HYDERABAD: It was once performed across rural Telangana at all major events and festivities, before slowly fading away. Now, with the efforts of Dr Akula Sridhar, katte samu art form is making a comeback and regaining its lost glory. A native of 8 Incline Colony of Godavarikhani in Peddapalli district, Sridhar completed his MA in folk arts, and later on, pursued MPhil and PhD. Interestingly, he is the first ever individual to do a PhD at Potti Sreeramulu Telugu University on the topic ‘Karra samu pradarshana paddhatulu – vishleshana’ across the Telugu speaking states.
Who can practise it, and what are its benefits? Sridhar tells, “Katte samu is not affiliated to any religion, caste or creed. It is a pure folk art form. Anybody, regardless of their age, gender, religion, or caste is welcome to learn and practice. A person practising this form will be alert at all times, and will have supreme confidence in himself / herself. It results in an increase in memory and concentration, helps a person to stay physically fit, improves hand-eye coordination skills, situational awareness skills, boosts confidence levels and more.”
As they say, some of our most creative years are from our childhood. It was the same with Sridhar. “My father Akula Suraiah was an artiste and a bodybuilder. I was first introduced to katte samu by Kantiposham master when I was studying in Class VI. Since then, I got hooked on to it,” he says. On his life-changing event, Sridhar shares, “In 2013, I was given my first big break by Male Srinivas Reddy, MD of Krishna Sindhuri’s Sankalpa – House of Fine Arts at Kukatpally in the city. In 2017, I gave my first solo performance on katte samu at Ravindra Bharathi. In the same year, I gave a performance along with 50 women at Sankalpa in the city. Observing my skills, Mamidi Harikrishna IAS, director of Department of Language & Culture, Telangana government encouraged me and provided guidance on taking the art form further. I am here today because of them,” he points out.
Recently, on February 21, during Sivaratri celebrations, Sridhar performed the first-ever katte samu dance performance at Sri Raja Rajeshwara temple in Vemulawada. He conducts free training classes at Hyderabad and other districts across Telangana, in places such as Karimnagar, Warangal, Nizamabad, Suryapet, Mahabubabad, etc. Classes would be held for one month, 45 days and three months. The most recent batch had begun on December 20, 2019, and ended on February 13. The next batch would start from April.Sridhar is full of praise for Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, saying, “I appreciate the initiatives being taken by Telangana government in promoting art forms such as perini, oggu dolu, and katte samu.”
The 40-year-old artiste has his goals clearly laid out, and ends on the note, “Today, Yoga is celebrated all over the world. My aim is to take katte samu to similar levels and see that more and more people embrace it as a way of improving fitness and staying healthy.” — Shyam Yadagiri firstname.lastname@example.org @shyamyadagiri