Monday 7 April 2014

Gender equality in Kuchipudi - Ashish Mohan Khokar

So how, when and why did girls come to dance Kuchipudi? This is no ancient history, as with most things Indian in classical dance history! This situation happened just over 75 years ago.  Thanks to a politician, no less.
It is well known that from the very beginning Kuchipudi was intended to be a dance-drama, thus requiring a set of characters. It was not intended as a soloist’s delight. This does not mean there were no solo dancers but that they were used as embellishment, an adornment. Being a dance drama also meant that an actor was obliged to sing, dance and speak. The most popular play remained the Bhama Kalapam, even though many other plays came to be written. The role of   Satyabhama thus remained most coveted. In most plays, it is the female roles that dominated, like Rukmini in Rukmini Kalyanam, Usha in Usha Parinayam. Even Krishna remained pathetically marginalised in these plays. Except Prahlad Charithram, all plays were female centric. As per custom and tradition, males performed the female role.

Read the article in the site


  1. Look forward to read latest Attendance and read about Vempatis - Chinna Satyam and Ravi Shankar.....have written a novella revolving around Kuchipudi, hope editor may have read it to review it.....!!!!

  2. It is a commendable task to bring different pieces together. So appreciate the effort.
    Now, in the dance community, I read about some comments from others mentioning the name Sri B Gopalreddy in similar context (not same) of Kuchipudi and its popularity, Is there a typo? Just wanted clarification as the information here is historical. Once again thanks to attendance.
    It would be good if Narthaki can obtain the required information.

  3. Thank you for the clarification that the person referred to is indeed Sri C Gopala Reddi. There is a confusion since there seems to be similar coment by Dr B. Gopala Reddy in similar context and this was referred to by some of them who commented on the reported matter in a forum. Unfortunately I was not able to find relevant information to relate to limited appeal (in fact it was a tradition intended to be preserved by the Kuchipudi families those days) about celebration of Independence function where the observation was made. Thank you Mr Ashish K, for the clarification and the authenticity from your records. In case possible I request you to forward the details on this. However, I don't think one can ascribe hell breaking loose to this. The interesting point is India itself did not have center-stage until 1947 as to independence. With such stories and history, I am sure attendance would provide a good guide. Once again thank you very much.