Bengaluru, India (BBN)-A video of 92-year-old Bhanumathi Rao performing the Bharatanatya has become an internet sensation after being uploaded a month ago.
The graceful silver-haired lady’s classical dance dumber ‘Krishna Nee Begane Baro’ has got over 6 lakh views on social networking and video sharing sites, reports The Hindu.
The ‘young-and-spirited’ lady danced for the Abhinaya Group at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in Bengaluru on December 5, a day after she turned 92.
“Dance is a wonderful form of artistic expression where the body and song are in sync. I have always been passionate about sharing my art with others,” she says.
Age has affected her hearing, and her memory often fails her, but dance remains a vital part of her life.
Her undaunted spirit and energy eclipses all else.
Speaking from her daughter Tara Rao’s residence at Cooke Town, she says, “I live and breathe through my dance and my life is expressed through this wonderful art.”
Watching her emotive call for the Lord in her video, her grace and expressive abhinaya stand out.
“Apart from many others, she learnt from Kittappa Pillai when she was one of his students along with Yamini Krishnamurthy,” recalls her second daughter Maya Krishna Rao, a theatre personality and dancer in New Delhi.
Born in 1923 in Kozhikode, Bhanumathi is said to have ‘informed her father’ that she wanted to go to London to study.
At 22, she boarded a ship to the UK where she studied library science and became a member of choreographer-and-dancer Ram Gopal’s prestigious troupe that blended classical Indian dance with ballet.
“Awestruck by my mother’s dance, my father Krishna Rao, an international law expert, is said to have chased her happily into marriage. He later received an offer at the UN and they settled down in New York,” says Maya.
In New York, Bhanumathi performed solo and taught Americans Indian classical dance forms.
In 1959, then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru offered Krishna Rao a position at the Legal and Treaties Division, Ministry of External Affairs.
She got into Malayalam theatre and was a popular personality during the 1960s.
“My mother was associated with the All India Women’s Conference, translated books on the Bhagavad Gita for children and is a painter,” says Maya.
But above all, it is dance that is dear to Bhanumathi’s heart.