Sitara Damayanti

Duration: 1 hr, 2 min

Sitara Devi represents the second generation of Kathak artists of the Benares Gharānā, having been taught and imparted vidya by her father Sukhdev Mahārāj. In conversation with Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan she says that it was unusual for a girl to be a Kathak dancer, because those times were different and there were only boys, who performed even the female roles in Rāmalīlā. At the age of thirteen, she moved to Mumbai, where she received her tālīm – teaching and initiation. She got some roles in films and at the age of fourteen or fifteen, she had become a heroine. She performed in various Puranic stories, which were depicted through Kathak. She had lessons from Shambhu Maharaj in dancing.

Damayanti Joshi, another great Kathak exponent, in a lively conversation with Kapila Vatsyayan is bringing out the best experiences and different turns in her journey of the art. Damayanti Joshi spent her childhood in devotion to Kathak. Her mother wanted Damyanti to receive tālīm – theoretical knowledge of the art of dancing from the masters. She did attend these sessions and had to do practice or riyāẓ herself. She says that different gharānās – schools or sects of musicians, who have their own style, do not pass on the secret of riyāẓ those outside the gharānās. She says that she learnt it from outside.

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