Sujana Kalakota: A Star is Born

Text and Pics: Paul Nicodemus

Her dynamic abhinaya captivated the gathered audience. Her footwork did not skip a beat. Kuchipudi Rangapravesam of Sujana Kalakota presented by Nataraj Music and Dance Academy (NMDA) turned out to be a grand evening of classical dance performance at Kalabharathi Auditorium on January 6. Sujana has been training under the tutelage of Naatyasri KV Lakshmi, principal and founder secretary of NMDA, for the last 15 years. Her Rangapravesam attained a gold standard in the history of art and culture in Visakhapatnam. The programme under the supervision of BR Vikram Kumar, founder president of NMDA, was quite entertaining. The presence of the most renowned exponents of performing arts Padma Bhushan awardees Dr Kanak Rele (Mohiniattam) and Dr (s) Raja and Radha Reddy (Kuchipudi) added a new dimension to the whole programme.

It was an auspicious occasion for the dynamic and young Kuchipudi dancer. The other guests who graced the occasion to bless the artiste included Sudagani Ravi Shankar Narayan, additional commissioner of Income Tax, PVN Madhav, MLC, Kashmira Trivedi, Bharatanatyam artiste from Mumbai, Jagabandhu Jana, Devdasi festival director form Odisha, and Sai Venkatesh, lighting expert and International dance festival director from Bengaluru.

Sujana began her Rangapravesam after receiving the ghungroos from her guru KV Lakshmi. She presented the prayer, ‘Amba Paraku’ in raga Kambhoji and tala Misra Chapu, lyrics by Bhujangaraya Sarma; ‘Ganesha Pancharatnam’ in Ragamalika and tala Adi, lyrics by Adi Shankaracharya; ‘Thandavam’ in Ragamalika and tala Misra Chapu, lyrics by KV Satyanarayana; ‘Endendu Vachitivira’ in raga Surati and tala Misra Chapu, lyrics by Kshetrayya; ‘Bhama Kalapam’ in raga Bhairavi and tala Misra Chapu, lyrics by Siddhendra Yogi; ‘Choodaramma Satulala’ in Ragamalika and tala Adi, lyrics by Annamacharya; ‘Marakata Manimaya Chela’ in raga Arabhi and tala Adi, lyrics by Oothukkadu Venkata Subbaiyer; ‘Thillana’ in raga Hindola and tala Adi, lyrics by Vempati Chinna Satyam, and ‘Managalam’ in Ragamalika and tala Adi, lyrics by BR Vikram Kumar.

Sujana’s performance ticked all the check marks of a professional classical artiste and made the audience and gathered guests watch her Rangapravesam in awe and wonder. While performing the piece ‘Indendu Vachitivira’, she emoted abhinaya par excellence. Her Thandavam showcased her core strength and years of practice. It was a thoroughly professional performance right from the beginning till the end.

Guru KV Lakshmi on Nattuvangam; M Narasimha Rao on vocals; Pasumarthy Haranadha Sastry on mridangam; A Satya Vishal on violin; BVS Sarma on flute, provided the live orchestra for the performance. Lighting design by Sai Venkatesh from Bengaluru added more depth to the programme. Compere by Rambhatla Nrisimhasarma, a Nandi award, was impressive.

After her performance, Padma Bhushan awardee Dr Kanak Rele and Padma Bhushans awardees Dr (s) Raja and Radha Reddy showered praise and presented her ‘Natya Snaatak’ for completing her Rangapravesam.

Sujana Kalakota was born and brought up in the coastal city of Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. Her parents, Kalakota Ashok Reddy and Aruna noticed her interest in dance and encouraged her to learn it. She began training at a very young age and gave her first stage performance at the tender age of 5. Over the years, she continued to hone her skills and reached professional standards.