Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Monday, Apr 18, 2005

About Us
Contact Us
Tamil Nadu
News: Front Page | National | Tamil Nadu | Andhra Pradesh | Karnataka | Kerala | New Delhi | Other States | International | Opinion | Business | Sport | Miscellaneous |
Advts:
Classifieds | Employment |

Tamil Nadu Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Leela Samson takes over as Kalakshetra director

Staff Reporter

`It's up to her to take the legacy forward' "There was a time when the whole art world was apprehensive about the survival of the institution, but it survived."



PAST AND PRESENT: (From left to right) S. Rajaram, outgoing director of Kalakshetra Foundation, R. Venkataraman, former President and Chairman of the Foundation, and incoming director, Leela Samson. — Photo: N. Sridharan

CHENNAI: "There cannot be a present without a past, or a past without a present," said S. Rajaram, handing over charge of the Kalakshetra Foundation to noted Bharatanatyam exponent, Leela Samson. "Leela and I are one."

He said the mandate during his decade-long tenure as director of the Foundation had been very clear -- to preserve Rukmani Devi Arundale's legacy. "Following her lead, we have been producing `pure gold'. Now it is up to Leela to make beautiful jewellery out of it," he said.

Paying respects to the stalwarts who have contributed to Kalakshetra, and Rukmani Devi in particular, Ms Samson appealed to the family of artistes, both inside and outside Kalakshetra for support as she assumed the role of director. "I value every `vani,' every `gharana' and I hope in the years to come we can exchange ideas and enjoy each other's success," she said.

R. Venkataraman, Chairman of Kalakshetra Foundation and former President of India, commended Mr. Rajaram's contribution, his humility and his affection for students. He welcomed Ms Samson's leadership saying that she belonged to the next generation and combined modernity with tradition.

Bharatanatyam exponent Chitra Visweswaran remarked that the task before Ms. Samson, an alumnus the institute, was not an easy one. "Athai (Rukmani Devi) was a modernist with such a wide vision - like the Ganges she never forgot her roots or her goals," observed Ms. Visweswaran. "The task will not be to carry on the nitty gritties of grammar but to retain the essence of Athai's vision, to preserve the artistic heritage but also to make sure the art does not stagnate," she said.

Mr. Rajaram steered the institution through many crises and changes, including its declaration as a central government institution in 1993.

"There was a time when the whole art world was apprehensive about the survival of the institution and whether it would be able to hold on to its main purpose - Bharatanatyam," said N. Ramanathan, former head of department of Music, University of Madras. But Kalakshetra has asserted its reputation under Mr. Rajaram's guidance, he said.

Nobody ever really leaves Kalakshetra, said Shakuntala Ramani, editor of Kalakshetra's publications, including booklets on the outgoing and incoming directors. The old and new would come together to cooperate for a rennaissance at the institute, she said. "Perhaps Leela will entice him (Mr. Rajaram) to compose music for a wonderful production she will put up some day."

Renowned artistes Vyjayanthimala Bali, Lalgudi Jayaram and Member Secretary of Kalakshetra Foundation, R.V. Ramani, also participated in the function.

Printer friendly page  
Send this article to Friends by E-Mail

Tamil Nadu

News: Front Page | National | Tamil Nadu | Andhra Pradesh | Karnataka | Kerala | New Delhi | Other States | International | Opinion | Business | Sport | Miscellaneous |
Advts:
Classifieds | Employment | Updates: Breaking News |


News Update


The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | The Hindu Images | Home |

Copyright 2005, The Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu