Anupama Mohan, a 64-year-old Nellore classical dancer. (File Photo)
Anupama Mohan, a 64-year-old Nellore classical dancer. (File Photo)

Age is just a number for this 64-year-old Kuchipudi patron

Anupama is known for performing the most female roles in Balles created by Satyam after Sobha Naidu.

VIJAYAWADA: Spreading the roots of Andhra origin Kuchipudi dance form, Anupama Mohan, a 64-year-old Nellore classical dancer, has been training more than 2,000 students in Kerala, enriching the aspirations of her guru Padmasri Vempati China Satyam, who dedicated his life teaching Kuchipudi art.

She founded the ‘Satyanjali Academy of Kuchipudi’, the first ever Kuchipudi institute in Kerala, named after her guru. Even though she underwent a surgery on both her knees six months ago, she continues to show her passion and love towards the art form. Anupama, popularly known as Anupama Naidu, shared her experiences with TNIE when she performed Kuchipudi Dance in Vijayawada as part of the Amaravathi Nrutyotsavam 2022 recently.

This Guruvayur Kshetra Kalapuraskar awardee, was born on May 2, 1958, to a businessman Kandikattu Venkaiah Naidu and Vanajakshamma couple of Nellore. Though no one in their family had access to dance, she developed her passion for dance at the age of four. Noticing her talent, her parents took her to Nellore’s famous dance teacher Kota Subrahmanya Shastri.

Anupama, who learned dance from Shastri for four years, was taken to Madras by her parents and enrolled her in Kuchipudi Dance Academy run by Padmasri Dr Vempati Chinna Satyam, a legendry and popular Acharya of Kuchipudi. She became one of Satyam’s best students and performed Nrutya Rupakams (Balles) along with renowned dancers Manju Bhargavi, Shobha Naidu, Hema Malini etc.

Anupama is known for performing the most female roles in Balles created by Satyam after Sobha Naidu. Her name is also popular as Narada for her performance as Narada’s character in Srikrishna Parijatham Balle. She also mesmerized the audience with Eruka’s character in Srinivasa Kalyanam and Anasuya’s character in Sakunthalam along with her thousands of performances.

Silver screen appearance
Not just dance performances, she also portrayed her grace on silver screen by acting in two Telugu movies as a classical dancer, including NTR’s ‘Aradhana’. She then acted as a heroine in three Malyalam movies, where she fell in love with the famous Malyalam Director, Producer, writer and her beloved husband Mohan, who directed more than 25 films. Anupama acted in ‘Rendu Penkuttigal’ (two girls) in his direction. Her snake dance in Kannada movie ‘Sneha Sedu’ was a masterpiece in her film life. She organised hundreds of Nrityotsavams across the globe. She was awarded with many titles and awards, including the Mrinalini Sarabhai award, Yuvanarthaki Puraskar award, Natyavisharada title from Kuchipudi Art Academy, Devadasi Puraskar, and several others.

Speaking to TNIE, Anupama Mohan said “ With my marriage I lost the chance to act key roles in Sankarabharanam in Telugu by Viswanath garu, as well as Irukum Pothu Railu in Tamil by Bharati Raja. Those are things that bother me a bit. With the blessings of all those elders of that time, I kept my love and am still performing dances. The contribution of my husband, his family and now our two sons is unforgettable in my journey as a dancer. I thank my surgeon and Battina Vikram Kumar Goud for their continuous support,” she said.

Anupama underwent knee replacement surgery on June 6, 2022, however, the dancer in her did not rest. On the 28th day after the surgery, Anupama participated in a performance with just gestures. Later, she started her full-fledged performances under the supervision of of Dr Bithin Teruvil.

Anupama’s Husband, a veteran film director Mohan told TNIE “ I was attracted to her inner character and I never saw such a positive mind earlier, she is a good wife, dancer, teacher and mother as well. I respected her condition of letting her continue her passion for dance after marriage. It’s great to witness 7 performances by her after surgery.”

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