Category Archives: Arts, Culture & Entertainment

Kairavi waltzes her way to World Roller Games

Roller skater Kairavi Falguni Thakkar in action. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangements

First girl in Telangana to compete at the global level

Kairavi Falguni Thakkar has made it to the World Roller Games to be held at Nanjing in China from August 25 to September 10. The first year BA student of St. Francis College, Begumpet, would be the first girl from Telangana to compete at such a global level and in the junior (under 19 years) solo dance event.

Currently in the Indian camp at the National College indoor stadium at Tiruchi in Tamil Nadu, she braved ups and downs before choosing to climb rather than sink in despair. “My lecturer-mother Falguni Thakkar is my backbone from whom I’ve inherited the ultimate attitude — never give up,” she told The Hindu.

The 18-year-old is quick to point out the other pillars of support — siblings Anup Kumar Yama (an Arjuna awardee) and Amar Nag Yama. “I idolise my coaches, who have inspired me to scale new heights,” says Kairavi.

Stepping into a rink for the first time when just eight years old, she has evolved into an artistic roller skater. Ask her why not tennis or badminton and Kairavi turns eloquent spokesperson for her passion.

“A skater should ideally have the strength of a tennis player, the balance of a tight rope walker, the endurance of a marathon runner, the precision of a badminton player, the agility of a gymnast, the cool nerve of a golfer, the grace and poise of a dancer,” she reckons.

“It involves dance, jumps and spins as in ice skating, but on roller skates,” she stresses. Yet in the not too distant past, the gritty lass was skating on thin ice. With a dash of daring, she jetted off to Portugal in March for training with Filipe Sereno, just before her 12th board exams!

Kairavi’s cupboard is crammed with medals from district, State and national-level competitions in freestyle, figure and solo dance skating. Going by her confidence level, her first international medal could well come from China.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Telangana / by A. Jospeh Anthony / Hyderabad – June 18th, 2017

Indian dancer performs 7 times at British Parliament

Promoting Indian art: Ragasudha Vinjamuri performing during International Women’s Day at the House of Commons.

London-based Hyderabadi, Ragasudha Vinjamuri has created a new record of presenting Indian classical dance at the Houses of British Parliament seven times.

Ms. Vinjamuri, academic tutor at University of Sunderland, has been performing and promoting classical and folk dances of India, besides her professional engagement with the university education. She moved to Britain 12 years ago.

A known name in the art and culture scene in the U.K., Ms. Vinjamuri presented classical dance on various subjects including Music Therapy, Ayurveda, Ahimsa and women empowerment. Her work is applauded by people from various walks of life, from community leaders to parliamentarians.

Recipient of several accolades, she was recently short listed for the prestigious Asian Women Achievers awards under Art and Culture category. She was trained by her Guru, Uma Rama Rao in Hyderabad, according to a press release.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by Special Correspondent / Hyderabad – May 26th, 2017

All roads lead to Kondagattu shrine

Devotees make a beeline to the temple on the occasion of Hanuman Jayanti

All roads leading to the historic Sri Anjaneya Swamy devasthanam in Kondagattu in Jagital turned saffron on Friday, with devotees making a beeline to the temple shrine ahead of Hanuman Jayanti on May 21.

Devotees started pouring in from various parts of the State as temple authorities launched the celebrations by conducting ‘homam,’ which would continue till Sunday. Predicting heavy rush on Sunday, many devotees were seen offering prayers at the temple shrine on Friday. Several Hanuman devotees wearing a mala were seen walking to the temple barefoot in the scorching heat as part of a ritual.

Temporary shelters

Devasthanam authorities, in coordination with the district administration and the police, made elaborate arrangements for the same. Temporary shelters were erected to protect the devotees from the sweltering heat. More than 750 police personnel were roped in for bandobust.

To avoid road mishaps, the police have decided to regulate traffic on the ghat road by restricting the entry of vehicles.

Parking spaces would be designated on the foothill of the shrine on the JNTU college road, Jagtial, and Karimnagar roads.

