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Individual Issues

Ram Gopal
Issue : 230
Published on : November, 2003



3 Sruti Box

7 News & Notes

19 Special Feature

35 Tribute

40 New Productions

49 Opinion Column

51 The Record Rack

53 Brief Notes

56 Editor's Note

Front Cover: Ram Gopal in 'Aum Shiva'
Courtesy: Mohan Khokar Dance Archives of India

Special Feature
Ram Gopal

Bissano Ram Gopal was born in Bangalore on 20th November 1912, to a Burmese mother and Rajput father. His year of birth remains a mystery because when Ram was 60, he joked he was 40 (and looked it too!) and when he died at 90 plus he felt he was only 70! But two or three of his contemporaries like Guru U.S. Krishna Rao and dance partners like Mrinalini Sarabhai and M.K. Saroja are good references to arrive at a precise year of birth which turns out to be 1912. Guru U.S. Krishna Rao knows for a fact that Ram was 40 days older than him and Guru Rao was born on December 31st 1912, so Ram was born on 20th November 1912. When M.K. Saroja was five years old Ram was 24 and she was born in 1931. As he was born on 20th or 'Bees' in Hindi, he was named Bissano, as a term of endearment, by his beautiful Burmese mother from whom he got those chiselled features with high cheek-bones and shapely eyes. His robust Rajput father gave his body the finest of manly "cuts" and rippling muscles. Thus, Nature had itself conspired and inspired forces to sculpt a beautiful body and a beautiful face to go with what he was meant to do— dance!

To say Ram was a born dancer is stating the obvious. There was no dance in his family circle, although Ram was artistic from his childhood. Although his family house—The Torquay Castle—in Benson Town, was a lavish affair with tennis courts and swimming pool, befitting the status of his rich barrister father, Ram spent more time with musicians and artists. His friendship with U.S. Krishna Rao, who once ended up playing the mridanga for Ram when he had to dance impromptu at a tea party hosted by the then Yuvaraja of Mysore, established a lifelong relationship with dance. Ram was lucky to find a royal patron and a loyal friend.

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New Productions
Asmita - Celebrating The Indian Identity

Renowned classical dance exponent and arts activist Sonal Mansingh and her troupe presented Asmita, a ballet "celebrating the Indian identity", with the participation of the renowned violinist L. Subramaniam and his wife Kavita Krishnamurti and their team of musicians, on 13th August at the Ashok Convention Hall in New Delhi. It was indeed a rare event as artists of the calibre of Sonal Mansingh, violin maestro Dr. L. Subramaniam and popular vocalist Kavita Krishnamurti, worked together as a team, putting their creative energies together to offer an aesthetic experience.

Sonal Mansingh, in her choreographer's note, said: "In Asmita I have envisioned the evolution of the Indian world-view and how it grew and took shape, influencing Indian consciousness and identity. The most unique part of Indian civilization is Indian thought, that has ensured its continuum and vibrant existence today. Also India's contribution to world thought and culture has been significant. In this work I have explored the treasure-chest of Indian thought in the fields of philosophy, religion, myth and legend as well as science." According to Sonal Mansingh "Asmita is a celebration of India as the navel or bindu of one's consciousness. The seven sacred rivers traverse the seven worlds within us and from Zero or Soonya springs all creation. The Zero, which is India's gift to the world, gives us space to play and celebrate in the living void of our hearts. Asmita is a celebration through dance, music and theatre, of the many unique dimensions of India."

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B.V.K. Sastry

B V.K. Sastry passed away in Bangalore on the 22nd September. He was 87 years old. His passing has left the world of music and dance significantly poorer. A highly respected critic of music and dance, BVK (as he was popularly known) had been associated with journalism and the fine arts for over six decades. He was one of those somewhat rare critics who was liked not only by rasika-s but by artists themselves as well.

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News & Notes
Sruti Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary

The twentieth anniversary of Sruti was celebrated at a meeting held in the Narada Gana Sabha Hall on the 11th of September. The occasion was availed of to present the Vellore Gopalachariar award instituted by mridanga vidwan Vellore Ramabhadran in memory of his father to vidwan S.V. Parthasarathy.

The function started with a musical invocation by Carnatic vocalist Geetha Raja. Her fatherin-law the late R. Sethuraman (father of Aruna Sayeeram) was connected with Sruti as its first Bureau Chief and Representative in Mumbai.

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