Sanskriti Music - Theatre - Dance Awards


This is aimed at encouraging talent, individually or as a group, which proves its merit in the domain of the performing arts. Traditional, classical or innovative vocal and instrumental music, folk and modern dance, ballet, theatre, dance dramas, skits, mime etc. will be considered. Also the performing arts as projected through audio-video and other communication media.

Last three years Awardees

Ranjani and Gayatri
Jyothish M.G.
Kapila Venu
Ranjani & Gayatri were accomplished violinists earlier, having been trained, by Sangeetha Bhushanam TS Krishnaswamy, Professor of Violin at the Shanmukhananda Sangeetha Vidyalaya, Mumbai. They made their debut as violin duo in 1986 and made significant impact as duet performers.

The shift to the vocal discipline, in 1997, has been smooth and successful, belying the general belief, that those who lack the ‘kural’, (voice for singing), take to the ‘viral’, (fingers), for playing on the instruments. This speaks for the versatility of their talents.
In vocal, initiated by their mother, Minakshi Balasubramaniam, they have been under the guidance of PS Narayanaswamy, steeped in the Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer ‘bani’, noted for the weighty classicism, intensity, vibrancy in rendition, among many other typical features.

These aspects are amply reflected in the performance of the duo.
Gifted with a melodious voice, cultured for octave range and modulation skills, and possessing a wide repertoire (an essential criterion, in the ‘kriti’ oriented system of Carnatic music), the sisters make deep impression with perceptive imagination, clean ‘raga’ lines, fidelity to lyrics, felicitous expression and sprays of ‘brigha’ (quick succession of discreet notes, in ascending and descending orders, sometimes, in a staccato fashion).

With their appeal to the young and the mature audiences alike, Ranjani & Gayatri have carved out a niche for themselves. Ranjani & Gayatri are recipients of many awards, notable among them being Kalki Krishnamurthy Memorial Award, Isai Peroli, National Eminence Award of the Shanmukhananda Sabha, Mumbai.
Theatre activist M.G. Jyothish’s world is the stage. The call of the stage made Jyothish an adventurer for he began to write plays and dared to direct and enact those during his years in school. The turning point for the theatre enthusiast came after he joined Abhinaya, where he was groomed by veteran actor and director Reghoothaman. The mutual creative enrichment was strong enough for Jyothish to discontinue his graduation in science and join School of Drama, Thrissur and later do a post graduation in Theatre Arts, University of Pondichery, while continuing his close association with Abhinaya.

“Plays that I have directed are a result of the quest within myself and my evolution as a person. If ‘Bhagavadajjukam’ reflected my confusions and inner dialogues, ‘Siddharatha’ was a more philosophical approach to life and its problems. ‘Macbeth,’ my latest play, is a continuation of that search. It delves into the basic instincts of man,” explains Jyothish. Whether it be adaptations of ancient Sanskrit dramas, Shakespearean tragedies or German novels, plays directed by Jyothish are anchored on powerful subtexts and a rich visual stage craft. Jyothish has collaborated with many eminent theatre practitioners for various productions. He was invited as a guest by the British Council to attend the prestigious Edinburgh Festival. Apart from being the artistic director of Abhinaya Theatre Research Centre, he also works as an instructor for numerous courses on theatre jointly conducted by Abhinaya and various governmental and non-governmental organizations. Along almost these twenty five years, Abhinaya could identify and bring forth many talents who went on to become the fiber of life of theatre arena of the nation.
Kapila Venu, Director of Natanakairali is a well-trained practitioner of Kutiyattam, which is selected by UNESCO as an “oral and intangible heritage of humanity”. She started her training at the tender age of seven under the legendary master (late) Guru Ammannur Madhava Chakyar. Coming from a family of artists and performers, she also trained under her parents, Sri Gopal Venu & Smt Nirmala Paniker; Smt Usha Nangiar and Sri Kitangur Rama Chakyar.

Her repertoire comprises both traditional performances and experimental works. She has traveled both as a solo artiste and together with the Kutiyattam ensemble (Natanakairali & Ammannur Chachu Chakyar Smaraka Gurukulam) performing in venues within India and abroad. She has performed for SPIC MACAY; Shizuoka Performing Arts Centre, Japan; Museum Rietberg, Zurich, has participated in ‘The World Theatre Project’, and attended workshops, training and dancing in choreographies of avant garde dancer/farmer Min Tanaka from Japan.

A recipient of several prestigious awards, she is a visiting faculty member teaching Kutiyattam at TTRP, Singapore and National School of Drama, Delhi. Kapila is a member of the Abhinayakkalari actors’ laboratory where she has participated in training workshops in Hasta and Netra abhinaya, martial arts, Yoga etc.

She played the lead role ‘Shakuntala’ in Abhijnana Sakuntalam Kutiyattam directed by Sri Gopal Venu, the 9-hour version of which was performed in important international venues including Rome, Tokyo and Salle Pleyel in Paris.


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