Song of Surrender

Monday, 4 September 2017

C.K. Balagopalan

4.9.1939
Birthdays & Anniversaries

The Natyarangam award (see p. 50) could not have gone to a more worthy artist. For decades during the Rukmini Devi era, Balagopalan was one of the star performers at the annual Kalakshetra art festival. From his teen years to age sixty, when he retired, he remained the enthusiastic, devoted dancer, springing with the sprightly vigour that made him an early favourite of the grande dame of that institution. Ascene from Choodamani Pradanam, a Kalakshetra production in the Ramayana series several years ago. A forlorn Seeta is sitting under a tree and bemoaning her fate when Hanuman jumps down from a tree and surprises her into open-mouthed wonder. Even as the audience waits with bated breath, for it knows what power and artistry the dancer playing the monkey-god is capable of, the curtains have to be brought down hurriedly, as he has evidently twisted his ankle rather nastily. It is, indeed, a bad injury and the foot swells like a balloon. A doctor in the audience happens to have just the right medical supplies in hand, and soon C.K. Balagopalan, the veteran dancer playing Hanuman, is administered an injection that numbs the injured area, and he is able to resume dancing as if nothing has happened.

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