D.K. Pattammal

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Kathak nritya with political trappings

By Buzybee
Huge ugly banners lined the TTK Road leading to the Narada Gana Sabha auditorium. They had close-ups of the special guests Tamil Nadu Governor K. Rosaiah, actor Kamal Hassan, M.A.M. Ramaswamy, some Congress party members and also that of a Kathak dancer. “We welcome her highness,” screamed some posters. Who could the queen be you wonder?
Sharmistha Mukherjee, daughter of Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, was coming to Chennai for the first time to perform Kathak Nrutya with her group, at the invitation of Congress MP J.M. Haaroon. The publicity splash orchestrated by Chennai politicians included larger-than-life posters, a huge backdrop on the stage, advertisements in local dailies, and enviable coverage by leading dailies and tv channels. It certainly pays dividends to be connected to the top. If only dancers in Chennai could get even a wee bit of this publicity blitz!


  1. No, it doesn't pay at all to be connected to the top. The fact that I had worked really hard and had a very good performance was completely overshadowed by this hype about me being someones daughter and the over publicity, some of the newspapers only grudgingly mentioning the quality of the show tucked somewhere between their glaringly negative headlines and 'political' reporting. It saddens me to see even a serious magazine like Sruti too reacting like this. It is completely beyond the control of a dancer as to what kind of publicity she is given....over, under or any at all. It's not fare to judge an event by the quality/quantity of it's publicity, it's like judging a cover by it's book. Next time I perform in Chennai, please do take the trouble to report about the performance and not about the organisation. You are most welcome to +91 98-10-206610tear up my performance to pieces with your criticism, but please judge me as a dancer, not as someone's daughter. Sharmistha Mukherjee

  2. Sorry, judging a book by it's cover!

    1. We have also made the same point that you have raised. You, your dance and the programme got drowned in the political publicity. It is sad that the classical art was given a political slant by local politicians who used it as a peg to project their political affiliation. We could not have entered the "politically packed" hall as they did not think it worthwhile to invite Sruti (too "serious" for their liking, i guess!) to the programme. I would certainly like to watch ur dance the next time you come to Chennai -- minus the political trappings of course.