Kathak is like life: Shovana
Amarjot Kaur

Acclaimed dancer Shovana Narayan left Bharatnatyam for Kathak as she was taken in by the dynamism this dance form represents, which makes it traditionally contained, but open to experimentation

Her ideological inspiration behind extending the boundaries of Kathak to literary territories and sensitive social issues has not been simply intellect driven, but it sprang from her understanding of the tradition. In conversation with Padma Shri Shovana Narayan, who is considered as one of the finest exponents of kathak, we stand acquainted with the sensibility that inspires her exquisite style of dancing, which is effortlessly intense and passionate, elegant yet vibrant. In Chandigarh to perform at the Chandigarh Dance Festival organised by Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademi, Shovana greets us with a pleasant smile while waxing eloquent on Kathak and its evolution.

"I was initiated into kathak by my mother, who comes from the lineage that defined the independent movement of India in the early 20s in Bihar and my grandfather was one of the members of Parliament in 1924," she says. "Coming from a family where progressiveness is considered a virtue, my association with literature and philosophy of social sensibilities was the first of my parents concerns, dance only followed as it inspires art and literature," she adds.

A traditional choice

While Shovana was trained in Bharatnatyam during her stay in Mumbai, when her father was posted in the city, but her choice to take up Kathak was made only when she was influenced enough by the dynamism of the dance form. "Kathak is like life. It's dynamic, it has the element of abhinaya, and it is allows much flexibility of rhythm and movement, which makes it traditionally contained, but open to experimentation," she shares. Also, she credits the interest she has in Kathak to the rich heritage of tradition it hails from. "The mention of kathak was first made in the fourth century BC and there are frequent references to the dance form in the Vedas and Mahabharat," she shares.

The dance that traditionally belongs to the Indo-Ganges belt of both India and Pakistan essentially originated in the temples at Varanasi and later went to the Mugal courts, which was when it is believed to have lost its sheen. However, Shovana disagrees with the accusations. "The Mughals gave patronage to kathak, which was performed at the courts by male dancers. However, its nuances and movements inspired many popular dances, which were perceived as kathak by those who lacked the knowledge of the dance form," says she.

International footing

Shovana has also worked in collaborations with nationally and internationally known Indian and western dancers and musicians. She pioneered the genre of dance enactments to philosophical themes with eminent philosopher, late Prof Ramchandra Gandhi (grandson of Mahatma Gandhi) that were based on the lives of contemporary thinkers and sages. She has also rejuvenated the narrative tradition of North-India by presenting soliloquies. "In my opinion, an innovation that passes the test of time becomes a tradition. While earlier, the kathak dancers at the temple would take narratives from the literature to preach values and morals to the audience, I am doing the same, just that the context relates to the modern sensibilities." Shovana was the creative director-dancer of the first ever trilogy involving Western Classical Dance-Kathak-Spanish Flamenco in 'The Dawn After'. Shovana's keen interest in research has led to certain discoveries, including the discovery of three kathak villages near Gaya. She has authored several (12) books and numerous articles on the subject of dance and is also a visiting lecturer to several universities in India and abroad.


Haule haule he conquers
Jasmine Singh

The energy was palpable as Sukhwinder Singh, with his bright looks and mesmerising voice, fuelled youngsters’ imagination at the Mind Rocks Youth Summit in Chandigarh

Sukhwinder Singh could be hitting the dais anytime soon. This information creates a buzz among the youngsters who have already started swaying with the mike check which is taking place on his numbers.

Haule haule…the soft track plays in the background, as the technicians make some last minute check-ups on the stage of India Today, Mind Rocks Youth Summit. He walks in, brightly dressed for the occasion. The bright colours soon fade away into the background and what remains is the effect of his mesmerizing voice that lingers long after his performance is over. "I can sing in Telugu, Bengali, Hindi, Punjabi, even Turkish. What matters is the music, not the language. As long as my music touches hearts, who is bothered about what language I am singing in," shares Sukhwinder Singh, who has turned every song into a memory with his voice.