The police also installed 52 closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras to keep vigil.

The temple authorities expect four lakh pilgrims to visit the temple on Hanuman Jayanti.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Telangana / by K.M. Dayashankar / Jagtial – May 19th, 2017

Adilabad remembers Samala Sadasiva

Sahitya Akademi award winner, Sadasiva’s 89th birth anniversary is celebrated on May 11.

Samala Sadasiva.

Adilabad:

Erstwhile Adilabad district, the heartland of Adivasis, has not only produced tribal legend Kumram Bheem, but eminent literary personalities. Kendra Sahitya Akademi award winner Samala Sadasiva, poet Vanamamalai Varadacharyulu of yesteryears, and poet and lyricist Guda Anjaiah are a few to name. Sadasiva’s 89th birth anniversary is celebrated on May 11.

A native of Tenugupalle in Dahegoan mandal of present Kumram Bheem Asifabad district, Sadasiva was a teacher by profession. He was born on May 11 in 1928. He passed away on August 7 in 2012. He had ventured into literature field in 1950 when he was barely 20. Also, he had excelled in music and translation. His work titled ‘Swara Layalu’, on Hindustani music, fetched him Sahitya Akademi award for the year 2011.

Dr Udari Narayana, a senior writer of Adilabad, told ‘Telangana Today’ that Sadasiva was a confluence of both literature and music. The octogenarian had rendered matchless services to the two fields for a period of over 60 years. He had introduced nuances of Marathi, Urdu and Persia for Telugu readers by recreating several classical texts of these languages.

“Sadasiva had meticulously studied both ancient and modern Telugu literature. He had produced extraordinary works in this language. He was an eminent critic, linguist and translator. His book Yaadi, on literature and literary personalities of Telangana, is a reference to writers and poets belonging to this region. He had inspired many to venture into the field of literature,” Narayana remarked.

Importantly, the multi-faceted writer had played a vital role in the inclusion of a lesson on Kumram Bheem in school textbooks in 1972. He was awarded honorary doctorates by Potti Sreeramulu Telugu University, Hyderabad and Kakatiya University, Warangal, for his unparallel contributions to Telugu language and literature. He was awarded Prathibha Rajiv Purashkaram by State government in 2005.

Some of creative works of this versatile teacher are Prabhatam (1949), Sambasiva Satakam (1950), Nireekshanam (1952), Viswamitram and Sakhinama, all of which are now collected in an anthology entitled Sadasiva Kavyasudha (2002), novels: Apashriti (1952), historiography — Urdu Sahitya Charitra (1963) and Parsi Kavula Prasakti (1975), biography — Mirza Ghalib (1969), translations: Amjad Rubayeelu (1963), Moulana Rumee Masnavi (1967), Kesava Sut (1970), Hindustani music: Malaya Marutalu (2001), Sangeeta Sikharalu (2006), and memoirs (Yaadi, 2005).

source: http://www.telanganatoday.com / Telangana Today / Home> Telangana> Adilabad / by Padala Santosh / May 10th, 2017

Haimendorf’s hilltop haven in Adilabad


Pirengan Patar, a plateau in Telangana, keeps alive the memory of a legendary ethnographer.

Every now and then, Atram Bheem Rao, inheritor of the Gond Raja of Kanchanpalli title, remembers Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf and his contributions to improving the lives of the Raj Gond and other Adivasi tribes of the Adilabad region. When he does, he visits a 250-metre high hill near his village, atop which is a small platform made of stones, to pay his respects to the memory of the legendary Austrian ethnographer.

Prof. Haimendorf started his work in India in what is now Nagaland. During World War II, as a citizen of the Third Reich, he was detained by the British in India. He was confined to what was then Hyderabad state, but was later allowed to live among the tribal peoples of present-day Telangana and do fieldwork.

A deep connection

In 1942, Prof. Haimendorf and his wife Betty Barnado, also a noted ethnographer, first came to Kanchanpalli, in Sirpur mandal, seeking help from Mr. Rao’s grandfather — who was also named Bheem Rao — for their work. The local people could not pronounce the Austrian’s name, Mr. Rao says, so they called him ‘Pirengan,’ which is derived from the Hindustani firangi, foreigner.

