Birthdays & Anniversaries
|9.9.1935 - 16.11.2012|
Vedantam Satyanarayana Sarma was born on 9 September 1935, to Subbamma and Vedantam Venkataratnam, who belonged to a traditional Kuchipudi family. By that time, Kuchipudi dance had barely crossed the borders of the Telugu speaking regions. The life story of Satyanarayana Sarma tracks the modern history of Kuchipudi.
He was only a year old when his father passed away and he came under the care of his older brother Vedantam Prahlada Sarma who taught him dance as per the family tradition. He also took training from Vedantam Lakshminarayana Sastri and Chinta Krishnamurthy. Like all the boys of his caste in his village, little Satyam was taught Sanskrit and yoga. The dancedrama format of Kuchipudi, also called Kuchipudi Yakshaganam or Bhagavata Melam, had young boys play the female roles in mythological stories. It is interesting to note that when Satyam was about to make his debut on stage, the Melam stopped him, as he was not trained in music. An actor had to sing and dance with equal proficiency. Satyam therefore learnt music from guru Yeleswarapu Seetaramanjaneyulu in his village, and later trained under the famous singer and violinist Sishta Brahmaiah Sastry in Machilipatnam. Finally, when he was fourteen years old, he made his debut at a temple festival and stole everyone’s heart with his performance. He played the roles of Lohitasya in Harischandra and Lava in Ramanatakam in Pasumarthy Kondalarayudu’s troupe, where his brother played the lead female roles.
In an interview given years later, he revealed how, when he was utterly depressed as a teenager, he had visions of Siddhendra Yogi (founder of Kuchipudi dance) blessing him that he would achieve success from his nineteenth year. As prophesied, he received an offer to play the role of Parvati in Usha Parinayam at the age of 19 in Sapru House in Delhi. It was his good fortune, that a troupe which had performed earlier had left behind its stage set of mount Kailash for him to use. This performance in 1958 was the turning point in his life. His dance that day won him recognition.
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