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Kerala classical dancer makes derogatory remarks against male artist, sparks row

A controversy erupted in Kerala after classical dancer Kalamandalam Sathyabhama made derogatory remarks against a male dancer, without taking his name, saying that “his complexion was like a crow, and he looked ugly to perform the art”.

During an interview with a YouTube channel, Sathyabhama said Mohiniyattam was performed by ‘mohinis’ (beautiful women) and was not suitable for men. She claimed that men looked annoying while performing the classical dance.

Later, RLV Ramakrishnan, a well-known classical dancer and brother of late Malayalam actor Kalabhavan Mani posted on Facebook that Satyabhama’s statement was against him.

“An artist with the precious tag of Kalamandalam before her name has been insulting me again and again. This respected guru has insulted me earlier when I was in Kalamandalam as well. She was not at all interested in me continuing doing Mohiniyattam and getting a PhD in it,” he wrote.

“Due to such people, an artist from the Scheduled Caste cannot continue in the dance field today. People with such rotten minds will be brought before the law,” he said.

Kalamandalam and RLV are prominent performing arts institutes in Kerala.

Following this, the ruling Left Democratic Front and the Opposition Congress condemned Satyabhama’s remarks and offered their support to Ramakrishnan.

Kerala Social Justice Minister R Bindu said her government will offer all support to Ramakrishnan.

Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), the youth wing of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has lodged a complaint with the Director General of Police (DGP). DYFI said it will organise dance programmes for Ramakrishnan across the state.

Despite the criticism, Satyabhama remained defiant and said she would not withdraw her remarks.

Asserting that she stood by what she said, Satyabhama said her comments were not directed at any person. She said she was quoting what she learnt in ‘Natyashastra’, a Sanskrit work on performing arts.

When she was questioned whether the text equated a good dancer to someone with fair skin, she said that the “beauty of the body” was important in dance.

Published By:

Prateek Chakraborty

Published On:

Mar 22, 2024

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