Kerala Kalamandalam Opens Doors to Boys too to Learn Mohiniyattam

Thiruvananthapuram: In a historic decision, the Kerala Kalamandalam Deemed University on Wednesday decided to allow boys to take admission in the Mohiniyattam course which was now restricted to girls.

The decision was taken at the administrative council meeting of the university in Thrissur. As per the decision, which was taken unanimously by the council, admission to Mohiniyattam will now be gender-neutral. With this decision, boys from Class 8 to post-graduation will get the opportunity to learn Mohiniyattam at the Cultural University.

The council also decided to start courses in Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi and theatre and performance. The curriculum committee will decide on the curriculum for the above courses.

Kerala Kalamandalam founded in 1930, is the premiere public institution in the country for the preservation and promotion of Kerala's traditional performing arts.

The Kerala Kalamandalam, which had earlier allowed entry of women in Kathakali, had not opened the doors for boys to pursue Mohiniyattam. After the casteist and racist slur on R L V Ramakrishnan by Kalamandalam Satyabhama (junior), the student union of Kalamandalam arranged a stage for the artiste to perform on the campus.

Soon after the initiative of the Students Union, the administrative council decided to turn Kerala Kalamandalam into a fully gender neutral space. Earlier Kerala Kalamandalam Chancellor Mallaika Sarabhai had given the green signal to the institution to open Mohiniyattom kalari to boys.

Subsequently, the vice chancellor proposed at the administrative council meeting which was unanimously accepted by all members. Boys will be admitted for the Mohiniyattam course from the next admission period.

The Human Rights Commission and the SC/ST Commission had registered cases against Sathyabhama in connection with the casteist slur. Ramakrishnan who is the younger brother of noted actor late Kalabhavan Mani, meanwhile has lodged a formal complaint with the police against Sathyabhama for insulting him with casteist slur.

A major controversy had erupted in Kerala with noted classical dancer Kalamandalam Sathyabhama (junior) making a humiliating racist attack on an accomplished Dalit artiste R V L Ramakrishnan.

In an interview given on a YouTube channel, Sathyabhama stated that it was annoying to see men performing Mohiniyattam. "Ramakrishnan has the "colour of a crow."

“People who perform Mohiniyattam should have the attractive figure of a Mohini. This man (Ramakrishnan) has the colour of a crow. Mohiniyattam is an art form that has to be performed with one's feet apart. Nothing is as disgusting as to see a man performing Mohiniyattam with his legs crossed. In my opinion, if Mohiniyattam has to be performed by men, then they should be extremely good-looking. There are good-looking boys too. But this man (Ramakrishnan) performing Mohiniyttam will not be tolerated even by God or his mother," she said in the interview.

Sathyabhama made the highly derogatory remarks against Ramakrishnan who bagged the first rank in MA Mohiniyattam from M G University. He was the top scorer in MPhil in performing arts from Kerala Kalamandalam and completed his PhD in Mohiniyattam at the institute.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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