Song of Surrender

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Bhagavatula Seetarama Sarma

10.10.1936
Birthdays & Anniversaries

To those who had the pleasure of witnessing the performances, particularly the dance-dramas, of Kalakshe in the sixties and the seventies, the names of Kamala Rani and Bhagavatula Seetarama Sarma will indeed be familiar. They were the backbone, providing music and nattuvangam. Kamala Rani passed away recently. Seetarama Sarma who came from the village of Koocftipoocfi (which is how the name of the village and the dance-form should be written and pronounced) with a background of dance and Carnatic music, was moulded by Kalakshetra and Rukmini Devi into a composer, singer, and teacher of both music and nattuvangam. He played a considerable part in the production of a number of the dance-dramas of Kalakshetra. He may not have figured prominently in the year long celebration of Rukmini Devi's centenary but those who were his contemporaries at Kalakshetra would readily acknowledge his contribution to the institution. After he left Kalakshetra in 1985, he started his own teaching institution. Kala Peetham. The bright young star of today's Carnatic music firmament, T.M. Krishna is his sishya and dancers Revathi Ramachandran and Jayanthi Subramaniam have learnt nattuvangam from him.

One of Rukmini Devi Arundale's outstanding contributions to the field of the performing arts was the new kind of dance-dramas that she choreographed and presented. Music played a major role in enhancing the quality of these productions. She got musical giants to compose for her— big names like Tiger Varadachariar, Veena Krishnamachariar, Mysore Vasudevachar, Papanasam Sivan. Later it was S. Rajaram, grandson of Vasudevachar. But there were others working silently behind the scenes, at her beck and call— younger people whose contributions were not so well known or as widely unacknowledged. One such person is Bhagavatula Seetarama Sarma whose association with Rukmini Devi and Kalakshetra lasted for more than two decades. Seetarama Sarma has since made a mark as musician, music composer, music and dance guru and nattuvangam artist.


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