At the end of the war, the Nizam’s government appointed Prof. Haimendorf Advisor for Tribes and Backward Classes. During his tenure, he set up educational and other schemes for tribal peoples and taught at Osmania University.

The professor and his wife did path-breaking work in the Northeast, and in Nepal, where he was the first foreigner to document indigenous cultures. He also taught at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. Through all this, over forty years, the couple often came back to the Adilabad area to do more research.

“The Haimendorfs avoided this place during summer, but used to come here frequently during winters all through the late 1970s until their death,” Mr. Rao says. “They had an elevated platform made, for them to relax in the winter sun and take in nature’s spread from the hilltop.” From this vantage point, one can see the Godavari flowing in the distance, and the villages in the valley below.

The plateau is known locally as Pirengan Patar, in their honour. Mr. Rao told The Hindu that the platform would have been destroyed had the government gone ahead with its plan to build a wireless repeater station on it in the 1990s. But the fear of Naxalites damaging it had led to a change of plan.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Telangana / by S. Harpal Sigh / Kanchanpalli – May 05th, 2017

Moving to Hyderabad got me out of the shadow of Raja and Radha Reddy

She may be the daughter of the Kuchipudi greats Raja and Radha Reddy, but over the years, she has proved to be more than just that. Yamini Reddy has carved a niche not only as a performer, but also as an able guru having honed many young dancers since the time she moved to Hyderabad — a decade ago.

It was marriage that got her out of Delhi, where her parents live. And today, when she sits down to reminisce, that shift seems to have been just what she needed to grow as an individual. “When I look back today, I am glad I got out of Delhi. It came as an opportunity to move out of my parents’ shadows and do something on my own. I feel, in Delhi I would have always been under the shadow of Raja-Radha Reddy,” says the 35-year-old dancer as she settles down for a chat with Hyderabad Times about her childhood in Delhi, growing up with two mothers (Raja Reddy is married to Radha and Kausalya), sibling rivalry with her dancer-musician sister Bhavana, marriage, motherhood and more.

Excerpts:
For the rest of the world, Raja-Radha Reddy are legends. At home, they were parents

While growing up in Delhi, it didn’t really occur to me that my parents are these great Kuchipudi exponents whom everybody looks up to. They were performers, who travelled the world to popularise Kuchipudi. Their days began and ended with dance… I vividly remember, there were days when they would forget to pick me up from school (laughs). I’d wait and eventually my patience would run out and I would go to the school’s office to call home. I’d say, ‘Dad, you forgot to pick me up again’, and then he would hurriedly assure, ‘No no, I am coming, I am coming.’

They also went on long foreign tours; sometimes for two to three months at a stretch. So by the time I was in 4th or 5th grade, I was pretty independent. I learned to be responsible from an early age.

Only after I handed my mom my MBA did she let me pursue dance as a profession

I was always passionate about dance even when I was a toddler. But when I told my parents that I want to take up dance professionally, they flatly said, ‘No’.

It was my mother who put her foot down. She said, ‘You have to study. We don’t want you to pursue dance solely as it’s a long and hard struggle. We have been through it…’

I realised that my mom wanted me to finish my education. So to please her, I did my BCom from Lady Shri Ram College before doing MBA and went to her with the certificate. She said, ‘Good, now look for a job’. That was when I insisted that I want to dance.

My dad wouldn’t allow me to do a rangapravesham till I was 20

My dad is a very loving and doting father. But as a guru, discipline was his priority.

He wouldn’t let me do my rangapravesham till I was 20. ‘You are not ready’ is all he would tell me. It was in 2002, when I was prepping for my rangapravesham that I saw how he grilled his disciples. I used to hear such awful things from my father that it sometimes used to bring me to tears.

All issues we had in the classroom were rarely left behind there; they used to spill over to the dinner table. We carried them home, and we bickered over dinner. Sometimes, dinner would go on for two hours. And our house helps would sit and wait for us to finish, so that they can clean up and go home.

