Friday 31 May 2013

Seen & Heard by Lakshmi Vishwanathan - Renaissance Man

E. Krishna Iyer is the one dominant name you hear whenever Bharatanatyam is discussed from a historical perspective.  I had no idea about his importance when he presided over my Arangetram held at the Mylapore Rasika Ranjani Sabha in 1951. We used to meet Krishna Iyer often in Mylapore, the hub of cultural events in Chennai. My family too belonged to Mylapore who's who, except that we lived in Sullivan Street in Santhome in an Art Deco bungalow surrounded by a jasmine garden.
Krishna Iyer, an advocate by profession, took to dance in his teens!  Many in Thanjavur district had been exposed to Bharatam as Bharatanatyam was known because of it being part of the sacred enactment of Bhagavatamela natakams in villages like Melattur, Soolamangalam and Saliymangalam. Amateur theatre of this type attracted many young men in the early twentieth century as Bhagavatamela was performed by an all male cast. The young lads with pleasant features learnt dance from Nattuvanars to play the female parts. Krishna Iyer was born in Kalladaikuruchi, but was influenced by the strong Thanjavur culture.  He learnt to dance and as a young man he performed, dressed in the typical female costume.

Read the article in the site


  1. Welcome to the Narthaki family Lakshmi. Delghted to read and hear your voice on the site..

  2. I am very interested to know Dr.Muthulakshmi Reddy's perspective. Where can I get to read more about her ?