As the final hereditary dancer connected to Kapaleeswarar temple, Gowri Ammal’s dwelling in Mylapore ought to be restored and preserved
Gowri Ammal, one of the well-known Bharatanatyam dancers of the Twentieth century, got here from a household of hereditary temple dancers. She was the final to be connected to the Kapaleeswarar temple in Chennai’s Mylapore space. An abhinaya knowledgeable, Gowri Ammal holds a particular place within the fashionable historical past of Bharatanatyam, because it was she who taught later stalwarts resembling Balasaraswathi and Rukmini Devi Arundale.
Gowri Ammal used to reside in a tiled-roof home given to her by the Kapaleeswarar temple, till she was disenfranchised by the brand new regulation banning temple dance, a invoice launched by Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy. Gowri Ammal misplaced her patronage and home, and went on to outlive by educating dance. It is believed that when Gowri Ammal died, Rukmini Devi needed to come ahead to pay for her final rites.
Gowri Ammal’s home nonetheless stands, locked up and in disrepair, with a black granite plaque figuring out it as belonging to the Kapaleeswarar temple.
As a researcher and senior Bharatanatyam artiste, I’m positive I converse for the dance fraternity the world over once I attraction to the authorities to revive Gowri Ammal’s home and switch it right into a monument, with pictures and different memorabilia of early Twentieth-century dancers. This mini-museum will probably be of nice curiosity to any customer who loves historical past and dance. Young dancers throughout the globe could be proud to commemorate an excellent artiste moreover studying about this side of the heritage of Bharatanatyam and Mylapore.
But what makes Gowri Ammal so distinctive? She belonged to an extended lineage of hereditary temple dancers. Her mom Doraikannu Ammal who preceded her on the Mylapore temple was a legendary dancer recognized for her abilities and persona. It is chronicled that she was an artiste of such excessive calibre that she was requested to carry out solely on particular events within the temple. One such was the ninth day of the Brahmotsavam, when Kapali is taken out in a procession as Bikshatanar. Doraikannu would enact the parable of Shiva as a mendicant within the Darukavana forest, with telling actions and gestures, in the course of the course of the procession. People would come from throughout to see her dance.
Lakshmi Viswanathan Outside The House In Mylapore Where Lakshmi Ammal Used To Live
Just like Doraikkannu, Gowri Ammal additionally emerged as an icon of Mylapore. She taught my sister, Baby Saroja, the Tamil model of ‘Krishna nee begane baro’. My mom rendered it in its unique tune for the movie Tyaga Bhoomi, based mostly on Kalki’s story, directed by my uncle Okay. Subrahmanyam. Gowri Ammal’s clear and unfussy abhinaya might be seen on this 1939 movie, archived for future dancers.
In 1932, Gowri Ammal danced on the Music Academy, when E. Krishna Iyer took some effort to recognise Bharatanatyam as an artwork worthy of assist and to not be dismissed as a part of the social reform motion. Whenever Gowri Ammal carried out, she was supported by genuine singers of padams and javalis. These singers included the daughters of the famend Veena Dhanammal, whose granddaughter Balasaraswathi learnt from Gowri her inimitable abhinaya items.
Gowri Ammal’s final public efficiency was on the silver jubilee operate of the Indian National Congress in 1935. Later, the Music Academy in Madras in addition to the nationwide Sangeet Natak Akademi honoured Gowri with awards. Coming late in her dancing life, these didn’t make a lot of a dent in her fading profession within the rising state of affairs of the regulation in opposition to dance. As a mark of respect to an excellent artiste who devoted her total life to bounce and educated many stalwarts, and to protect additionally the heritage of Mylapore, dedicated artistes and artwork patrons on this metropolis ought to attraction for a small monument to Gowri Ammal, a gesture she actually deserves.