Two mothers meant double the love and double the discipline

Of course, we faced a lot of strange questions from our peers at school or college about us having two mothers. They would ask us questions like, ‘So all of you live under one roof?’ But, for us, it seemed all so natural. We were one unit as a family and there was no differentiation between the children either.

But growing up with two mothers means double the love and double the criticism. If you do something wrong, you’ll have to hear about it four times, instead of two times. But amma and Kausalya mummy have completely different world views. So, that kind of made things interesting. And dad was always a refuge. When both moms were after us, we ran to him (laughs).

I was an awkward teen

I was this awkward teenager, a plump tomboy, who walked with a hunch. If you had seen me back then, you wouldn’t believe that I was training to be a dancer (laughs). But I was blind to all these things — I saw only dance. So, I put in a lot of conscious effort to get to where I am today, from losing weight to correcting my posture. Bhavana, on the other hand, was one of those children who is extremely talented. She was also dainty, pretty and feminine.

Dance came naturally to me. music was Bhavana’s forte

Both of us had to learn dance and music. But between me and Bhavana, she was a natural with music. She started singing at a very young age and went on to learn the violin too. I struggled with singing. And it was very annoying to be in the same class as your sister, who was eight-years younger, acing it. When teacher would say ‘Paadandamma padandi’, Bhavana would effortlessly go ‘Saregamapadanisa’ and I went ‘Saaaaa, reeee, gg-gggaa’.

But today, as artistes we are very different. Someone aptly said, ‘Ek drupad hai, aur dusri thumri hai’. So there is really no competition between us.

Marriage brought me to Hyderabad

I got married and I landed in Habsiguda in 2006. It was a drastic change for me. The first few months, I just stayed at home and practised dance. My husband (Srinivas) and his cousins were great when it came to introducing me to the city. But I still remember the first few months being a bit lonely and very silent. It was in 2007, when I started my classes, that I found a new lease of life… a purpose in teaching Kuchipudi.

Motherhood changed me as a dancer

Motherhood is this great responsibility that is thrust on you. When I got married, I used to wake up late, which was a shock for a family of early raisers. I would wake up at 9 am and come down rubbing my eyes to hear husband’s jokes, like: ‘My morning is Yamini’s midnight’

After motherhood, you have no excuse or choice. You have to wake up early and get cracking. The realisation that there is a life that relies on you opens up new dimensions that you did not know existed. You don’t know how much you can stretch yourself till motherhood hits you. When I look back now, I find it funny that I would get anxious for not having my 8-hours of sleep before a show. Now, I’ve the capacity to have a 30-hour day (laughs). Motherhood also changed me as a dancer. My experiences as a mother reflect in how I interpret subjects now.

source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Hyderabad News / by Samyuktha K / May 03rd, 2017

12-minute film documents OU’s growth since inception

A glimpse: Students and faculty members of Department of Communication and Journalism releasing the film at Osmania University on Sunday.

To be screened prior to the inaugural of centenary fete

Showcasing Osmania University’s growth since its inception, the Department of Communication and Journalism has released a 12-minute promotional film that is all set to capture the hearts of the Osmanians.

The film will be screened prior to the inaugural of centenary celebrations by President Pranab Mukherjee on April 26. Later, the film will be posted on the university website to reach out to Osmanians across the world.

K. Stevenson, head of Department of Communication and Journalism, said the film traces the university’s growth from its inception to its present status, giving an overview of the faculty, various departments and the courses offered.

The state-of-the-art research labs and infrastructure are documented in the film, which also gives a glimpse of various facilities such as library, playground and gymnasium available for students. The university’s iconic Arts College building is beautifully captured in overhead drone shots. Rare vintage photographs of OU in its initial days are also a part of the film.

Students of first year Master’s course shot the film for two weeks and covered various institutions across the campus while research scholars did the background research. Post-production work was carried out in the studios of the department.

