Mrinalini brought Bharatanatyam to fore: VP Dhananjayan

Mrinalini Sarabhai was the epitome of Indian womanhood'

Both my wife Shanta Dhananjayan and I used to address Mrinalini Sarabhai as Akka. We were very close to each other and our association goes back several decades. Shanta and I had visited her last year at Darpana Academy of Performing Arts in Ahmedabad. She was hale and hearty then. It was a casual visit as we were in Surat for a dance programme.

Similarly, whenever she used to come to Chennai, she visited our home. Akka has always been simple and humble. Even though she was a world renowned dancer, she had no hang-ups. Akka brought Bharatanatyam to the attention of the world and if not for her, the dance form would not have attained great heights. Her ‘Hand book on Bharatanatyam’ has been immensely beneficial to dancers of all ages.

I have always felt that Akka being a Malayali, she had a soft corner towards Malayalis in general. We had the opportunity to perform at Darpana several times in our career. She makes it a point to watch the performance of all the dancers till the very end. Akka treated all the dancers with respect and admiration.

She was an epitome of Indian womanhood (Bharatiya Naari). She maintained ‘Indianness’ in her room at Darpana which showed the rich Indian cultural and heritage she was part of. Her role in reviving the village dance forms has been exemplary.

The world saw Mrinalini Sarabhai as a great Bharatanatyam dancer after Rukmini Devi Arundale. We have lost a great dancer in the form of Mrinalini Sarabhai. Her demise is a great loss to the country, which is irreplaceable.
(As told to Cynthia Chandran)

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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