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Get, set, play

Vani Ganapathy takes centre stage for a theatre production

PHOTO: MOHAMMED YOUSUF

FIRST STEP Vani Ganapathy

Vani Ganapathy is reluctant to call her first brush with theatre as her debut. "Youngsters learn dance for six to seven years before giving their first dance performance, the arangetram. And here I am, rehearsing my part for just six days. To say I'm debuting in theatre would be unfair to trained theatre artistes," she laughs. Vani will feature in His Exalted Highness, produced by Qadir Ali Baig theatre foundation, on March 15 at the Chowmahalla Palace.

The presentation is set in the times of the seventh Nizam. Mir Osman Ali Khan. Talking about it, Vani says, "I've always admired the grandeur of the palaces and have read and heard about how the Nizams patronised art and culture. Legend has it that the Nizam supported education. He had given monetary support to Shantiniketan and Dr. C.V. Raman too had visited him," she says. She refers to His Exalted Highness as a production than a play. "Because we don't have characters playing designated roles. We are personifying the world and Hyderabad, and I enact duniya or the world," she adds. As Duniya, she will read out farmaans of the Nizam.

Teaching and performing Bharatanatyam, interior designing and playing golf are some of her varied pursuits. An entry into theatre, therefore, was not in her scheme of things. "I don't know if I'd be doing many plays. I'm not looking at a career in theatre. Mohammad Ali Baig came up with this production and was persistent that I take it up for almost nine months. I was reluctant and had prior commitments. Baig said he had written the part with me in my mind. Now that I've taken up the task, I want to give my best and do a decent job," she says. Theatre and dance are interconnected, she believes. "Both are extensions of drama. I don't rehearse much prior to a dance performance. I believe in spontaneity and feel that it will hold good for theatre as well."

A former Miss India and now being called one of the most glamorous women in India, Vani is at ease wearing many hats. She shrugs, "Style, elegance and glamour are inborn. I've never followed fashion trends. I opt for clothes that suit me, my age and bring out my personality."

SANGEETHA DEVI. K

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