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Steps in time

Srinidhi Chidambaram's upcoming production is called‘Chennai'

PHOTO: R. RAGU

PRESCRIPTION FOR SUCCESS Srinidhi Chidambaram

Srinidhi Chidambaram's new production is called Chennai and acclaimed poet Vairamuthu has penned a verse especially for this production. Besides, Srinidhi has included a few more of his works that lent themselves brilliantly to the concept. “One day, I just sat back and thought how this big city (Chennai) has been an integral part of every move in my life — be it mundane or exciting,” says the gorgeous dancer-doctorShe decided to link these fond memories with the hoary margam (Bharatanatyam repertoire) and created ‘Chennai'. “It's not about history, spirituality or aesthetics; it's a way of connecting with myself and the city. When I feel deeply about something, I know no other way but to express it through art. It's liberating… it's profound,” she says.

“Thirty years of association with the classical arts has given me the sensitivity and openness to relate to the usual with an imaginative unusualness. And, it's an amazing feeling to be able to bond with the present as much as it is to travel back in time.” But how does she manage to get off her creative trip to face the harsh health realities as consultant and part of the senior management team at Apollo Hospitals?

“I am a classic bipolar Gemini,” she laughs. “I could never give up one for the other. The fact is that my world revolves around both. I never went out of the city much on dance tours because it would have affected my academics. Now, there's also home to which I like to give enough time and attention. That's the reason I avoid parties; I would rather prefer a cosy dinner with family and close friends,” she says, patting her three dogs that wrestle for her affection.

Daughter-in-law of India's Home Minister P. Chidambaram and leading lawyer Nalini Chidambaram, Srinidhi loves the freedom to be her own and pursue her interests.

“From day one, my in-laws treated me like a daughter and have been very encouraging. My husband Karthi, too, respects my feelings and interests. Despite his frenetic schedule, my father-in-law tries to attend my dance performances. He has a deep liking for poetry and Tamil. My mother-in-law also enjoys reading and writing poetry. She often accompanies me to kutcheris during the December music season.”

How does Srinidhi react when her achievements are attributed to the family connection?

“When I got married I had already made a name for myself as an artiste. Initially, it used to hurt. But, I realised that I can put an end to such talks through my commitment and competence. I have seen it happen in Apollo. Those who thought I was there just to keep myself engaged or to flaunt my connection, now acknowledge my work and appreciate my eagerness to take on new responsibilities,” she smiles.

A gadget freak who cannot do without her iPod and laptop, Srinidhi is traditional when it comes to values.

She says, “I will always hold dear the good-old values taught by my parents, and wish to pass on them to my daughter Aditi. It is values that help you remain who you are, and the life force that take you through tears and joy.” Her solo performance Chennai will premiere on November 27 at the Music Academy in Chennai.

CHITRA SWAMINATHAN

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