Meenakshi Chitharanjan
Born
Alma materEthiraj College for Women
OccupationClassical dancer
Known forBharatnatyam
Spouse(s)Arun Chitharanjan
Parent(s)Sabanagayam
Savithri
AwardsPadma Shri
Kalaimamani Award
Natya Kala Sarathi
Natrya Choodamani
WebsiteWebsite

Meenakshi Chitharanjan, an Indian classical dancer, teacher and choreographer, is known as an exponent of the Pandanallur style of the classical dance form of Bharatanatyam.[1] She is the founder of Kaladiksha, an institution promoting Bharatanatyam and striving to preserve the Pandanallur tradition. A disciple of the father-son duo of Chokkalingam Pillai and Subbaraya Pillai,[2] she is a recipient of several honours including Kalaimamani Award of the Government of Tamil Nadu and the Natya Kala Sarathi of Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha.[3] The Government of India awarded her the fourth highest civilian honour of the Padma Shri, in 2008, for her contributions to classical dance.[4]

Biography

Meenakshi Chitharanjan was born in Chennai, in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu to Sabanagayam, a government official, as the youngest and only girl child among his five children.[3] Her mother, Savithri, sent the girl to Pandanallur Chockalingam Pillai, a renowned Bharatanatyam guru, when the child was four, and after training under the Pillai and his son, Subbaraya Pillai, she staged her arangetram (debut) in 1966 at the age of nine.[1] Soon, she moved to Delhi when her father was transferred to the Indian capital, but continued her dance studies under Subbaraya Pillai by visiting Chennai during holidays. She did her college studies at Ethiraj College for Women and married Arun Chitharanjan, an orthodontist and the grandson of M. Bhaktavatsalam, the then chief minister of Tamil Nadu, after which her dance career halted for a while.[3]

She returned to dancing after a chance meeting with Srinivasa Pillai, a percussionist who had played mridangam as an accompaniment to her in her younger days.[3] She also trained abhinaya under Kalanidhi Narayanan, a Padma Bhushan awardee, and has been performing on stage since then.[5][6] Srinivasa Pillai, S. Pandian and Padma Subrahmanyam have also trained her at various points of time.[7] In 1991, she started Kaladiksha, a dance school for teaching Bharatanatyam which has since grown to hold around 100 students at a time and is known to be striving to preserve the Pandanallur bani.[1] She has tutored many aspiring dancers and Aishwarya R. Dhanush, the wife of Dhanush, the eldest daughter of Rajnikanth and a Kalaimamani awardee, is one of her disciples.[8] She received the title Natya Choodamani of Sri Krishna Gana Sabha and, Kalaimamani Award of the Government of Tamil Nadu in 1975.[9] The Government of India awarded her the fourth highest civilian honour of the Padma Shri in 2008 and Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha honoured her with the title of Natya Kala Sarathi in 2014.[7] She is also a recipient of Awards of Excellence from Rotary Club, Chenna and Probus Club, Chennai, and Best Dancer Award (2004) from Madras Music Academy. She holds the highest artist grade at the Doordarshan.[9]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c "Profile: Meenakshi Chitharanjan". Lokvani. 17 March 2009. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  2. ^ "The king was captivated and…". The Hindu. 31 October 2014. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d "Life's dancing lessons". The Hindu. 13 February 2014. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  4. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 November 2014. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
  5. ^ "Memorable Guru Samarpan". Narthaki. 16 November 2014. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  6. ^ "Moves and music". The Hindu. 21 January 2016. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  7. ^ a b "Title conferred on Meenakshi Chitharanjan". The Hindu. 21 January 2014. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  8. ^ "KALAIMAMANI 2009 ANNOUNCED". Sangeethas. 2009. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  9. ^ a b "Appreciated for taking Pandanallur style of dancing to Great Heights". Chennai Plus. 1 February 2014. Archived from the original on 5 February 2016. Retrieved 29 January 2016.