He is excited to see youngsters around; he likes the free-flowing energy. "This is how I am," almost smiling to himself, "easy going in life yet serious about my work. I don't understand the rush, the need to be in all the places, to fulfill everything at one time," the singer talks about being himself. Being easy is definitely not supposed to mean not serious. On the contrary, Sukhwinder is a singer who is extremely passionate about his singing. "I don't over exert myself. Talking about passion, I have sung a birthday song that will be remembered for the coming ten years." As for the moment, there is a lot of Sukhwinder Singh that we will be hearing. "Happy New Year, this is the film where you will be hearing me along with others."

It is not a secret that Sukhwinder can sing amazingly well in Punjabi, a language he ventured out with. It is, however, the losing sheen of music here, which is disturbing him a lot. "I don't see any power in the voices these days, everything seems to be orchestrated. There is so much technology at our disposal and this is all that we hear," he adds looking at the young minds, who have soaked in every word of his.

Star track
A gutsy nani

Rekha Rekha is known for breaking rules. Her film Super Nani will take on Shah Rukh Khan's Happy New Year this Diwali. The film also stars Indra Kumar's daughter Shweta Kumar.

Balan in burqa

A few days ago, Vidya Balan visited a multiplex in a burqa to watch Kick with her husband Siddharth Roy Kapur. Her act went bust and she was caught because people recognised her husband and wanted to know who was with him.

Clash of Titans?

The song Bismil from Haider was launched on Friday as was Tu Meri from Bang Bang. Both films release on the same day, which is October 2. Which song do you like?


The ex-factor

Shahid Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra recently avoided each other at a reality dance show where they had gone to promote their respective films. We take a look at exes and their equations in Bollywood

Kat got them
Deepika Padukone and Ranbir Kapoor: Deepika and Ranbir were officially in a relationship and very open about it for a year before Katrina Kaif's entry spelled the end of their romance. RK has been involved, on and off, with Katrina since the release of Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani in 2009. Ranbir and Deepika amicably shoot with each other for the hit Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and they are now shooting for Imtiaz Ali's Tamasha.

Not on talking terms
Bipasha Basu and John Abraham: They were the hottest couple in Bollywood for a decade but they broke up a couple of years ago as John refused to marry her. There were rumours of infidelity on both sides. John has since married LA-based banker Priya Runchal in 2014 and Bipasha is engaged to Harman Baweja. They do not talk to each other at all.

Love turns sour 
Jacqueline Fernandes and Sajid Khan:
The two got involved during the making of Housefull 2 as Jackie was one of the several heroines in it. She turned down many movies because he did not approve of them. Finally, she broke away from him last year and is happy and free. He even blamed her for the failure of Himmatwala. They are not on talking terms and Jackie's career is going places after Kick.

Pick and choose
Priyanka Chopra and Harman Baweja:
They dated for a few years when Priyanka was not such a huge star and Harman was a nobody until 2008 when Love Story 2050 flopped. Priyanka got involved with Shahid Kapoor while filming Kaminey and the rest is history. While Priyanka maintains friendly terms with Harman, she prefers to stay away from Shahid. We blame his Casanova image!

Parting ways
Anushka Sharma and Ranveer Singh:
They never admitted to their romance during and after the making of Band Baaja Baaraat and Ladies vs. Ricky Bahl. They split around 2012 and have gone their separate ways. Anushka is currently dating cricketer Virat Kohli and Ranveer has found his ladylove in Deepika Padukone. Neither party admits to dating the other.

Ranbir and I are professionals: Deepika

Deepika Padukone is going to get busy with Piku and other movies. She talks about Ranbir Kapoor, Ranveer Singh and more.

No personal issue

Ranbir Kapoor and I are professional actors. We don't come on the sets with any baggage.

Time will tell

Every relationship needs time, you need to nurture it. There's no point talking about something when you're not sure what you want from it.

Barbed comment

It doesn't surprise me (Sonam Kapoor's comment on Deepika's lack of personal style). Sonam is entitled to her opinion. Yes, I have a set of professionals to look after me whom I trust. So what? My job is just to act.

Happy and lucky

I am happy and lucky to be part of the film industry when so much is happening in terms of content. A classic case in point is Finding Fanny which is so different from the usual masala movies. I wasn't the first choice but after Cocktail wrapped up, I told Homi (Adajania) that I'd like to do the film. Unless I give something different to the audience occasionally, how will I know how much I can push myself as an actor? In Cocktail, I was Veronica, born and brought up in London. In Finding Fanny, I'm Angie who lives in her own world.

