December 23 25, 2011 Chennai
Kartik Fine Arts presents
MAD and DIVINE women
Mystic saint poets of India and beyond
Natya Darshan Seminar
Info: mad.n.divine@gmail.com

MAD AND DIVINE is the title for the three day dance conference and performance event that will feature academics, poets, performers, writers, historians and cultural commentators who will discuss and share the many exciting and varied nuances of the magnificent poetry of India's beloved female poet saints. The raw passions of Andal, Mirabai, Akka Mahadevi, Lal Ded, Avvaiyar, Siddheswari and several others will come alive through dance, verse, music and talks.

This international conference is produced by Kartik Fine Arts for seminar NATYA DARSHAN as part of their annual December Arts Festival.  For the years 2011 and 2012, Dr. Anita Ratnam has been invited to curate and convene the three day event.  MAD & DIVINE is co-presented by Arangham Trust and the web portal www.narthaki.com which are both founded and managed by dancer-scholar Dr. Ratnam.

The morning sessions will feature the academic talks, demonstrations and discussions. The evening sessions are focused on dance performances illuminating the lives and poetry of the many female mystics discussed during the conference proceedings. There will be three performances each evening beginning at 5pm.

Organizer: Kartik Fine Arts, Chennai
Convener:  Dr. Anita R Ratnam
Associate convener: Dr. Ketu H Katrak

Dates: December 23 to 25, 2011
Venue: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mylapore, Chennai, India

Dec 23

10 - 10.10am: Dr. Anita Ratnam's welcome address and introduction to the day's program, and inauguration by Mr. L Sabaretnam, Chairman, Kartik Fine Arts
10.15 10.40am: Shanta Serbjeet Singh (Delhi), Vice Chairman, Sangeet Natak  Akademi, keynote address on 'Mad and Divine'
10.45 11.05am: Dr. Archana Venkatesan, University of California (Davis), speaks on 'Legends of the Goddess: Andal stories in the Srivaishnava traditions'
11.05 11.20am: tea break
11.20 11.50am: Vidhya Subramanian (USA), performance of 'Ojas with that spiritual energy I yearn'
12 12.30pm: Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik (Mumbai), mythologist and corporate trainer, speaks on 'Myth of the Mad Mystical Women'
12.40 to 1pm: Interactive session

Dec 24
10am: Introduction by Anita Ratnam
10.15 10.45am: Rajashree Shirke (Mumbai), performance 'Sant Kanhopatra' on Marathi women saints
10.50 11.10am: Dr. Madhavi Narsalay, University of Mumbai, speaks on 'Institutionalizing identity through divinity: Female saint poetesses of Maharashtra'
11.10 11.30am: tea break
11.30 12pm: Priya Sarukkai Chabria (Pune) speaks on 'Aandaal - the Autobiography of a Goddess'
12 12.30pm: Akhila Ramnarayan (Chennai) speaks on 'Temporal transgressions: Going  global with bhakti'  

Dec 25
10am: Introduction by Anita Ratnam
10.15 10.45am: Chitra Visweswaran (Chennai), performance on 'Meerabai'
10.45 11.15am: Honoring of Vyjayantimala Bali with Lifetime Achievement Award, Acceptance speech, Anita Ratnam in conversation with Vyjayantimala Bali
11.15 11.30am: tea break
11.30 12pm: Madhureeta Anand (Delhi), 'Hearts in ecstasy: A presentation of images and words about Sadhvis'
12 1pm: Plenary session coordinated by Dr. Ketu H Katrak (USA), 'Creative representations of 'Madness' accessing the Divine'
12 - 12.20pm: Nirupama Vaidhyanathan (USA) speaks on 'Meerabai and St. Teresa of Avila: Lives in parallel worlds'
12.20 12.45pm: Pallabi Chakravorty & Scott Kugle (USA), 'Dancing for a divine beloved: Mah Laqa Bai and Mira Bai between Hinduism and Islam'
12.45 1pm: Closing remarks by Dr. Ketu H Katrak and Interactive session
1 1.15pm: Anita Ratnam sums up and introduces next year's conference

Dec 21

6pm: Anita Ratnam & Pritha Ratnam (Chennai), 'ANDAL- ANDAL'

Dec 23
5pm: Narthaki Nataraj (Chennai), 'SUTTA PAZHAM' (Avvaiyar)
6.15pm: Maddhu Nattraj and Ramya Reddy (Bangalore), 'NIRVAYA - DISSOLVING IN DIVINITY'
7.30pm: Malavika Sarukkai (Chennai), 'MANAME BRINDAVANAME' (Andal)

Dec 24
5pm: Sangeeta Isvaran (Chennai), 'KARAIKKAL AMMAIYAR'
6.15pm: 6.15pm: Aditi Mangaldas (New Delhi), 2 SOLOS includes 'Seeking the Beloved' on Meerabai and 'Zero Moment'
7.30pm: Mythili Prakash (USA), 'AIKYA: IN THE VOICE OF AKKA MAHADEVI'