Prof. Stevenson said the visuals of the OU student populace, with a large number of foreign students, are an indication of the cultural diversity that exists on the campus.

The film was conceptualised in the context of aggressive competition in the education sector which made marketing and positioning the university imperative. Further, the film is expected to help in branding the Osmania University, he added.

Special mention is made of the meritorious alumni such as former Prime Minister of India, P.V. Narasimha Rao; India’s first astronaut Rakesh Sharma; celebrated film director Shyam Benegal and Padma Shri and Ramon Magsaysay awardee Shantha Sinha.

The film is a collective effort of the faculty, students and research scholars of the department, which has produced stalwarts in journalism with most of them serving in various capacities in media in India and abroad. The department was founded by an American, DeForest O’Dell, in 1954. He graduated from Butler University and went on to head its journalism department. Later, he earned a Master’s degree and Ph.D from Columbia University, recalls Dasu Kesava Rao, a student of the 1970-71 batch and who later retired as the Bureau Chief of The Hindu in Hyderabad.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by R. Ravikanth Reddy / Hyderabad – April 23rd, 2017

Mission Kakatiya awards for 2016 announced

The Hindu Warangal Reporter wins second prize in print media category

The State Government on Monday announced the Mission Kakatiya media awards for 2016 with G. Krishna of Namasthe Telangana, a Telugu daily newspaper, selected for the first prize in print media category that includes Rs.1,00,000 cash and a memento.

The committee headed by Press Academy Chairman Allam Narayana and comprising Resident Editor of The Hindu Chintala Prashanth Reddy and Editor of Namasthe Telangana Katta Shekhar Reddy completed the process selecting mediapersons for awards after examining the entries received in various categories.

The theme for entries this year was impact of Mission Kakatiya on different sections of society, particularly those depending on community-based vocations.

Other winners include Gollapudi Srinivas Rao of The Hindu for second prize and E. Ganganna of Andhra Jyoti for third prize in the print media category comprising the case prizes of Rs.75,000 and Rs.50,000, respectively.

In the electronic media category, G. Buchhanna of V6, M. Mainkeshwar of Etv and B. Shiva Kumar of T News were selected for the first three prizes. Special category awards comprising Rs.1,00,000 cash prize each were given to K. Ramachandra Reddy and T. Anjaiah.

Jury special awards comprising Rs.25,000 cash prize each were given to D. Suryakumar and S. Bhatla Narasiah, both of Telangana magazine, S. Rajasekhara Reddy of Sakshi and B. Rajender of Eenadu in the print category and D. Ramesh of TV9 and B. Narender of TV5 in the electronic media category.

Special category (consolation) award comprising Rs.10,000 cash prize was given to Tejaswini, a student of RGUKT at Basar.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by Special Correspondent / Hyderabad – February 27th, 2017

Tollywood producer K C Shekhar Babu passes away

K C Shekhar Babu

Hyderabad :

Well-known producer K C Shekhar Babu passed away here on Saturday. He was 69. He died of a heart attack at his residence at Journalists Colony.

Among the films that Shekhar Babu made include ‘Mutha Mestri’ in which Chiranjeevi played lead role. Beginning with “Mamatha” for which he penned the story and produced, Shekhar Babu who hailed from Krishna district made several films.

He was also active in the Telugu Film Chamber of Commerce and Telugu Film Producers Council. Shekhar Babu’s father was a film distributor.

The films that Shekhar Babu made include ‘Gopalaraogaru Ammayi’, ‘Samsara Bandham’, ‘Sardar’ and ‘Subbaraogari Kutumbam.’ The Telugu film industry condoled the death of Shekhar Babu.

TDP MP and former president of Movie Artistes Association M Murali Mohan while condoling the death of Shekhar Babu recalled his 40year-long association with him. “I have been associated with Shekhar Babu from the beginning of my career. We shared a good bond,” actor Chiranjeevi said.

source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Hyderabad News / TNN / February 26th, 2017

When I moved to Hyderabad, I was just a palleturu abbai who knew nothing about art…

At 75, Thota Vaikuntam is as bright and vibrant as his muses on display at the ongoing retrospective show at the State Gallery of Art. He is quick to smile, happy to accommodate and more than glad to guide. “Apatti gnyapakaalanni vasthunaay” (“All those memories are rushing back to me”), he says when asked to share his thoughts about being amidst a collection of his art works dating back over four decades.

