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Home Personality Interviews

Personality Interviews

Kala Krishna

Kala Krishna
Maestro of classical dance

 

Dance was not in his blood neither did he know anything about it. He had no clue as to what it was all about or that there were so many forms of dances.

Today, he is one of the leading exponents in the field of dance. With an International acclaim and over 800 stage performances to his credit, this man with a spellbinding posture in make-up can mesmerise many a audience.

Abhinava Satya Bhama, Madhura Lasya Kala Nidhi -- Kala Krishna, the name that today stands as a synonym to Andhra Natyam and more specifically to Perini, is the man with that magical spell in his abhinaya.

Kala Krishna is an outstanding artist with a specific style of his own who had started learning dance at not-so-early age of 24. His dedication and devotion to this field pulled him out of his profession as a school teacher and rendered him to be a dance teacher. Today Kala Krishna has many a disciples who have carved a niche for themselves in this field.

Kala Krishna is a disciple of the great Guru Bharata Kalaprapoorna Sri Nataraja Ramakrishna who has dedicated his life to the world of dance and did an extensive research to revive the almost lost charm of a dance form which subsequently was named "Andhra Natyam" by the then intellectuals from the field.

Here are a few excerpts from an exclusive interview of Sri Kala Krishna to Primetime Prism.

Q. What made you enter the world of Dance? You said that you don’t heir from that family. Then how did it interest you?

Answer : “Well, it was quite coincidental, if I may call it so. I was always interested in school cultural activities as a student. But I never even had a slightest clue that there were so many variations to classical dance viz. Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi etc. When I migrated to this city, and was teaching in a private school as a teacher, it was coincidental that the administration had asked me to coordinate for some cultural activities and it was then that I felt, I could rather learn the art myself and impart it to the students. This is how I got into this field.

Q. Can you please brief us about Andhra Natyam and its origin?

Answer : Andhra Natyam is essentially a form of dance that was initially performed by female artistes of our state as invocations to Gods in temples and in the courts of Kings. While this form of art did not specifically have any name to it, they were calling it kacheri, mezwani or carnatic, this was a very popular form of dance in the Kakatiya period. In the year 1972, this form of dance was, after extensive research by the intellectuals like Dr. Nataraja Ramakrishna, was named Andhra Natyam. Though it was named then, it actually gained momentum only in the early 80’s. A specific syllabus to the effect was then formed and it was formally being imparted to the students interested.

Q. What is the basic difference between Kuchipudi and Andhra Natyam?

Answer : Kuchipudi was a dance form that was made for men and performed only by men and Andhra Natyam on the contrary is a dance form for women and has to be performed by women. But as you know with changing times, both of these forms are being performed by both genders. Another major difference between the two is that Andhra Natyam was essentially supposed to be a solo performance, while Kuchipudi is a group performance in the Bhagavatar style.

Q. What is Perini? Is it a part of Andhra Natyam?

Answer : Perini is a complete male oriented performance. This was an art form form which was completely extinct.

 

Shyamal Karmakar

Shyamal Karmakar
An exclusive interview with Shyamal Karmakar, Film Director
 

'Ranu' is the first feature film he directed. The movie, based on a real life story, is about a 16 year old village girl Ranu who wanted to study further after having topped the district in high school exams. But her parents want to marry her-off. How her teacher and her affection towards her pet goat 'Kamal' inspire her to revolt at the last moment makes up the rest of the movie.

Another thing typical to 'Ranu' is that most of the people involved in it are 'first-timers', including the cinematographer, the director, even the actors. Seema Chakraborty, who played the role of Ranu is herself a debutant.

Interview Excerpts :

Q : Tell me about 'Ranu'

S : Actually, the movie is based on an incident in my own life. My twin sister was married off at an age of twelve and a half. This was the idea behind 'Ranu'. Also, in the end, as you saw, Ranu managed to revolt and escape marriage. This end was my dream ending and I had it in the movie. The movie is shot in my own village in Bengal.

Q : Why did you have first timers as most of the people involved in the movie ?

S : You know, even the actors in the film are the people of the village, except Ranu's father, mother and teacher. This is my first feature film, the cinematographers too… This would be, and it actually was, their first and the most whole hearted attempt. Now, I can articulate.

Q : Why did you choose a real-life experience to work on ?

S : I concentrate on doing films based on experiences because they are other people's experiences too, and this builds a bond amongst us.

