Shruthi K Purushotham
We found in Shruthi not just an urge to bridge gaps through speech, dance and poetry, but a genuine interest to listen. It is no wonder that she heard the nagging voice in her head years ago and understood its meaning. Where she stands today is a response to that voice – as simple as it can get, but just as difficult to fathom. The difference between a speaker and a listener is just that – time. Shruthi took her time to recognize the innate disturbance within herself as she floated her way through teenage, beyond her own control. Making herself heard was the next challenge. That rhythm, that tune that she could hear – why couldn’t anyone else hear it?
Just as a lotus blossoms even in the murkiest of waters, Shruthi overcomes every drawback within herself to follow a dream. Layer by layer, she peels her way out of the shell that circumstances have cast around her through the years, and takes to the compassionate sanctuary of Art. Dance becomes not only a form of restoration but a Language she uses to speak with, where even silences have meaning, and most graceful at that.
Unlike many who are “born with it” today and make it big at an early age, Shruthi is self-made with continuing years of toil and experience. At a slow yet steady pace, she has broken free of the shackles that traditions carry, while making sure to only to take from them the richness of Music and Dance. If tradition does not progress, it will stagnate. What is modern today will become tradition tomorrow. Shruthi experiments by contemporizing the language of Mohiniyattam, a strictly structured Dance form, through her own lens that she calls Neo-Mohiniyattam – a bridge between the traditional technique and contemporary audience. She believes that Dance must reach out to all, and wants to be able to take a poem off a student’s text book and perform it as a piece for the class. This would be a way forward to expose the Art form to the World, starting with children.
Indian Classical Dances require active viewer participation. For Shruthi it is important that as she takes the first few steps to reach out, society must also take a few toward her in an attempt to understand this language. That onlookers turn into an informed and involved audience as part of the performance. The concept of passive receivers who are used to spoon-fed entertainment irks her. Without combined effort from both ends, cultural evolution suffers. No Artist can grow and sustain without an equally nourishing society that takes pride and interest in cultivating their passion no matter how absurd at first. Bringing Indian Traditional Dance closer to the new age audiences by crossing bridges is the intent of Taamara’s Shruthi. This is more an ongoing episode than it is an ultimate goal. Our cinematic interpretation of her intent is a small way to add onto the larger dialogue.
(Watch the Film)
We have known Shruthi as ever excited and always ready to try something new. That she is a storyteller herself made it easier for us to support her written content with visual interplay. That she is a performer made her comfortable in recreating the act, this time for the camera. Shruthi has become an inspiration for us in our daily lives, not just for the performer in her, not just for the poet in her, but for the inextinguishable fervor that keeps her going.