What it means to be a sadir and kalavantulu artiste

Two artistes, one practising Sadir and the opposite a Kalavantulu, shared their story and journey at an occasion titled ‘Unstated Realities’ organised by Kalavaahini Belief (based by Malavika Sarukkai) and Shreya Nagarajan Singh Arts Growth Consultancy. The dialog occurred when the Chennai Season was at its peak. Nevertheless it’s by no means too late to revisit their speak to know the historical past of dance and to know the way it has advanced through the years.

R. Muthukannammal, a seventh technology Sadir artiste from Tamil Nadu and Annabattula Lakshmi Mangatayaru, a sixth technology Kalavantulu artiste from Andhra Pradesh met at Amethyst. They sang and demonstrated a number of gestures, within the course of proving how they’re used to the arc lights. Chinnagandham Yashoda Thakore, a sixth technology Kalavantulu artiste from Peddapuram, who performs Kuchipudi and Devadasi Nrityam, was the moderator.

Although the 2 veterans appeared calm, there was anger inside about their scarred previous. Yashoda took them again to the 12 months 1947.

Seventy-year-old Lakshmi defined what occurred quickly after dance was outlawed. “Some ladies pretending to be Kalavantulu, went into prostitution, and gave us a nasty identify. We’re nonetheless bearing the stigma.”


| Photograph Credit score:
SNS Arts Growth Consultancy

Muthukannamal, 85, was candid, “We struggled. Nobody known as us. Now everyone seems to be saying Sadir, Sadir…” She is now too previous to show. She was born to Ramachandra Nattuvanar, and as per the custom in her household was chosen to be devoted to the Viralimalai Murugan temple (Pottukkatutal) when she was seven.

It was an oral contract. They lived out of the produce from the land given by the temple, which handed right down to the subsequent technology dancer, not essentially a organic relative. She mentioned, “Sadir is all I do know and love. After the Act, we weren’t allowed to bop within the temples and our lands have been taken away. However we continued to bop so long as the Pudukottai Maharaja supported us. Once we have been requested to bop to movie songs, we mentioned ‘no’, solely Carnatic music.”

Muthukannammal spoke of the 32 Sadir artistes hooked up to the temple, who would draw kolams and put together maav for prasadam aside from the 4 ritualistic dance choices a day.

She carried out the saayaratchai with a diparadhana and some steps whereas her father recited jatis with cymbals, and later palliyarai, with a diparadhana and a few songs together with a Thevaram and an unjal pattu, ‘Radhe shri madhuresa’ sung in solitude to Subramanya with no dance or music accompaniment.

There was a 10-day competition when the deity was taken across the streets in procession and the dancers would carry out the ‘veedhi padams’ . Among the many songs she readily shared was ‘Koodi sugam kudathu modi ulla dorai’. She broke right into a varnam halfway, ‘Bhoomi velayu tanja Brihadeesha…’ adopted by a theermanam (recognized because the anupallavi of ‘Manavi chekona raada’, Sankarabharanam, Adi, Ponniah Pillai). “We’ve got not written down something that ayya taught us. We keep in mind all of it,” she mentioned.

The Subramanya temple is located on the hill and one has to climb greater than 200 steps. Muthukannammal would go up 4 occasions a day. “We had no electrical energy. We did all this for god.”

Annabattula Lakshmi Mangatayaru’s grandmother Buli Venkataratnam was a dancer whereas mom Sathyabhama was a singer.

Lakshmi hails from the East Godavari district. They have been initially hooked up to the temple, however later carried out on the royal courts too. “We have been used to performing the ‘salaam’ jathi to the king.” She has learnt the Gollakalapam and Bhamakalapam.

Their repertoire featured many padams by Kshetrayya, Sarangapani and others. There have been some on the Triplicane Parthasarathy temple as effectively.

Lakshmi sang the anupallavi of ‘Illerugaka’, a Kshetrayya padam, ‘Ala naadu neethoti kalasi matladina’. “We offered padams and javalis just for discovered viewers. You could possibly not repeat a hasta. Even when a line is repeated 20 occasions, there needs to be 20 totally different hastas,” mentioned Lakhmi.

Buli Venkataratnam, who refused to comply with the laws, was a recent of Balasaraswati. Lakshmi recalled the insecurity of that point. “However she would wake us up at 4 a.m. to make us dance. I used to be very younger and would ask her who will watch us. She would reply, ‘the wheel will flip round, then you need to be prepared’.”

These artistes have been sturdy ladies, who have been handled unfairly and misplaced a lot of the artwork within the course of. Muthukannammal mentioned, “Ah sure, Bharatanatyam is sweet.” It’s nonetheless not the Sadir she learnt.

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