Eminent makeup artiste Kanakaraj passed away on June 17, 2019 at Bangalore, aged 60. He served exclusively in the field of dance for about 40 years as makeup man. He was almost a permanent makeup man of Natya Institute of Dr.Maya Rao and Prabhat Kalavidaru. Most of the dance schools in the city availed the services of Kanakaraj. He has done makeup for hundreds of arangetrams. He also has to his credit doing makeup for Sudha Chandran and many other internationally acclaimed dancers. Above his perfect professionalism, he was a humble human being with great respect for elders and Gurus. His presence will be missed.
Girish Raghunath Karnad (19 May 1938 - 10 June 2019) was an actor, film director, writer, playwright and a Rhodes scholar. He passed away in Bangalore due to age related ailments.
Bharatanatyam Guru Jamuna Krishnan, Director, Kalangan Centre for Classical Arts in New Delhi (established in 1991), and mother of dancer Ragini Chandershekar, passed away on May 15, 2019. Born on March 12, 1943, she was a celebrated and revered Bharatanatyam dancer, teacher, scholar, researcher and choreographer of Bharatanatyam. Jamuna Krishnan was a disciple of Guru K.J. Govindarajan and Kalanidhi Narayanan. She is known for widening the vocabulary of Bharatanatyam, her unique contribution being incorporating regional poetry into Bharatanatyam, especially compositions based on bhakti literature of North India like the poetic works of Vidyapati, Surdas, Meera, Kabir etc. A striking feature of her choreographic works is that all the music composition and dance choreography has been done by her. Jamuna’s thought provoking research papers have added new dimensions in the Bharatanatyam thought process. As a revered teacher for over 4 decades, she has taught several dancers and choreographers, who are well-established teachers in their own right today.
More info: https://kalangandance.com
Hyderabad based Sathiraju Venumadhav, an extraordinary concert musician, an amazing composer and a dancer’s musician, passed away on April 23, 2019 aged 46. He was greatly admired for his talent and simplicity.
Sathiraju Venumadhav, a disciple of D. Raghavachary (Hyderabad Brothers), was a classical singer who has also widely composed for dance. Venumadhav took great pains to sing with the right diction, and to evoke the appropriate bhava and rasa of every composition. In 2010, he released a CD Annamayya Pada Mandakini in which 108 kirtanas of Annamayya were composed and sung by him. Accomplished dancers of Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi styles have performed to these compositions. He was known for his diction, resonant voice and sense of grammar in singing the nuances of classical music. Venumadhav had been given the rare honour of singing Annamayya’s Dasavatara Suladi in the original notation of Annamayya as found in the Tirumala Music Inscriptions engraved on stone slabs at the Tirumala hill, Tirupati. He has composed for many dancers including late Uma Rama Rao and was the vocalist/composer for Ananda Shankar Jayant’s productions.
Veteran Odissi vocalist and composer Rakhal Mohanty passed away in Cuttack, Orissa, on April 14, 2019 after a prolonged illness, aged 88. He was a prominent composer for Odiya films as well as for Odissi dance. He gave vocal accompaniment to Odissi dancers Sanjukta Panigrahi, Kumkum Mohanty and Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra in the 1970s. His Odissi vocal rendering of 'Shankarabharanam Pallavi' and Odiya abhinaya 'Toh Lagi Gopa Danda' by Bhubaneswar Mishra are well known. He was music composer for Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra's 'Konark' dance production.
Kartik Chandra Rath, playwright, promotor of the arts, and organizer of festivals, passed away in Cuttack, Odisha on April 1, 2019. He was 70.
Kuchipudi dancer and writer Bhavanvitha Venkat, disciple of Guru Bala Kondala Rao, succumbed to a cardiac arrest on March 28, 2019. Professionally a finance advisor for corporates, he had an unparalleled passion for Kuchipudi, was a supporter of Kuchipudi artistes, a champion for the cause of Kuchipudi and expressed great concern for the future of the dance form. He was a regular contributor to narthaki.com. His presence and voice will be sorely missed.
Born on 22 April 1948, Kathak guru Pt Vijai Shankar, a disciple of Pt Birju Maharaj, passed away peacefully in his sleep on March 16, 2019. He also trained in tabla under Khalifa Ghulam Hussain Khan. He went to Kolkata and married the daughter of legendary tabla maestro Kishan Maharaj. Vijai Shankar taught at Padatik of Shyamanand Jalan and Chetna Jalan. Since the 1960s, he performed lead roles in many dance dramas choreographed by Birju Maharaj for Kathak Kendra. Vijai Shankar trained many young Kathak dancers at his Shankar's Kathak Dance Research Centre, in Kolkata and Varanasi. He received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for his contribution to Kathak dance. He was a brilliant dancer, an excellent teacher and a gentle soul.
More info: https://www.classicalclaps.com
Kathak Guru Ganesh Hiralal Hasal passed away on March 15, 2019.
Prof D Pasupathi, Carnatic musician and music composer from Kalakshetra, passed away on February 26, 2019. He was one of the prominent Kalakshetra alumni and favourite of Rukmini Devi who used to conduct all her Bharatanatyam performances and natya natakams before he became the principal of the Thirupati Venkateswara College of Music. After retirement, he came back to Kalakshetra as the institution's Vice Principal. A highly respected vidwan, he received several coveted awards including Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and Sangeeta Kala Acharya honour from Madras Music Academy. His wife Jayalakshmi, also a Kalakshetra alumni who died a few years earlier, was a strong support to him.
Bharatanatyam and Kathak dancer Gina Lalli (born on July 14, 1929) died on 16 February 2019 in Austin, Texas, after an extended illness. She was 89.
Kathakali artiste Chavara Parukutty passed away on February 7, 2019. She was known for making her mark in a male dominated field and specially for her depiction of female roles in Kathakali.
M.N. Sarma, the co-founder editor of Nartanam quarterly magazine, passed away on January 15, 2019. He had been ailing for the past few months. Sarma was an eminent theatre personality and an academician.