Well known Odissi dancer Madhavi Mudgal and her niece Arushi Mudgal share a deep guru-shishya bond. After a performance at the Nartanam Conclave in Hyderabad, they speak about their love for the art form.
Says Madhavi, “Indian tradition is so bound in discipline that even the family relationship does not give any special training opportunities. Arushi always learnt along with all my other students. It’s only that she hails from a family that is deeply rooted in Indian culture, which could have given her a slight edge over the others.”
Madhavi recalls her childhood that was spent in the company of many great musicians and dancers. She explains, “My father Vinay Chandra Maudgalya was the founder of the Gandharva Mahavidyalaya in Delhi. Our home would always be abuzz with visitors like Pandit Omkarnath Thakur. These great artistes were such simple humble souls. Today, the lifestyle and pressures of modern society tempt the younger generation to get everything in a short span of time. One has to understand that a social media poll cannot make an artiste. One has to face the world and people will judge the talent on stage.”
Madhavi feels it is very important for everyone to understand the importance of preserving the rich culture of India. “Everyone supporting the classical arts must do it for the cause of sustaining the roots of culture. The criteria should not be about how much publicity the sponsor is getting. This would be a true service to Indian culture,” she says.
The dancer has fond memories of Hyderabad. “In the sixties, I came here to give a Kathak performance for the Akhil Bharatiya Gandharva Mahavidyalaya. Later, I recall performing Odissi dance at Ravindra Bharathi and Taramati Baradari.”
Meanwhile, Arushi Mudgal feels happy to be pursuing classical dance. She says, “I find many youngsters are taking up this art form. The most important thing is that one must not pursue the art form with any expectation of awards or fame. Do it for your joy.” She has collaborated on dance forms like Kathak and Bharatanatyam. “A collaboration helps to explore the dance form more deeply. Sometimes, it even teaches you what should not be done. I recall a unique experience of dancing to the music of an Italian Opera. I enjoyed every moment of it and look forward to such collaborations.”...