Gratefully yours

On my part, I will do any role for Shah Rukh (Khan) and without even asking what film they are making or how much they will pay me. I'm here because they gave me an awesome launch in Om Shanti Om.

The wait is not over
Bombay Velvet postponed to May 2015

Date issue: Anurag Kashyap

Ranbir Kapoor's Bombay Velvet will now release in May 2015. The film won't be ready by November 28, given the huge amount of VFX work that is still pending. Director Anurag Kashyap is recreating the Bombay of the 60s and the makers did not anticipate that the VFX would take so long to complete. The heavy post production will go on till January and the makers have decided to push the release to May. The romantic thriller is being presented by Fox Star Studios and has been produced by Phantom Films. It also stars Anushka Sharma and Karan Johar. Anurag says, "We have just realised that it will take a long time to finish VFX of the film which we had not anticipated. I'm recreating an era gone by and we had not thought that it needs so much post production. I'm finally learning what it takes to make a big film."

Astro turf
P Khurrana

ARIES: Sacrifices made today can put you in a far better place in the future. A real estate transaction should not be started today. Sudden travel can disturb certain plans. A long-awaited issue finally gets settled.

Tarot message: Look after your finances. Lucky colour: Black.

Magic number: 60.

TAURUS: "The Moon" reveals that you can stretch your relationship a bit too far. Speak your mind to your beloved to clear any misunderstanding. Property deals get concluded today. Tarot message: Don't be too certain about obtaining a clearance.

Lucky colour: Ebony.

Magic number: 42.

GEMINI: It is a day to forget worries at work. Talk to superiors and see what they can offer. Romance is likely to occupy your mind. Uncooperative family members will throw a spanner in your life.

Tarot message: Listen to your inner voice. Lucky colour: Peach.

Magic number: 62.

CANCER: Today you will be in an enthusiastic frame of mind. Matters connected with the state or government agency will go through smoothly.

Tarot message: Change the status quo both at work and in relationships by voicing your feelings. Lucky colour: Silver Grey.

Magic number: 29.

LEO: Trying to get some time for your own self can be the hardest thing today. Relax and be a little more tolerant. You will be in a mood to find faults with people who are dear to you; curb this habit. Tarot message: Follow your instinct.

Lucky colour: Purple.

Magic number: 30.

VIRGO: Teamwork is the keynote of the day. Home life will be pleasant. Elder people can drum up certain problems. Check your car before you set out for a long journey. Tarot message: Draw on your inner energies and begin moving from thought to action.

Lucky colour: Rust.

Magic number: 64.

LIBRA: Life is not always a bed of roses. Relatives will be sensitive and difficult to get along with. Do not get involved in any land deal. Emotions have to be controlled. No pain no gain.

Tarot message: A confrontation needs to be managed with care.

Lucky colour: Blue.

Magic number: 59.

SCORPIO: Let a project take its time. You will be happy in the company of friends. Find moderate pleasures. Handle property matters carefully. Some of you will be suffering from financial insecurity. It is a temporary phase.

Tarot message: Don't play tricks on yourself.

Lucky colour: Crimson.

Magic number: 41.

SAGITTARIUS: Relax; there is no work pressure at all. Friends will be easy-going and willing to fall in love with your plans. Property matters are highlighted. A romantic alliance is likely to blossom by the evening.

Tarot message: Do not let anyone take advantage of you.

Lucky colour: Burgundy.

Magic number: 46.

CAPRICORN: It is a good day to get things done by people in power. You will get an opportunity to become a member of an important club. Family affairs run along smoothly.

Tarot message: Be determined and increase your self-confidence.

Lucky colour: Green.

Magic number: 25.

AQUARIUS: Making a spontaneous trip can fill the need for variety. Students will get down to their tasks and creative hobbies. Businessmen: expect help from clients and loan from bank.

Tarot message: Win the war with honesty, not by distorting facts.

Lucky colour: Cream.

Magic number: 27.

PISCES: Tendencies for manipulation or revenge should be controlled and contained. Believe in your own worth. Political bosses: danger looms large over the head. It is a good day for investment in property.

Tarot message: Trust your heart and intuition.

Lucky colour: Yellow.

Magic number: 43.

The year ahead
Madan Gupta Spatu

If your birthday is August 24...

