FEBRUARY  2002




FEBRUARY 2002 Contents


 Ageing - breaking mind barriers!

 'My Secret of Longevity' 
 BC Sanyal
 HD Shourie
 Khushwant Singh
 Raunaq Singh
 MS Oberoi

 Ageing & Performing Artists


 New Age Women Writers

 Performing Arts

 The Kuchipudi Reddy Family


 South Asians in News 2001 
 International Recognition and
 National Awards

Magsaysay Awards

Newsmakers & breakers in

Golf, Tennis, Hockey, Squash


 Know Your Leaders
 Arun Jaitley
 Amar Singh
 Abhishek Singhvi
 Omar Abdullah
 Sitaram Yechuri



 Mango - the King of Fruits


 Abdul Sattar Edhi


 Sunita Sharma - India's First  
 Lady Guru of Cricket


 'Knock at Every Alien Door'
 - Serialization of an
 unpublished novel by
 Joseph Harris - Chapter 2


 Vasundhara Das - the bride of
 'Monsoon Wedding' 

 Fashion & Jewellery

 Poonam Soni- new look to gold


 Editor's Note



the craft shop

the print gallery


Silk Road on Wheels

The Road to Freedom

Enduring Spirit

Parsis-Zoroastrians of

The Moonlight Garden

Contemporary Art in Bangladesh




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Nutan Sehgal

Kuchipudi_family_2.jpg (92481 bytes) 
Kaushalya, Yamini, Bhavna, Raja & Radha Reddy.


Raja Reddy and his two wives, Radha and Kaushalya celebrate their silver jubilee in teaching Kuchipudi dance to hundreds of young people.

They make an awesome threesome, bonded together by a common love for classical dance. Raja, Radha and Kaushlya Reddy, the famous trio of Kuchipudi are more than just great dancers, they are torch bearers of a great art form, harbingers of a dying tradition, which a few years ago was confined only to Andhra Pradesh.

Today as they celebrate their silver jubilee of promoting Kuchipudi the three can look back with satisfaction that they have brought the dance form on the cultural map of India. Not just India, Kuchipudi is recognized world over due to the efforts of this unique family. Unique in the sense that both sisters Radha and Kaushlya are married to Raja Reddy.

Apart, from the family ties that these three share, another common factor that binds them together is their devotion and dedication to the classical dance form. Raja Reddy a Padmashree awardee in this art hails from an agricultural background.  A childhood fascination for dance, had him leaving his small village in Andhra Pradesh to learn dance in Hyderabad and finally in Delhi. 

It was dance that brought his child bride, Radha to him, despite initial parental opposition.  And it was dance that united him with Kaushalya, the younger sister of Radha and also his second wife.  Raja Reddy says, "I loved dance, and so did Radha.  It was I who taught her Kuchipudi and soon we were giving performances."  Raja was also Kaushalya's guru, and when guru and shishya wished to marry, Radha gave them her ready blessing. 

Among the Reddy family the harmony is more spontaneous.  Raja laughs, "Kaushalya is the Nattuvangam [conductor] for us when Radha and I perform. And when Kaushalya performs solo on stage I am the Nattuvangam.  Of course I choreograph most of our performances, but tips are always welcome." “ In the Reddy household,” Kaushalya jokes, " We cannot talk to Raja about anything except dance. He doesn’t care about anything else, but Radha and I are like any normal two sisters.”


Complete Family


The Reddys'  two daughters Yamini and Bhavna aged 17 and 9 respectively are already excellent dancers.  In fact the Reddys frequently receive requests for the whole family to be on stage together.  But cautions Kaushalya, " We try not to force them into anything.  They are young and must choose their own course in life.  However both are attracted to dance, and they cannot stay without practicing for a couple of hours a day.  Sometimes they even give suggestions on a particular choreography or action.  But for now we would like them to concentrate on their studies." 

For the last 25 years, since the time they set foot in Delhi, Reddy’s Kuchipudi School of Dance and Music called Natya Taringini has grown in stature, due to the efforts of Raja Reddy and his two wives. From just four students the school now boasts of a strength of 100 students apart from a number of others who have learnt Kuchipudi under their tutelage.

While Raja Reddy teaches them tandava, elements of Kuchipudi dance (strongly masculine movements), Radha and Kaushlya Reddy teach the lasya or the feminine moments, both of which form an integral part of this dance. Being exponents in their respective fields helps them to impart complete training in all finer nuances of Kuchipudi dance which is more a character-based than an event-based dance.

Traditionally performed by males, Kuchipudi has now start attracting women as well. In fact now there are many performances solely by women where they even do the roles of the males. Most of the performances are based on stories from the Pauranas, Mahabharata and other religious epics. Most of the dance stories are told primarily with the help of facial expressions.

And his students have over the years maintained the illustrious name of their Guru.  Shanta Mishra, Ulla Mattusek, and  Prithvi Joshi, have excelled in Kuchipudi - all  belong to well to do families and took up Kuchipudi for the love of the art form and  the name and reputation of the Reddys.

“Students form the core of my teaching, when I teach I have full confidence in them that they will be excellent dancers, sometimes to boost their morale I dance alongside them in concerts”, says Raja Reddy. And it this confidence that has created world famous names in Kuchipudi dancing from the school of the Reddys'.

One of their cherished projects is the work that they do for handicapped children. Recently some of the disabled children taught by them gave a scintillating performance in the presence of the President of India, which received a standing ovation from the dignitaries present at the occasion.

As for the future, the Reddys plan to start a  residential academy for Kuchipudi dance in Delhi’s Saket area where they have been allotted land. The institution would be modelled on the lines of a Gurukul and would even welcome foreign students. The Reddys receive a number of enquiries from abroad and can be credited for spreading the appeal of this complex art form beyond the shores of India.

Apart from imparting training to handicapped children, the Reddys love performing with their students. “ The ultimate compliment for us is when we perform with our students in front of an appreciative audience,” says Raja Reddy who is now planning for the next 25 years  of spreading this unique art form among young people.”



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