Immortalising dance

Amrita Prasad
Friday, 2 February 2018

Dancers Neha Muthiyan and Arundhati Patwardhan talk about Sanchari, a festival which showcases documentaries on the renowned figures from the field of performing arts

Sanchari, a festival showcasing rare films and documentaries, about noted dancers and their different dance styles, will be held in the city today and tomorrow. Organised by Loud Applause Dance Magazine and Kalavardhini Charitable Trust, the festival is going to be a visual delight and will be especially helpful for upcoming dancers.

The festival has been curated, analysed and conducted by Ashish Mohan Khokar, author, editor and dance critique, who will throw light on ‘how’ and ‘what’ to watch in these films. The idea is to create awareness among young dancers about different aspects of making a dance film and the need for documentation.

The documentaries that will be screened over the course of two days include Lasya Kavya: A Film on Alarmel Valli (Bharatanatyam), Marattam (Mohiniattam), Kapila (Koodiyattam), Glimpses of Gopi Krishnaji’s Endeavours (Kathak), Guru Chengannar (Kathakali), Kathak Deviyan, and a film on Aharya. The films screened are from the collection of NFAI, Film Division and Mohan Khokar Archives, which makes Sanchari a complete blend of rare and rich content.

The audience will get a chance to interact and listen to the words of wisdom by Khokar, Neha Muthiyan, who runs Loud Applause Dance Magazine and is a Kathak dancer herself and Arundhati Patwardhan, a leading Bharatnatyam dancer and founder of Kalavardhini.

“The audience will get in-depth knowledge on what to focus while watching dance films, how to film dance and how not to present dance in films. The collaboration of two dedicated ventures — Loud Applause and Kalavardhini — is bound to create something exclusive,” says Muthiyan.

Giving us a peek into the concept behind the festival, Patwardhan, says that while she was pursuing her Masters degree in dance about two decades ago, the then HOD of  Lalit Kala Kendra, Pune University had arranged a film fest. The seed of this kind of festival was born then. “That was my fist exposure to films on dance and I still carry the impact of what I had seen. Visuals have a strong impact on us. So when the opportunity knocked on my door, Neha, who shares a similar thought process, and I decided to go for it,” says the Bharatanatyam danseuse.

Talking about the importance of documenting dance, Muthiyan adds, “Films have a greater impact on common audience as it not only boosts creativity but it is also a great way to introduce biographies and works of great dancers which can influence the upcoming ones. It is a great way to archive our age-old traditions and also contemporary work. I feel more and more films on different art forms should be made.”

Speaking on her expectations from the festival and the choice of films, Muthiyan says, “We have chosen films on popular dance forms like Kathak and Bharatanatyam and also lesser known art forms like Kathakali Kudiattam. With valuable insights from geniuses  like Ashish Mohan Khokar, director Sankalpa Meshram (Lasya Kavya), and great Bharatanatyam dancer Alarmel Valli, this festival should climb greater heights.” 

Loud Applause e-magazine, now in its fifth year, has brought out articles, interviews, write-ups on/by noted personalities in the dance fraternity. “It has a spectrum of relevant dance related topics which are useful in today’s age. Similarly, Kalavardhini has been instrumental in organisng enriched dance programmess and workshops. This festival is a part of their 30th year celebration,” says Muthiyan.

Sanchari will be held at National Film Archive of India (NFAI), Prabhat Road, on February 3 and 4, 11 am-6 pm. The festival is open for all but registration is mandatory. Write to or

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