Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Vempati’s Helping Hands

By Nandini Ramani

Vempati Ravi Sankar, son and torchbearer of the Kuchipudi tradition of the illustrious master Vempati Chinna Satyam, recently launched his new venture “Vempati’s Helping Hands”. Ravi Sankar presented cash awards to longtime associates of Vempati Chinna Satyam who had provided orchestral support in his long journey to propagate the art of Kuchipudi in Tamil Nadu. Octogenerian musicians Sangeeta  Rao and C.P. Venkatesan and vocalist D.V. Kanakadurga, received a purse contributed by Guru Vempati's students. Ailing make-up man, Nageswara Rao, though not connected directly with Vempati's Kuchipudi Arts Academy, also received a cash award as he had worked with several artists over the years. Well known exponents T. Lokanadha Sarma, S. Rajeswari, Padmini, and P. Surya Rao, who were members of the orchestra for many years, were  also honoured on the occasion. Kuchipudi dancer and teacher, Bala Kondala Rao, prime disciple of Vempati Master was accorded special recognition, as were  Kishore Mosalikanti and a few other senior students. 

There were several moving moments during the "kala aradhana" function as each artist was introduced, fond memories of guru Vempati Chinna Satyam were shared, and many lauded Vempati Ravi’s new endeavour called “Helping Hands”. Earlier, Vempati Ravi, himself a multi-faceted artist, sang and conducted (ably assisted by Kalpana) the Kuchipudi  concert by his junior and senior students who performed a jatiswaram in Athana, Sivashtakam, and Rukmini Patra Pravesam (performed by his wife Priyanka Vempati), all of which highlighted the mesmerising choreography of the late Vempati Chinna Satyam. Veteran Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam exponent and guru M.V. Narasimhachari and this writer were the chief guests. M.V.N. Murthy, Kuchipudi dancer, teacher and senior disciple of Vempati Chinna Satyam was the master of ceremonies. It was a heart-warming event.

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