Chatting with Dr Thara Kalyan; The dancer, actress and teacher

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I felt a sense of delight to catch up with Thara Kalyan the dancer, actress of the big and small screen as well as a dance guru. With fond memories I looked forward to seeing her again after a long hiatus. I had participated in some of her programmes sometime back in Trivandrum as a coy bride in Oppana dances. Wherein, my role was very simple. I had to just in a chair in the centre and look pretty and shy while her students danced vigorously around me and embellished me or pretended to, with ornaments and henna artwork. While doing the makeup in the greenroom both Thara and her mother, Subbalakshmi amma who is now a popular actress would always be humming and singing. Subbalakshmi amma was a carnatic vocal teacher. And now to me it was even more delightful to watch her dance after a long gap and that too with her daughter Sowbhagya.

And to get to know more about her I asked her.

When did you get interested in dance?
I got interested in dancing at a very young age. My mom used to sing for dance recitals for local dancers. At that time watching them perform I used sit and admire them. Later I got an opportunity to participate in a dance programme for a function in connection with Onam celebrations in the colony we used to stay. That was a turning point for me.

Your mentors in dance.

My mentor is undoubtedly my mother Smt R Subbalakshmi. I owe it to my parents for their constant encouragement and support.

Who were your dance gurus?

My gurus were late Kalaimamani Rajaratinam Master and Sri Vinayachandran.

How many years of training do you have in dance and which forms.

I was trained for some 10yrs …. in Bharathanatyam , Mohiniyattam and Kuchipudi.

About your dance school. When did you start that?

It is "Sri Mookambika Academy”. I have completed 26 years of teaching. I started teaching from a very young age. That’s from high school onwards. Because my mother suggested that teaching makes an artiste perfect, tolerant and also self-sufficient. Presently I have a school in Trivandrum and in Cochin with two branches.

When did you foray into acting… which are movies you have done.

I did the role of Chottanikkarabhagavathy when I was doing my pre degree. Then I did the title role in the play  Mughaawaranam. Then a score of movies…Raapakal, Mughachitram, Thirakatha, Stop Violence, Ring tone, Meghatheertham, Rose guitarinaal, Thiruwambaadi Thampaan, Nizhalkoothu of Adoor Goplakrishnan, Sughamo Devi, Utharaa are some of them.

What are the TV serials you have done?

I have done many serials….Varam , Vettah , Lakshaarchana , Melottu kozhiyunna ilakal , Maya , Sapathnee , Salabhanjika , Rahasyam, Kuttichaatan , Aayirathiloruwal , Nandhanam , Indraneelam, Manalnagaram , Gandharvasandhya , Megham, Mandaaram , Sthree janmam , Aalippazham , many names I have forgotten.

Has your dance expertise helped you in acting?

Dance has helped me throughout…it is a way of life for me…sort of indispensable!

You have only one daughter, Sowbhagya. What about her dance interest?

 She is very keen and focussed. She wants to pursue in and only in dance. Currently she is doing her degree in Mohiniyattom at RLV College of Music and Fine Arts in Tripunithura, Cochin. She now performs with me in all the events.

Your husband, is he an artiste too?

Yes, name is Raajaram. He is an actor, director, choreographer, editor, Deejay and also running a dance school for Bollywood dance.

About your mom.

My mom’s name is Smt R Subbalakshmi. She was music teacher in Balabhavan. Currently she is a sought after artiste in the tinsel world. But for her selfless backing I wouldn’t be what I am today and I am indebted to her for life.

How did you like your performance and audience appreciation in Singapore.
The programme in Singapore was very good … thanks to Deepthi Krishnan who put in the good word for me and of course to the office bearers of the function with a special mention of Abhilash. I loved performing there.

What is your next venture in dance?

My next venture is still in the planning stage.

If given a choice what kind of role would you like to take up in a serial that is close to your heart.
I would like to accept anything that comes my way. Neither in a position to choose nor am I keen on it. Dancing is my life!

Dr Thara Kalyan and her daughter performed for the Onanilavu programme at Chong Pang CC on the 27th of July 2013.

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