For the first time since 1976, Suhasini gave a Bharatanatyam performance at the 70th year platinum jubilee event, on Sunday.
“I was 13 or 14 when I was brought from Paramakudi to Chennai by my uncle Kamal Haasan, and I lived under the care of my uncle and my grandparents. A couple of months later, I was made to learn Bharatanatyam from the late KJ Sarasa. I won’t say I was a very sincere student — I was more an athlete than a dancer — but my teacher was very strict and she made sure I learnt some four-five items. At the time, my grandmother was very ill, and she wished to see me perform. So, instead of an arangetram, arrangements were made for a performance at our Eldams Road home (which is now Kamal Haasan’s office) itself, with about a 100 guests invited. Since then, until this Sunday, I had not performed,” states Suhasini.
It was danseuse Gopika Varma who suggested she perform again. “We do this dance show Anataram, but in that I do only the acting part. So, she wanted me to perform pure Bharatanayam,” informs the actress, who prepared for 12 days for her performance. Shanmugasundaram, one of the main students of KJ Sarasa, choreographed the piece.
The best part is that the makeup for the actress was done by the same makeup man who had done her makeup 43 years ago. “His name is Sethumadhavan, and he is an 84-year-old veteran. It was such a coincidence that this happened,” she added.
The audience included noted performers like Padma Subrahmanyam, Lakshmi Viswanathan, and of course, her family, including husband Mani Ratnam. “I did not show him my rehearsal, whereas my parents had seen it and were quite confident. So, he was very scared that I would miss something. He kept saying, ‘There is no Take 2, so I’m very worried for you.’ He was so concerned that way and it was very sweet,” said Suhasini and signed off.
As told to TOI.