Q : Are you planning to direct commercial films too ?

S : Even Ranu is not a non commercial movie per se. You don't make a movie commercial or otherwise. However, I am not for the idea of using 'commercial' elements like dance, murder, etc. in any films. I prefer making films which appeal to children's minds. There is a reason for this… the film-media affects the general psyche so powerfully that I have no moral right to include harmful pranks. Censorship can't save children from bad ideas. The film makers themselves should be positive censors.

Q : Your idols ?

S : The person who has affected me the most is Ritwik Ghatak. 'Pather Panchali' was the first good film I watched… it affected me so much that I remained in a trance for two days. Even now, if I watch that film, my day is gone. In fact, 'Ranu' is my tribute to Pather Panchali.

Q : What films have you worked on, earlier ?

S : I had just finished my course in FTII when I got to work as an associate editor in 'Parinda'. I was also an associate editor and an associate director in 'Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa'.

Q : What is on your cards now ?

S : I'm working on a fun film "Ankur" based on my experiences in Bombay, the space problem and time constrains in the city.

 

Meenakshi Rai

Meenakshi Rai
An exclusive interview with Meenakshi Rai, Film Director
 

Meenakshi Rai has directed a short film 'Generation Gap', in which she used illustrated animations with the help of her husband, who is an animator. She strikes on such social problems as the above, which are subtle and individual through her films.


 

 Interview Excerpts :

Q : What made you make a movie on 'Generation Gap'?

MR : Most of the people think that generation gap comes out openly only in issues like marriage or decision of a career. The parents now try to rule even in minor issues like the kind of clothes one should wear, the friends one should be with, etc., and as a result, the youth gets more and more pressurized. The result of this is, quite often, that even a very close and lovely relation is eclipsed. This is also something which I've had a personal experience in, and this is why I tried to address such a problem through my film.

Q : On your liberal ideas, have you faced any open criticisms?

MR : Oh yes! I wanted to be a boy and so as a kid I lived a tomboyish life, while my elder sister lived very traditionally. Even as a college student, I was pretty liberal in ideas, and this was unacceptable to the society. Even though my parents were liberal, they had societal pressures. But then, I could not accept any ideas without justifications, and I stayed that way, I strongly believe in this line by Pandit Nehru 'If your mind and your heart believe that you are right, go for it'.

Q : Why do you choose social problems for films?

MR : We seriously feel that problems should be addressed by film-makers. As film-makers, we should serve as mirrors to the society. For example, we make a hullabaloo over child sexual abuse, but had we properly educated our children about sex, the problem could have been addressed better. The society has to come up with proper sex education.

Q : And why animations for your ideas ?

MR : Its basically to cut expenses. Animations can be used to put forth, say 14 different ideas effectively. If 14 feature films were to be made, who would finance them? Besides, my husband is an animator. Also, we came up with the idea of illustrated animations. Because we wanted to evolve something new……why create competitions?

Q : What are your plans for the future? Any deviations from animations?

MR : We are planning a fiction-film on sex-education. We are proper documentators. I'm also doing a documentary on sex education.

Q : How do you visualize a children's movie?

MR : Children are different and they vary in their choices. One kind of movies would not suit all and so, experiments should be done by young directors. The whole effort has got a lot to do with individual backgrounds of children.

Rajeev Reddy

Rajeev Reddy
An exclusive interview with a visionary businessman

 

The Amrutha Group is a Rs. 300 crore company with interests in property development, hotels and clubs. Its CMD Rajeev Reddy is a man in a hurry, to accomplish his dreams. Not just content with building castles in the air like the the rest of us, he actually went ahead and modelled his hotel Amrutha Castle on the lines of a Bavarian castle, plumb opposite Hyderabad’s secretariat as of now, Rajiv is full of his plans to make the flagship of the group - the Country Club - a nationwide chain as a series of franchisee clubs.

Q. You’re going in for expansion in a big way?

Answer : Yes, we are going to have franchises in the major cities. Vijayawada, Vizag, Guntur, Rajahmundry, even Srikakulam in AP. Then, we have received offers from places like Madurai, Trichy, Pondicherry in Tamilnadu. We have also got offers from Kerala. Within a couple of months, we will be opening up in Poona, a little later in Bombay, and ofcourse, we already have a successful Country Club in Bangalore. By the end of the year we should open in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. According to my analysis, I will have 45% business from the North; I am looking at Delhi, Chandigarh.

