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Dancing to her tune

MINI ANTHIKAD-CHHIBBER

Shobhana, the National Award winning actress and Bharatnatyam artiste, spoke of the `Mitr' experience and her dance school.

THOUGH SHOBHANA dismisses claims to stardom, ("there are others who are doing a great deal more than me, who are more glamorous and bigger stars") the fact of the matter is the actress and classical dancer has that special something that draws the eye - be it on stage or screen.

In the city for a performance, casually dressed in a candy pink salwar kameez, Shobhana looked fresh as the proverbial flower. Us lesser mortals would definitely look like something the cat dragged in if we stepped off a plane and were as majorly short on sleep as Shobhana said she was.

Last seen on screen in Revathy's debut feature, Mitr -- My Friend, Shobhana said, "Revathy is a close friend and one day she called me up and asked me to listen to the script. I was interested as Revathy is from my generation and was attempting something new."

"Working on the film was good as it was an entirely new fragrance you know. The idiom of the film was so new, it was natural, soft, soothing. The film had this regular tempo. Of course, the risk was entirely Revathy's!" she said with a smile.

We have been seeing less rather than more of Shobhana on screen. The reason for this she said was because she does not "only do films. I am a dancer and I also run my dance school." Mention her ten-year old dance school, Kalarpana, in Chennai and Shobhana's lovely eyes light up.

"I always wanted to teach as it is a growing experience. When you teach, you also learn as you would know all that you are doing wrong - it is there for you to see. It is also a very creative experience as there is a satisfaction in creating emotion and movement from nothing."

Shobhana said the decision to move from films to dance was a conscious one as dancing was more "creatively satisfying. Films were getting monotonous and at my age I do not think I could pull off the regular kind of role." A bit much that - remember how luminescent the lady looked in Mitr?

"An artiste should have that kind of self-awareness to realise when to move on," she continues. "I am spacing out my life to be able to spend more time in dance. I want to find a path where I can make a contribution. When you have been in a field for 20 odd years you would like to give something back otherwise it will be meaningless."

"Art is like wine, it gets better with age," Shobhana commented. An allergy to the sun caused a "great disruption" in her schedule. "I took a break and got it treated and here I am."

On shooting with the Big B for the Kabhi Kabhie video, she laughed and said, "It was just a regular thing. It was so long ago. Maybe you should ask him how he felt shooting with me!"

Describing herself as "a doer and not a planner," Shobhana said she was "not really organised.

I do not have long-term plans." She signed off with advice to aspiring artistes (apart from being ready to make heavy-duty sacrifices) that they should "aspire and excel."

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