“Maestro with a Mission” by Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam introduces the reader to the life and work of this renowned Kuchipudi dancer and choreographer. As the title suggests, Dr. Satyam was a man with a mission: to elevate the status of Kuchipudi from a regional folk dance to a classical dance form.
Maestro with a Mission Summary
Dr. Vempati Chinna Satyam was born to Venkata Chalamaiah and Varalakshmi on 15th, October 1929. He was survived by his wife Swarajya Lakshmi, two sons and three daughters. He faced many hardships in his childhood. He had a strong desire to learn Kuchipudi. Though his teacher ridiculed him, he didn’t lose his interest in Kuchipudi. His passionate dream was to elevate the status of an art form he had learnt from his great gurus. He decided to dedicate his life for the enrichment of that art form. So, he left his house for Madras when he was eighteen. He walked all the way to Madras. On his long way, he fed himself on plantains and water.
The Kuchipudi dance form originated in the village of Kuchipudi. The art was performed at temples at the time of annual festivals and in streets for a long time. Though it was transformed by great gurus like Vedantam Lakshminarayana, Chinta Krishna Murthy, it was not much popular. It was not recognised on a par with other classical dances. Dr. Vempati learnt the difficult aspects of Kuchipudi style from Tadepalli Peraiah Sastry and Vedantam Lakshminarayana Sastry. He wanted to popularize Kuchipudi all over the world. He gained reputation as a dance director in Telugu film industry by composing the dance sequences in the films “Narthanasala”, “Devadasu” and “Pandava Vanavasam”. He established Kuchipudi Art Academy in 1963 in Madras. Dr. Vempati composed and choreographed as many as 180 solo items and 15 dance dramas. The distinguished performers Shanta Rao, Yamini Krishna Murthy, Vyjayanthimala Bali, Hema Malini, Manju Bhargavi, Shobha Naidu, Bala Kondala Rao and Daggubati Purandheshwari were all Dr. Vempati’s disciples.
Dr. Vempati was conferred ‘Padma Bhushan’ by the government of India. Andhra University awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1980 and Sri Venkateswara University honoured him with D. Litt. in 1983. The mayor of Miami, USA presented him ‘Golden Key’ in 1981. He was presented ‘Raja-Lakshmi’ award. The TTD made him the ‘Asthana Natyacharya’ in 1976. He led an illustrious life of 83 years and passed away on 29th July 2012. The rest of the world looks at Kuchipudi and Dr. Vempati’s stupendous work with respectful eyes. He is rightly called “Maestro with a Mission” as he remains the source of inspiration for the people who work for Kuchipudi. He remains at the centre stage of Kuchipudi’s surge as a classical dance form in Modem India.
The conclusion paragraph concludes by celebrating Dr. Satyam’s contributions to Kuchipudi dance and his impact on the world of performing arts. It describes him as a “true maestro” and a “legend” who will be remembered for his passion, dedication, and artistry.