Q. Aren’t you concerned about the fact that franchising could also lower the standards you have set for your club?

Answer : Not at all. Apart from money it’s the attitude - will they come up to our standards? And so all the GM’s will be appointed and trained by us, so we will have a major hand in how the club is to be run. And, in some of the major cities, I would like to have outright ownership of the clubs, just to safeguard against what you have said. Further, we have a central event management company here in Hyderabad, the CCEA, that will co-ordinate with all the clubs and have atleast 2 events per month. If I were in a situation where I could make 10 times more money but little or no action. I wouldn’t do it.

Q. If you could turn the clock back, what would you do differently?

Answer : Maybe whatever I’m doing right now, I would have realised a long while ago. See, when I started my business I was a nobody. I still feel insecure. I would have made a more realistic assessment about my own strengths way back. My decisions would have been more practical.

Lara Dutta

Lara Dutta
Interview with a beautyqueen turned actress

 

India seems to have gotten firmly entrenched on the world beauty map, ever since Sushmita Sen first flashed her pearlies and set the crown on her pretty head, thence never to let go except to hand it to a fellow Indian! LARA DUTTA is the latest queen bee; poised, articulate, not much of the peaches-and-cream here, but, as she’s quick to point out, today its brains over beauty that counts. With her term up in May 2001, everyone is agog to know what this young lady has lined up next. PUNAM MOHANDAS met up with Miss Universe on the latter’s recent visit to the City of Joy, to find out what’s up and what’s hot, with the most Wanted Woman.

Q. What plans does Miss Universe have for her country?

Answer : I’m aiming at setting up mobile reproductive health clinics that will travel to the rural areas of India. As of now I’m looking at the two states of Karnataka and Maharashtra because I’m more familiar with the state govts there and so on. And then expand from there and affiliate them to existing NGO’s.

Q. What do you think about India based NGO groups?

Answer : From what I’ve seen, the work they’ve done is absolutely incredible. These are people who are living these lives every single day. I mean I’ve just been to some of the worst slum areas in Calcutta and it was depressing just walking down the street. And these people (NGO’s) deal with this on a day-to-day basis. They’re not asking for recognition or fame, they’re doing it with complete dedication. I think the NGO’s in the country are doing a really, really, good job. There’s always this problem when the funds come in and they’re not being utilized properly but I think today, resource mobilization is being used in a much better way and you can see the difference visually.

Q. Let’s talk some more about you. Did you ever think your hard work would culminate in ‘the’ crown?

Answer : Honestly? No. I started modeling when I was sixteen and that was the be-all and end-all for my career.. I took the whole Miss India/Miss Universe thing alot more seriously just for the last two years. It’s a big responsibility though; its not just hand waves and I-love-you kisses. Its difficult, but fun — I think its important to enjoy what you’re doing.

Q. By and large, have you found people receptive to the views you express?

Answer : If I walk out of my room in the morning, I’m not walking out as Miss Universe, i.e. the most beautiful woman in the world. No, that’s not what I’m trying to promote. I’m intelligent enough to know what I’m dealing with, I want to make a difference. Definitely, for a long time, there’s always been this image that people look upon what you guys call ‘beauty queen’ but we refer to them as ‘title holders’ ha, ha, that you’re just a pretty face which means you have nothing to say! But there’s a changing trend in the way title holders are viewed now. There’s so much of emphasis on intelligence rather on what the girl looks like.

Q. How do you deal with envy?

Answer : It always exists. In any profession. My theory in life is very simple as far as my work is concerned. Keep my mouth shut, do my job, get my money and get out! As long as you are in touch with reality...

Q. What have the past few months been like?

Answer : This year has been absolutely incredible for me. Not just because I won Miss Universe, but because of the things that I’ve seen and experienced and I’ve learnt. I have put into my life something that will take another person a lifetime to see. But in this one year I’ve kind of had a crash course in it.

Q. What’s next on the cards, for you?

Answer : Umm, well, as of now, a) its getting this foundation off the ground, in India. I’ve just applied to Columbia to do a masters program in journalism and film making. I’ve always been interested in television and media, but I don’t know if I want to do Bollywood, if that’s where this question is heading?! I’m actually looking at doing a lot more than Bollywood. Once a model, always a model, its in your blood. As of now, I’m modeling for the official Miss Universe sponsors; there are other offers after the term is over, but I’d rather keep them up my sleeve for now.

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