Veteran Mohiniyattam artiste Chithra Sukumaran is definitely ‘going places’! The 50-year-old dancer from Kochi, who is a graded artist for Doordarshan Kendra, has been selected as one of the delegates representing India in the cultural exchange programme conducted as part of the 70th anniversary of Servas, an international NGO in Russia. Around 2500 delegates across the world would attend the programme, which is scheduled to begin on July 19 in Russia. The event will last for five days.
“There are seven people representing India, out of which three are dancers. Others include a writer, a journalist, a senior social worker, and a group leader,” she said. “Prominent dancers Yellora Bora from Assam, who performs ‘Sattriya’, a traditional classical dance of Assam, and Bharatanatyam exponent Mayarani from Kerala will join me,” she says.
Mayarani, a native of Perumbavoor, is the founder of Perumbavoor Pranavam School of Dance. Maya and Chithra have been friends since childhood. Despite their friendship, it took years for them to share a stage. Twenty-five years later, in 2017, they had a chance to perform together at Guruvayur temple. Later, they performed at various venues in the state.
Chithra has been in the field for the past 40 years. She has been honoured with prestigious awards like Balraj Sahni Award, Nritya Bibushan, and Yuva Kala Ratna. She has performed in 23 countries including Pakistan as per the invitation of the organisers of the Pakistan Music Conference in Lahore. Other noted performances were in Katmandu, Nepal, in 1999 for the International Peace Conference; in Saudi Arabia in connection with the International Women’s Day observance in 1995; and at Ramakrishna Mission, Colombo, in 2004. She has also performed at various dance festivals and temples in and outside the state.
Sharing her excitement, she says, “If more artistes participate in such programmes without giving importance to remunerations, then we can promote the culture of our country around the world. Through art, if I can spread our country’s culture across the globe, that would be a matter of pride.”
Chithra’s husband Sukumaran Nair is the chairman of S&C Multicommercials Pvt. Ltd., Kochi, and she helps him in business as well. The couple is blessed with two children, Adv. Parvathy and Dr. Gopal Nair....