Monday, 7 December 2020

Interview - Kalamandalam Thankamani Kutty turns 80 - Tapati Chowdurie

 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.

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  1. If I may have the temerity to comment on Auntie's interview - I would say that I have consciously and unconsciously tried to emulate her in not just dance, but all areas of life. Auntie is unique and very precious to this world.

  2. At the outset we must thank Narthaki and Smt.Tapati Chowdhurie for such a wonderful interivew in such a prestigious magazine but we would like to add that Dr. Thankamani Kutty has categorically said that she does not believe in "borrowing" from any other dance style but she prefers to "adopt" from other dance stlyles as well as many dance productions she gets influenced to.

  3. I stand corrected. I ask readers to read the word as "adopted" instead of "borrowed'