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Zora Sehgal, Chandralekha get Akademi awards

New Delhi, January 31
Octogenarian actor Zora Sehgal, Kathakali maestro Kalamandalam Raman Kutty Nair and contemporary dancer Chandralekha are among the six artistes selected by the Sangeet Natak Akademi for its “Ratna” fellowship for 2004, it was announced today.

The country’s premier art institution has also selected 35 other artistes and scholars for its “Puraskar” (award). The prominent among them included Singh Bandhu (Hindustani vocal), Bombay Sisters (Carnatic vocal), Saswati Sen (Kathak), Pasumarthy Seetharamiah (Kuchipudi), Rohini Hatangadi (theatre actress) Swadesh Deepak (Hindi playwright), Hans Raj Hans (Punjabi folk music), Kidangoor Rama Chakyar (Kudiyattam) and Kanhailal Maharana (Chhau). Music critic S.K. Saxena has also been given the award for his overall contribution to performing arts.

The others to win the ‘Ratna’ awards were music scholar Annapurna Devi, folk artiste Bindhya Basini Devi and Tapas Sen for his major contribution to the field of theatre lighting, the Akademi said in an official communique here.

The Akademi General Council, which met on Saturday, selected the awardees from the fields of classical music and dance besides theatre and art forms in the category of traditional, folk and tribal.

This year, 10 musicians have been honoured in the field of Hindustani and Carnatic music, eight artistes of dance representing Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Kathakali, Odissi, Kuchipudi, Chhau, Mohiniattam and Sattriya and eight theatre artistes representing playwriting, direction, acting and allied theatre arts.

The rest of the honours have gone for one’s contribution to traditional, folk and tribal forms of performing arts including puppetry. They comprise eight persons representing Punjab, Sikkim, Kerala, Mizoram, Manipur, Tripura, Orissa and Jharkhand.

The Akademi honours, conferred from 1952, not only symbolise the highest standard of excellence and achievements on a national basis but also recognise sustained individual work and outstanding contribution to the practice and appreciation of arts through performance, teaching and scholarship.

The honours carry a purse money, ‘tamrapatra’ (plaque) and ‘angavastram’ (shawl) which is presented at a special investiture ceremony.

Following are the artistes selected for the award:

Music: Balwant Rai Bhatt (Hindustani vocal), Surinder Singh and Tejpal Singh (Singh Bandhu - Hindustani vocal), Suresh Talwalkar (Hindustani tabla), Ashish Khan (Hindustani sarod), C Saroja and C Lalitha (Bombay sisters - Carnatic vocal), Thiruvengadu A Jayaraman (Carnatic vocal), Madras A Kannan (Carnatic mridangam) and Prapancham Sitharam (Carnatic flute).

Dance: Nirmala Ramachandran (Bharatnatayam), Saswati Sen (Kathak), Kalamandalam Vasu Pisharoti (Kathakali), Durlav Chandra Singh (Odissi), Pasumarti Seetharamaiah (Kuchipudi), Shashadh Acharya (Chhau), Kalamandalam Sugandhi (Mohiniattam) and Jatin Goswami (Sattriya).

Theatre: Swadesh Deepak (Hindi playwright), Indira Parthasarathy (Tamil playwright), Anuradha Kapoor (direction), Arambam Lokendra Singh (direction), Raj Besaria (direction), Rohini Hattangadi (acting), Ramcharan Nirmalkar (acting) and Prema Karanth (costume designing).

Folk arts and music: Hans Raj Hans (folk music - Punjab), Naren Gurung (folk music and dance - Sikkim), Kidangoor Ramachakyar (Kuttiattam - Kerala), J Lal Hluna (folk music - Mizoram), Ibemni Devi (Khongljom Parba - Manipur), Satyaram Reang (tribal music - Tripura), Maguni Charan Kuanr (Puppetry - Orissa) and Kanhailal Maharana and (Seraikella Chhau - Jharkand). — UNI


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