When Malayalam cinema observed the 101st birth anniversary of its legendary hero Sathyan on Saturday, Asha Jeevan Sathyan celebrated the legacy of her grandfather, whom she has never seen.
Ace actor Sathyan’s only granddaughter has been quite busy over the past week organising the annual Sathyan Foundation award function held at Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday. Even amid the busy schedule, Asha found time for dancing, singing, radio presentation, dubbing and news reading.
Asha, daughter of Sathyan’s youngest son Jeevan Sathyan, is considered a talented artiste in her own right, but the magnitude of being identified as the granddaughter of Sathyan is immeasurable, which always brings her more pride and pleasure.
Asha started learning kathakali, bharatanatyam, mohiniyattam, kuchipudi, keralanadanam, kathak and ottan thullal at a very young age. “My guru in kathak is Rajendra Gangani. I also hold a diploma in bharatanatyam from Chennai. Regatta Girija is my mentor in bharatanatyam, mohiniyattam, kuchipudi and keralanadanam,” says Asha.
“To be identified as the granddaughter of a legend like grandpa is a huge responsibility for an artiste like me. Whenever I perform in public, whether it is dance or music, people expect the versatility in performance from a beginner like me which they had enjoyed from their favourite actor,” she says.
“I have a sincere passion for music and it is the only reason which persuaded me to follow the aim to gain a PhD in music since my fifth standard. I am realising my dream now. I did my graduation and post-graduation in music from the Department of Music of Kerala University. Now I am pursuing my doctorate in ‘padas’ of the character Panchali in Kathakali,” says Asha. She is also an MBA holder in HR from Pondicherry. Asha presently serves as director to the Academy of Music under Sathyan Foundation and also as vice chairperson of Sathyan Foundation.
How and why Sathyan’s three sons - Prakash, Satheesh and Jeevan - went on to form the Foundation in the name of their actor father also makes an interesting story. Asha recollects an incident where an organisation in the name of her grandfather asking Sathyan’s elder son to wait for his turn to get a membership.
“Such bitter experiences persuaded them to start the Sathyan Foundation. I still feel the power and grace of the actor Sathyan wherever I go. This makes me feel sometimes that if he were alive, that grace and feel of pride would have been doubled,” she says.