Saturn continues to teach many lessons on behaviour and intimacy. You will be learning how important communication is in relationships. Charity work undertaken will bring mental peace and comfort. Don't make investments in haste; losses are certain. Domestic work will be tiring and become a major cause for stress. No hope for romance. If you run from a situation, it will follow you in the worst possible manner. You'll have heaps of initiative as well as flair and this will allow you to complete things ahead of time. Expect small quarrels over foolish matters; try not to be stubborn or conservative.

Positive colours: White, Sea green

Select days: Friday, Thursday and Tuesday.

Favourable numbers: 5 and 6.

Gems recommended: Diamond and Emerald

Charity on birthday: Donate gur and chana to the poor.

You share your birthday with Karrine Steffans (born on August 24, 1978), an American author known for the Vixen series of books. She has worked as an actress and as a hip-hop model, having appeared in more than 20 music videos, many by multi-platinum-selling rap artistes.

Chatter box
It’s show time!

Star World Premier is all set to bring new shows to their channel. The British costume drama television series, Downton Abbey Season 5, set in the fictional Yorkshire country estate of Downton Abbey, depicting the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the post-Edwardian era — with the great events in history having an effect on their lives and on the British social hierarchy — will air soon.

Another show to look forward to is The Blacklist Season 2, every Tuesday from September 23, which features James Spader, the three-time Primetime Emmy Award Winner and Golden Globe nominee. His character, Reddington, chooses a rookie agent played by Megan Boone within the FBI for unknown reasons to catch a long-thought-dead terrorist for the agency on his own terms. America's most loved drama series is also back! From October 6, catch Homeland Season 4 every Monday. In this season, Mathison (Claire Danes) has come to believe that Brody (Damian Lewis), who was held captive by Al-Qaeda as a prisoner of war, was "turned" by the enemy and now threatens the US. The fourth season takes place in Pakistan and Afghanistan with Mathison assigned to a dangerous CIA station in the Middle East.

Love & its failings

While two is company, three's a crowd-this popular adage holds a different meaning in today's day and age of complicated relationships. While infidelity and uncertainty are issues that today's young generation is constantly grappling with, Bindass' new show, Pyaar Ka The End, attempts to create awareness of such instances where love takes the wrong turn. Voicing his thoughts on such issues in the upcoming episode of the show, Bollywood actor Emraan Hashmi will be seen giving the audiences advice on how to deal with such complex situations and prevent regretful actions.

The upcoming episode revolves around Suraj, who is in a relationship with Juhi, a girl completely in love with Suraj, unaware of the fact that he is in fact cheating on her with his boss, Smita.

Twist in the tale

Colors' Beintehaa is gearing up for a change. Kamya Punjabi and Neil Motwani will soon enter the show with a dramatic twist. Priya Shinde, of Splitsvilla fame, will be playing the role of a girl that Suraiyya (Suchitra Pillai) wants Zain (Harshad Arora) to marry after his divorce with Aaliya (Preetika Rao).

Borders don’t matter

Ahsan Khan, a Pakistani film and television actor, host and performer, began his acting career in 1998. He has appeared in Pakistani films like Nikah, Ishq Khuda and later moved on to television. On Zindagi channel, Ahsan can be seen in Mere Qatil Mere Dildaar, playing the role of protagonist Umer who is in love with Maham (played by Mehwish Hayat). We shares excerpts from his journey so far.

Your show Mere Qatil Mere Dildaar has now released in India. How do you feel about it?

I am glad that Indian viewers can witness my work on their television screens. I did MQMD almost two years ago in Pakistan and the show is very close to my heart. It is an exciting moment for me that MQMD is one of my first shows to release on Zindagi in India. I play the protagonist Umer in it.

With Zindagi airing your show, you think you'll get offers from Bollywood filmmakers now?

Well I hope so. But it's not about Bollywood offers for me. I am glad that Indians can now see our work and know that Pakistani culture is not very different from that of India. More than the happiness of my talent being recognised in India, I am excited about this initiative that will bring India and Pakistan closer than ever before.

Have you ever considered working in Indian soaps and what kind of roles do you like to play?

Yes, why not? I would love to if the project offered to me is good and convinces me. I am very selective about my work and only take up projects that I think I can do justice with. I love challenging roles, which tend to push me to perform better. — HRM

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | E-mail |