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Kuchipudi dancer Sandhya Raju on Nationwide Movie Awards and her choreography course of for ‘Natyam’

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Sandhya Raju, who gained the nationwide award for finest choreography for ‘Natyam’, discusses how she wished to make the dance compositions enchantment to moviegoers 

Sandhya Raju, who gained the nationwide award for finest choreography for ‘Natyam’, discusses how she wished to make the dance compositions enchantment to moviegoers 

Kuchipudi dancer, actor and movie producer Sandhya Raju who gained the very best choreography award on the 68th Nationwide Movie Awards phrases the popularity as a validation for the work that went into her Telugu movie, Natyam. “I don’t come from a movie household. I used to be coming into a brand new terrain and spent a whole lot of time away from my household and my college students on the Nishrinkala Dance Academy. There have been days once I questioned if all this effort was price it,” she confesses throughout this interview with Friday Evaluate. Directed by Revanth Korukonda and produced by Sandhya, Natyam additionally bagged the nationwide award for finest make-up for T V Rambabu.

Sandhya considers it humbling to be awarded for her choreography and mentions with pleasure among the earlier winners — Pandit Birju Maharaj, Prabhudeva, Bosco-Caesar and Saroj Khan — and says it’s a proud second to be a part of an elite membership. 

Natyam is ready in a fictional dance village, nearly as a nod to Kuchipudi village in Andhra Pradesh and dance faculties similar to Kalakshetra. The protagonist Sithara, performed by Sandhya, goals of performing a dance ballet primarily based on the lifetime of Kadambari, a fictional character whose story is steeped in thriller. However future has totally different plans for her. The story permits ample room for music and dance conditions and Natyam showcases classical, people, up to date and western compositions.

Focusing on film audiences

Sandhya Raju

Sandhya Raju
| Picture Credit score: Particular Association

Sandhya affirms that she supposed to enchantment to the moviegoing audiences: “Classical dance connoisseurs would have their very own markers as to what contributes to a pure dance kind. The devices, music, raga, lyrics and the way in which we compose a mangalam, margam or tharangam must conform to the classical context. Whereas planning the choreography, I used to be reminded concerning the origin of Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi. Bharatanatyam started as a temple dance kind whereby dancers carried out in entrance of the deity, whereas Kuchipudi started with the thought of constructing classical dance accessible to individuals. Bands of itinerant artistes would journey to carry out Bhama Kalapam, Parijatham, Krishna-Rukmini-Satyabhama tales and so forth. My guru Vempati Chinna Satyam was identified for his Kuchipudi dance dramas. I noticed Natyam as a chance to make totally different dance kinds interesting to the film audiences.”

Members of Aayana Dance Firm and western up to date dancers from Mumbai had been a part of the Natyam staff; they pitched it on to coach all of them for the movie and in addition doubled up as background dancers the place vital. 

One of many songs was a romance within the Radha-Krishna theme and Sandhya recounts it being a studying expertise since visible results had been concerned: “We filmed in a inexperienced room; a whole lot of homework went into the choreography that was a mixture of people and Indian up to date dance. As a Kuchipudi dancer, I’m used to acting on stage. Engaged on a movie with the digicam because the third eye and visible results being added later was a brand new ballgame.”

The Lepakshi take a look at

Sandhya Raju and Kamal Kamaraju in the ‘Namah Shivaya’ dance number filmed in Lepakshi

Sandhya Raju and Kamal Kamaraju within the ‘Namah Shivaya’ dance quantity filmed in Lepakshi

A spotlight of the movie was the ‘Namah Shivaya’ music filmed inside the temple precincts at Lepakshi, Andhra Pradesh. Permissions had been robust to come back by; Sandhya mentions the assistance from Brahmani, the daughter of actor-politician Balakrishna who facilitated the method. The music was initially deliberate to be filmed at night time however since permission was denied, we shot it in the course of the day. This was in summer time and posed challenges. Sandhya remembers how the movie staff would pour water on the stone floor and he or she, co-star Kamal Kamaraju and different dancers would dance for 15 to twenty seconds in entrance of the digicam and rush again to the shade: “On the finish of the seven-day schedule, many people had blisters on our ft, which took a number of days to heal. Some kind of insane ardour saved us all going. I took that train as a take a look at from Lord Shiva himself.”

Dressing up the solid

Natyam required particular consideration to the make-up of its principal solid in addition to the big variety of dancers and junior artistes who had been a part of the dance numbers. Sandhya credit make-up artiste Rambabu for guaranteeing that his staff of make-up artistes labored retaining in thoughts the demanding filming schedules. “I did my make-up alone. For most of the solid members, Rambabu garu’s staff dealt with the tasks,” she says.

Natyam was licensed in mid-December 2020, thus qualifying for the 68th Nationwide Movie Awards that recognised movies licensed in 2020. Owing to the pandemic-induced delays, it wasn’t till October 2021 that the movie discovered a theatrical launch. 

To get a practical view of how the viewers would understand Natyam, take a look at screenings had been held. Quite than limiting themselves to suggestions from pals, household and the movie fraternity, Sandhya and director Revanth assembled women and men of various age teams and walks of life: “We wished a actuality examine. Drivers, nurses from a hospital, boys from a basti who usually watch mass masala films… we had a combined viewers, together with those that couldn’t perceive Telugu. I subtitled the movie and wished to gauge whether or not the feelings translate effectively. The suggestions helped us perceive how totally different individuals view a movie.”  

New terrain

Dedicating her award to her guru Vempati Chinna Satyam, Sandhya states that he was thought to be a pathbreaking insurgent in his instances: “I can’t examine myself, in any measure, to him. However with Natyam, I attempted to get new individuals to find out about Kuchipudi in as we speak’s context. There was a whole lot of respect and adulation for the movie.”

Subsequent, Sandhya is engaged on a brand new Telugu movie set in Telangana. She is neither producing it neither is it a dance-oriented undertaking. She needs to hone her abilities as an actor: “I had a number of tasks in Natyam, planning the costumes and coordinating with the artwork course division, aside from performing, choreography and manufacturing. This time I wished to give up myself to the craft of performing. It will be a brand new journey and the manufacturing home will reveal the small print of the movie quickly.”

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