Evidently under the spell of nostalgia, Vaikuntam takes a trip down the memory lane going back to the time when he first landed in Hyderabad in the late sixties to pursue his dream of becoming an artist. How a simple village boy Burugupalli, Karimnagar, ended up becoming one of the one of the most revered artists of Telangana sure makes for an inspiring story. Excerpt from a heart-to-heart with the master painter…

I did sketch, but I did not know that it was called ‘sketching’

Of course, there were questions raised about my choice of going into art. My nangaaru was a businessman, and he did not quite understand my decision to not continue doing something that was profitable. Kaani, nenu Hyderabad ravadaniki art karanam. I wanted to spend my life doing art and nothing else and I was sure of that. When I landed in Hyderabad, however, I did not even know what art meant. Nenu okka palleturu abbai, art antey ento telavadu naaku. I did sketch, but I did not know that it was called sketching (laughs).

I remember the minute I landed here, nenu hostel lo digina. Then I met seniors, including the likes of Laxma (Goud) and (Surya) Prakash, at the College of Fine Arts were so knowledgeable. I was so fascinated listening to people discuss all these “isms” and schools of thoughts that inspired art movements around the world. There was something about those discussions that made me feel proud that a human being could transcend personal limitations and have so many different perspectives in life.

I would just sit and listen to all of them. Of course, there were times when I was mocked: “Neekemi artham avthundi ra?”. (laughs) But that did not stop me from being part of the discussions.

Discussions led to my evolution

I believe those discussions were very, very important in shaping who I am and my art. By the time I had lived six to eight months in the city, I had a fair amount of knowledge about the world of art. Back then art movements in Europe was like a yardstick. So I sat through discussions of Rembrant, Renoir, Cubism of Picasso and more.
Even today, I think that the atmosphere where discussions on art and life are very crucial for the evolution of a cultured society.

Back in the day, we would earn 50 rupees for a painting and that called for a celebration

Kaani appudu (late 1970s) market was very dry. There were times when we had exhibitions, that were held mostly by the government, where we would go and sell our paintings for as less as `100 to `50. Anything beyond that price would mean that noone would buy art.

But the day we sold one canvas, was a day of celebration. Ma santhoshaniki mithi undedi kaadu. All the friends would come together and enjoy so much, you know (laughs).

But it’s not like we looked forward to go buy things or watch movies, it was just like any other day, it was about art and conversations about art. But that one sale made us speak louder and delve deeper into art. The days were like that, back then, life was all about simple pleasures.

Evolution is a continuous process

Now when I look back, the starting point of my journey was curiosity, which led to learning and understanding. Only after that, comes the personal channeling of this understanding and expression. And through all these years, the one thing I know is that you need to keep at it. You need to continue working with your art. Even today when I wake up, the first thing I do is sketch something. If you see, all those artists who continued to work through the years are the ones who are recognised and respected today.

No one can escape economy, we just need to learn to live with it

Of course, the buzz words today are market and marketing. It wasn’t like that back then. Today the number of private art galleries have gone up, art collectors have increased, and so have the number of artists. Then there is this robust environment of promoters, critics, art writers and more. While that is good and even necessary for art and artists to flourish, there is a flipside to it. Art, much like everything else, has become an investment today. Everything is an investment today — gold, land, art, everything. That’s just the way it is.

Earlier, someone earned respect and repute over his/her mastery over an artform, be it music for the musicians, words for the writers and art for the artists. But today, the key seems to be ‘marketing’.

But don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining. I think the point is to live with it… this, the present. Noone can escape economy and live. The best thing to do is find the best way to live in and with all the conditions that we have today.

source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Hyderabad News / by Samyuktha K / February 22nd, 2017