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Indra Rajan
(Courtesy: Narada Gana Sabha Trust)


August 16, 2007

Guru Indra Rajan has had an illustrious career as an accomplished Bharatanatyam exponent, teacher and nattuvangam artist.

Indra was born in 1939 in an Isai Velalar family at Karaikal in Tamil Nadu. Her grandmother Sundarambal was a renowned Sadir dancer of her time, mother Sundara Kamakshi was a well-known musician, and paternal uncles KN Dandayudhapani Pillai and KN Pakkiriswami Pillai were eminent natyacharyas. Indra was initiated into dance under Kutralam Ganesa Pillai and had her arangetram at the age of nine. She continued her gurukulavasam and launched on an independent dance career when she was 13 years old.

Indra has performed extensively in India and abroad. In the course of her long and successful career she was selected to perform in northern and eastern India under the cultural exchange programs of the Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Manram. She has performed at important State functions and in the presence of dignitaries. She has composed dance to traditional songs from Tevaram, Tiruvachagam and Nalayira Divya Prabandham, and has choreographed many dance-dramas on varied themes. She has also tried her hand at dance choreography for films.

Indra Rajan holds a unique place among women nattuvanars. She excels in rendering complicated jati patterns and has a flamboyant and vibrant style of reciting the sollukattus with punch and vigour. She has wielded the cymbals for famous dancers like Vyjayanthimala Bali, Yamini Krishnamurthi, Alarmel Valli and her disciple Rajeswari Sainath.

She has conducted arangetram for more than a 1000 disciples in the past three decades. Apart from imparting training at her dance school Vadhini Natyalaya established in Chennai in 1968, she has had a distinguished career in dance teaching. She was invited to teach dance at the Government College of Music, Chennai, and has been the 'asthana guru' for more than 20 years at the dance institution run by BHEL Tiruchi. The Sangeet Natak Akademi and the Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Manram entrusted her with the responsibility of training artists in nattuvangam skills under two separate schemes. She has been selected as one of the 'eminent gurus' by the South Zone Cultural Centre of the Govt. of India.

She has been decorated with many honours and awards including Natya Kala Ratnam (1976), Natya Kala Bhushan (1976), Kalaimamani (1991), the Central Sangeet Natak Akademi award (1996) and Acharya Choodamani (2004).

Natyarangam, the dance wing of the Narada Gana Sabha Trust is happy to honour Guru Indra Rajan for her accomplishments and contribution to the field of Bharatanatyam.


(This is the text of the citation conferred by Narada Gana Sabha Trust on Indra Rajan on August 7, 2007, the first day of Natyarangam's 11th thematic dance festival Kshetra Bharatham at Chennai).