NEW DELHI, December 24 (MIC): World-renowned theatre director Ratan Thiyam from Manipur was among three eminent personalities elected in the field of performing arts as Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellows for the year 2012.
Writer, director, designer, musician, painter and actor, Ratan Thiyam is one of the most important and influential theater makers at work in the international performance scene. A son of Manipuri dance masters, for a time, Thiyam studied painting before turning to writing. He published his first of six novels in 1961 at the age of 22, wrote poetry and reviews. Writing led him to theater. In 1971, he enrolled at the National School of Drama in Delhi, gaining a reputation as a powerful actor and director. In 1976, he returned to Manipur and founded Chorus Repertory Theatre. He was also briefly the director of National Scholl of Drama, New Delhi in 1987–88. His plays have traveled, from Aryan Theater, GM Hall, Jawaharlal Nehru Dance Academy (JNMDA) in Manipur to the Shriram Center for Arts, New Delhi and the group’s first overseas break was their trip with Chakravyuh to Greece in 1984. His plays have travelled throughout the world, fascinating audiences with their grace and a spectacular style drawn from Manipuri performing arts like Thang-Ta (a Manipuri martial art) and Nata Sankirtana (a classical dance and music form) into his works, which through subversion and reversion, get assimilated into his own distinct form. He was honored with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1987 and the Padma Shri in 1989. His play Chakravyuh got the prestigious “Fringe Firsts Award,” from Edinburgh International Theatre Festival in 1987. He was the second Indian recipient of John D. Rockefeller Award after Kapila Vatsayan, which is presented yearly by the Trustees of the Asian Cultural Council to an individual from Asia or the United States, who has made a significant contribution to the international understanding, practice, or study of the visual or performing arts of Asia.
The General Council of Sangeet Natak Akademi, the National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama, New Delhi at its meeting held on Friday elected three eminent personalities in the field of performing arts, namely N. Rajam, T.H. Vinayakram and Ratan Thiyam as Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellows (Akademi Ratna). The Fellowship of the Akademi is the most prestigious and rare honour, which is restricted to a very limited number at a given time. Presently there are only 40 Fellows of the Sangeet Natak Akademi.
The General Council of the Akademi also selected thirty six (36) persons from the fields of Music, Dance, Theatre and Puppetry for the Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards (Akademi Puraskar) for the year 2012.
In the field of Music, nine eminent artists, namely Rajashekhar Mansur and Ajay Pohankar for Hindustani Vocal Music, Sabir Khan (Tabla) and Bahauddin Dagar (Rudra Veena) for Hindustani Instrumental Music, O.S. Thyagarajan for Carnatic Vocal Music, Mysore M. Nagaraja, (Violin) and K.V. Prasad (Mridangam) for Carnatic Instrumental Music, Illayaraja for Creative & Experimental Music and Bhai Balbir Singh Ragi (Gurbani) for Other Major Traditions of Music have been selected for the Akademi Award 2012.
In the field of Dance, nine eminent practitioners, namely Priyadarsini Govind (Bharatanatyam), Vijay Shankar (Kathak), Vazhengada Vijayan (Kathakali), Vedantam Ramalinga Sastry (Kuchipudi), Sharmila Biswas (Odissi), Jai Narayan Samal (Chhau), Painkulam Damodara Chakyar (Kutiyattam), Jwala Prasad (Music for Dance) and Aditi Mangaldas (Creative & Experimental Dance) have been selected for the Akademi Award 2012.
In the field of Theatre, eight eminent artists have been selected for Akademi Awards 2012. They include Arjun Deo Charan for Playwriting, Tripurari Sharma and Waman Kendre for Direction, Parvesh Sethi, Nirmal Rishi and Purisai Kannappa Sambandan for Acting, Murari Roychoudhury for Theatre Music and Ghulam Rasool Bhagat for Major Traditions of Theatre (Bhand Pather).
For their contribution to Other Traditional/Folk/ Tribal Music/ Dance/ Theatre and Puppetry, eight artists have been selected for the Akademi Award. They are Goru Channabasappa for Folk Music (Karnataka), Kinaram Nath Oja for Suknani Ojapali (Assam), Prem Singh Dehati for Folk Theatre (Haryana), Sulochana Chavan for Lavani (Maharashtra), Mattannur Sankaran Kutty Marar for Thayambaka (Kerala), Govind Ram Nirmalkar for Nacha (Chhattisgarh), Heera Das Negi for Mask Making (Himachal Pradesh) and Prafulla Karmakar for Traditional Puppetry (West Bengal).
Nandini Ramani and Arun Kakade will receive the Akademi Award 2012 for Overall Contribution/Scholarship in Performing Arts.
The honour of Akademi Fellow has been conferred since 1954 and Akademi Award since 1952. The honour of Akademi Fellow carries purse money of Rupees three lakhs and Akademi Awards carry Rupees one lakh, besides Tamrapatra and Angavastram.
This year, no one from Manipur has been selected for Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards, though Manipur has been proud of its Manipuri Dance and other performing arts.