I am open to all artistic experiences: Shobana

I am open to all artistic experiences: Shobana

She says there is something about ancient temples that makes her come alive. That it is here that she is at home.

She says there is something about ancient temples that makes her come alive. That it is here that she is at home.

"Whenever I can snatch two-three days, I get into the car or a train and head straight for a temple site, mostly Brihadishvara Temple. Even in Khajuraho, I seldom miss an opportunity to just go and sit at one of the temples. As an artiste, it is important to take in all that inexplainable energy," said dancer and actor Shobana.

A recipient of Padma Shri, Shobana is a two-time best actress National Award winner, who has to her credit around 230 films, predominantly in Malayalam. She does not really like it when asked if her latest movie 'Varane Avashyamundu' is her comeback film.

The dancer, whose performance for a full-house on the third day of the Khajuraho Dance Festival, which was also web-casted, said that the choreography is always different when one performs for a live audience and for television.

"Here, it was both, which proved to be bit of an anti-thesis. Precisely why I had to keep telling the camera crew, and figuring out which camera they were cutting into. Attention to such small details can do wonders for a festival. Of course, it was great to be part of the festival organised in such a magical ambience," Shobana said.

At times when artistes are expected to make their political and ideological stands clear in almost every interview, the dancer, who trained under Chitra Visweswaran and Padma Subrahmanyam, feels that "It's not fair to tell an artiste what to be creative about."

Shobana, who has been running the 'Kalarpana -- Institute of Bharatanatyam' for close to three decades, lamented that despite persistent requests, government funding remains a distant mirage.

"So much so that now I have given up all hopes.

They probably think she is an actor, and so has enough money. This is despite the fact that it is one of the few institutes which has academically qualified full-time teachers. All the money goes towards paying salaries. Now either I can keep approaching the government, or concentrate on making dancers. I would prefer the latter," she said.

For someone who is known for her innovation and experimentation, what purists have to say doesn't really figure in her scheme of things.

"Dances come from the temple, we know that because we have so many sculptures which are a thousand years old. Everybody is screaming hoarse that they are traditional, but remember, there is something always older out there.

"Every generation has its right to move on, and that's what we did, that's what our guru did. You do have a couple of people who say they are pure, but they really need to read up history. Odissi and Mohiniyattam hasn't changed so much, but other dances surely have," she said.

Her dance-drama 'Trance' that has also toured the US and Canada is something she is excited about. Boasting of a unifying spirituality through Indian, Asian and Western musical cultures, the dancer said, "It is something which is very me."

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