Dec 25
5pm: Zakir Hussain (Chennai), 'VANAMAALAI - THE GARLAND OF LOVE' (Andal)
6.15pm: Meenakshi Chittaranjan (Chennai), 'SAINT THIRUNAVAKKARASAR - THE LORD, MY LOVER'
7.30pm: Rama Vaidyanathan (Delhi), 'SOULFUL ABHANGS AND THOUGHTFUL VAKHS' (Janabai and Lalleshwari)

Event surrounding the Mad N Divine conference

December 22, 2011 at 6.30pm
Devdutt Pattanaik (Mumbai), mythologist and corporate trainer talks on 'Hari Hara - In Myth and Music'.  Music by Anil Srinivasan
At AMETHYST, Next to Corporation Bank, Whites Rd, Royapettah, Chennai 600014
Info: 28541623, 45991633, 45991634, 45991635

Kartik Fine Arts & Natya Darshan
Kartik Fine Arts is a renowned 37 year old cultural organisation based in Chennai, India, that aims to promote nascent talent, showcase brilliant performing artistes and maintain its founding dream of building audiences for its unique programming calendar.  The dance conference titled NATYA DARSHAN was an initiative started in 2001 to broaden the discourse around dance in India and beyond.  Some of the themes handled in the seminars include: Contribution of Raja Serfoji, II ruler of Tanjavur to the cultural heritage of India (2001), Sensuality in dance (2007), Eternal Feminine- narrative to song and dance programs (2008), Sri Krishnotsavam (2009), Bharathotsav - colours of dance (2010).  Artistes honored for their lifetime achievement include gurus KJ Sarasa, CV Chandrasekhar, Kalanidhi Narayanan, Padma Subrahmanyam, Adyar K Lakshman, the Dhananjayans, Ranganayaki Jayaraman, Rhadha, Udipi Lakshminarayan , MV Narasimhachari and Vasanthalakshmi.

Kartik Fine Arts honors Vyjayantimala Bali with Lifetime Achievement Award 2011
Vyjayantimala Bali is a multitalented personality, highly renowned as dancer, choreographer, actress, as well as an ambassador of Indian arts.  She served two terms as Member of Parliament in Lok Sabha and was later nominated to the Rajya Sabha for her contribution to fine arts.

Bali's long and distinguished career has made her a household name in India.  She has performed before distinguished statesmen such as President S Radhakrishnan, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh, and President Eisenhower.  She was the first dancer to perform on the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of the Human Rights Day in 1969 at the General Assembly of the United Nations, eliciting standing ovation from a spellbound audience. She has danced at prestigious international venues - the Opera House in Sydney, the Royal Opera Festival at Stockholm, the Holland Festival in Rotterdam, the Autumn Festival in Paris among others.
Bali was trained in Bharatanatyam from a young age, and by gurus Vazhuvur Ramaiyya Pillai and KN Dandayudapani Pillai.  She danced before the Pope when only five, and performed while still in high school.  A family friend, MV Raman, after watching her dance performance, launched her in AVM's Tamil film 'Vazhkai' in 1949.  Bali has won numerous awards for her dancing and acting in many Tamil movies before setting her mark in the 50s and 60s in the Bollywood industry.

Bali's dance numbers in numerous films are a testament to her undying passion for the performing art.  In her Hindi film 'Nagin,' her sinuous snake dance to the song "Man dole mera tan dole" was a big hit.  Bimal Roy cast her as Chandramukhi opposite Dilip Kumar in 'Devdas'; later also with Dilip Kumar in 'Madhumati' and 'Ganga Jamuna,' she won the Filmfare Best Actress Award.  She has acted with Raj Kapoor in 'Sangam'; with Rajendra Kumar in 'Suraj'; with Dev Anand in 'Jewel Thief'; with Kishore Kumar in 'New Delhi'; and with Shammi Kapur in 'Prince.'  She starred in 'Amrapali' based on the legendary Buddhist courtesan Amrapali.  After marrying Dr. Chamanlal Bali, she gave up acting when at her peak, and returned to Chennai pursuing her major passion dancing.  She is the founder of Natyalaya, a Bharatanatyam school.

Bali has choreographed many dance dramas including 'Andal Thiruppavai,' Tagore's 'Chandalika' and Kavi Kunjara Bharati's 'Azhagar Kuravanji,' 'Sant Sakhu,' 'Ekta' depicting the Freedom movement, 'Om Santhi Santhi Santhi' on universal peace, and 'Sangamam' on the universality of religions.  Through her research, old and forgotten forms like Nava Sandhi Kauthuvams, Melaprapti, Thodaya Mangalam, Sooladi, Prabhandams and Thayams have been revived and acclaimed by critics and connoisseurs.
Bali's many honours include a Padma Shri (1968), Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1982), State Artist Award from Government of Tamilnadu (1979), Lifetime Achievement Award by Bollywood Movie Awards Atlantic City, NJ, USA (2005), Lifetime Achievement Award by British Asian Film Festival, UK (1998), Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award (1996), Degree of Letters (Honoris Causa) by Annamalai University, Chidambaram.  Her sports interests include golf, table tennis, badminton and horse riding.  With co-writer Jyoti Sabarwal, she published her autobiography titled 'Bonding' in 2007.

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