Legendary Bharatanatyam guru and
choreographer Adyar K Lakshman passed
away at 8.25pm at BSS Hospital in Chennai on
August 19, 2014. He had suffered a stroke and the
end came due to respiratory complications. He was
81 yrs old. He is survived by his wife, 2 sons and
a daughter. His son Baba Prasad can be contacted
More about Guru
Adyar K Lakshman
This is really very sad news for the dance world,
specially for Bharatanatyam, that Guru Adyar K
Lakshman is no more. He was one of the very few
gurus who was teaching dance but himself was never
performing. A great loss for all of us, especially
male dancers. My pranams at his feet.
- Santanu Chakraborty
passed away peacefully on July 30, 2014 at her
residence in Chennai. She was a committee member
of Kalakshetra. She was good in theory and
practical side of Bharatanatyam. She received the
Kalakshetra post graduate diploma with
distinction. After marriage, she worked for a few
years in Mumbai with Kanak Rele’s institute. She
was one of those chosen by Leela Samson, the then
director, to see that the Kalakshetra style of
Bharatanatyam continued without any flaw.
Thangamani has danced in Rukmini Devi’s earlier
productions like Kutrala Kuravanji and
Subramaniam (of Ottawa), wife of late Prof. V.
Subramaniam, passed away at the age of 82 on July
27, 2014 in Chennai. Jaya was dynamic, highly
accomplished and excelled in her many careers
including psychologist, school teacher, librarian,
dance producer and arts critic. She contributed
her remarkable energy and skills to many community
organizations and in her younger days was a
Bharatanatyam dancer. Jaya devoted her later years
to preserving and sharing her late husband's
classical dance dramas based on Buddhist themes.
Zohra Segal passed away on July 10, 2014 aged 102,
at Delhi. A student of Mary Wigman, a dance
partner of Uday Shankar, initiated into theatre by
Prithviraj Kapoor, a collaborator of Guru Dutt,
and a rustic traveller by heart, she represented
an epic era of modern times. She was a teacher at
the seminal Almora Center of Uday Shankar where
Narendra Sharma was fortunate to learn principles
of choreography under her.
Iconic performer and
teacher of the Kalakshetra tradition, KP
Kunhiraman passed away peacefully on June 12, 2014
at 2.30 am at the Ramachandra Diabetic Hospital in
Guindy, Chennai. He was 84 years old. He was
ailing and returned to India two years ago. His
wife Katherine Kunhiraman, also a performer and
teacher of repute, was by his side during the
Son of K. Ambu Panikkar, he trained at Kalakshetra
under TK Chandu Panickkar. He taught &
performed in major roles in all the Kathakali
productions of Kalakshetra for several years.
Kunhiraman was famous for his bhava and was best
known for playing strong characters in Kalakshetra
dance productions like Guha and Ravana in the
Ramayana series and Shiva in Kumara Sambhavam.
Veenai Sambasiva Iyer actually named him
Vishwamitra for his stellar depiction of the role.
In 1975 K.P. Kunhiraman and his wife Katherine
Kunhiraman established Kalanjali: Dances of India
in Berkeley, California. In the US, he was the
first to receive the coveted Choreographers'
Fellowship from the National Endowment for the
Arts. He had retired and was residing in
Chennai. Along with his wife, he had been
nominated to receive the LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT
AWARD from the city of San Francisco's Ethnic Folk
Arts Festival on June 14, 2014.
||Kathak guru Kapila Raj
passed away on April 12, 2014 at Lucknow. A
disciple of guru Lachchu Maharaj, she was director
of Sangeet Natak Akademi Lucknow from 1998 to
bereaved... Odissi dancer Jhelum Paranjape’s
mother passed away on April 9, 2014 at Mumbai
after a brief illness.
bereaved... Film producer Muktha Govind, husband
of Bharatanatyam dancer Priyadarsini Govind,
passed away in Chennai on April 9, 2014 following
a massive heart attack.
||Viji Prakash and
Mythili Prakash bereaved... Kikkeri Prakash,
husband of Bharatanatyam dancer Viji Prakash and
father of Mythili Prakash and Aditya Prakash,
passed away on April 7, 2014, Los Angeles.
R Rajagopal, popularly known as ‘Kartik’
Rajagopal, passed away in Chennai on March 30,
2014 aged 88. He was the Founder-Secretary of
Kartik Fine Arts that he served for 4 decades and
ex-Founder-Secretary of Mylapore Fine Arts Club.
He received the Kalaimamani in 2006.
Kalamandalam Haridas, Kathakali performer and
teacher, passed away on March 30, 2014. He was 62.
He has performed pacha (heroic) and minukku roles.
He was performing in Santhanagopalam on the
previous night at Cherthala when he felt uneasy,
and was rushed to the hospital where he breathed
||Guru Jagannath Mahanta
(May 1, 1941 - March 16, 2014), a leading scholar
and exponent of Sattriya, is no more.
Leela Sekhar, chairperson of Madras chapter of
International Dance Alliance, passed away in
Chennai on January 18, 2014. She was 93. IDA is a
non-profit international organization founded to
promote goodwill and understanding between
dancers. Its Madras Chapter was started by Leela
Sekhar in 1986.
principal actor Bhogen Singh who played role of
Emperor Ashoka in Ratan's play Uttar Priyadarshi
passed away on January 3, 2014.