Mohiniattam maestro Kanak Rele named for Birla Kala Shikhar award

Mumbai, Nov 16 : Renowned classical danseuse-cum-scholar and exponent of Mohiniattam dance form, Kanak Rele will be honoured with this year's 'Aditya Vikram Birla Kala Shikhar Award for Lifetime Achievement', an official said here on Friday.

Three other promising classical dancers from different parts of India -- Sreelakshmy Govardhanan, Sanjukta Wagh and Parshwanath Upadhye -- will be honoured with the 'Aditya Vikram Birla Kala Kiran Awards' on the occasion.

The prestigious awards will be conferred on Rele, 81, and the other recipients by Maharashtra Governor C.V.

Rao here on Saturday evening in the presence of a galaxy of dignitaries, according to a Raj Bhavan announcement.

The Aditya Vikram Birla Awards have been instituted by the Sangit Kala Kendra headed by Birla Group Director Rajashree Birla.

Born on June 11, 1937 in Gujarat, Rele spent a major part of her childhood at Shantiniketan and Kolkata, before moving to Mumbai where she became a lawyer and acquired a doctorate in dance.

Later, in 1967, she was instrumental in setting up the Nalanda Dance Research Centre which awards graduate, post-graduate and doctorates in dance forms through the University of Mumbai.

It is the only institution of its kind recognized by the Union Ministry of Science and Technology as a 'Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation'.

Initially, from the age of seven, she specialized in Kathakali dance form and developed an interest in Mohiniattam only much later in life, especially during 1970-1971 after grants from the Sangeet Natak Akademi and Ford Foundation.

Initiated by Kalamandalam Rajalakshmi, Rele travelled to Kerala to film exponents like Kunjukutty Amma, Chinnammu Amma and Kalyanikutty Amma and learnt the subtle nuances of Mohiniattam.

Learning from the traditional styles and techniques of these legendary dancers plus classical literature, Rele went on to revive this dying dance form and even develop her own style, known as the 'Kanak Rele School' of Mohiniattam.

She authored the books, "Mohiniattam, The Lyrical Dance" and "Bhavaniroopana, A Handbook Of Indian Dance Terminology".

Over the years, she has been conferred other top honours like Gujarat's 'Gaurav Puraskar', Madhya Pradesh's 'Kalidas Samman', the Sangeet Natak Akademy Award, M.S.

Subbulakshmi Award, Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan.



Source: IANS