Kolkata based dance guru Dr. Kalamandalam Thankamani Kutty recently celebrated her 80th birthday. Here is an excerpt from an informal conversation with her.
How have you fulfilled your duty of carrying on the parampara of your learnt arts?
Parampara is unique to Bharat, where learning of our ancient art is handed down from generation to generation. It is the utmost duty of a guru to teach his disciples, his learnt art so that he may in turn do likewise. This is the concept, which is popularly known as guru-shishya parampara. Change is inevitable and one must conform to the call of the soil. By saying this, I mean that since I am in Bengal and have lived my entire work life here, it was my labour of love that I needed to be a part of the land where people are artistic and emotional by nature. However one has to be rooted to the learning imbibed to bring about any changes.
Between 1952 to 1956, I was learning Mohiniattam and Bharatanatyam in Kerala Kalamandalam. There I had to learn the allied arts of music, mridangam, taalam and the languages. Our classes started from 5am and continued till 8pm in the evening. We practically lived and breathed dance and music. In today's changed scenario, I have trained my students with utmost sincerity and have put in my best to bring out the best in them.