Mrs. Kamala Rani is a well known and well respected figure in the realm of Bharathanatyam and she is the first lady nattuvanar in the field.
Her great fortune lay in coming at a very early age under the tutelage and direct daily contact of Mrs. Rukmini Devi, who gave a rebirth to the holy art of Bharathanatyam and restored it to its original glory by not just propaganda, not just founding the Inter- national college of fine arts, Kalakshetra, but by herself taking to the dance and preforming for several years and in recent times composing, directing and presenting classical dance dramas as only she can do. Born in Jaffna, Sri Lanka to the educationist Kunchithapaatha Sharma and Saraswathi Ammal on Nov. 19, 1927, Kamala Rani schooled in Rangoon, Burma and returned to settle in Chennai to music and nattuvangam.
Her musical education began in Annamalai University, while Tiger Varadachariar was the principal of the Music College, winning a certificate in Music later from the then Chennai Government, she joined Kalakshetra. Then on, she has grown with Kalakshetra and became part of the institution.
Apart from the immediate guidance of Rukmini Devi, she was privileged to come into contact with luminaries like Dr. G.S. Arundale, Mr. K. Sankara Menon and quite a few eminent theosophists.
The vast opportunities afforded in Kalakshetra to learn under great giants like Tiger Vardachariar, Veena Krishnamachariar, Budalur Krishnamurthi Sastrigal, Mysore Vasudevachariar and privately Pathamadai Sundaram and Calcutta Krishnamurthy ripened her music.
Singer she is, an interesting development landed her to take to cymbals and sollukattu in Bharathanatyam.
She started singing and doing nattuvangams for the first and famous dance drama, "Kutrala Kuravanji" ofRukmini Devi and to day she sings and does nattuvangam for all the dance dramas of Kalakshetra in all the four languages, like Sri Andal in Tamil, Rukmini Kalyanam in Telugu, Shyama in Bengali and the great Ramayana series in Sanskrit.
She has widely travelled in India, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and Figi Islands in the East and in the West many European countries as a loyal and staunch member of Rukmini Devi's entourage. At every place her cymbals and the rhythmic syllables have filled famous theatres with their authentic ring. She has also made a tour of USA on her own. She has also toured Russis, China & South Africa.
This lady with so many years of rich experience in the classical and pure Bharathanatyam when her resonant deep voice won an elite of audience for herself and appreciation from the press as well at home and abroad.
A versatile personality, she broadcasts on AIR. Her stories and articles published in Indian journals, have brought her fame as a good Tamil writer.
In recognition of her great talents, Kalakshetra conferred on her a title of Distinction in Nattuvangam in the year 1964.
Now "Bharatha Kalanjali" of the well known dance duo of Kalakshetra, the Dananjayans of fame and name, has come forward to honour her with a title of "Sangeetagna".
It gives me great pleasure to write a Foreward to smt. Kamala Rani’s book “Essence of Nattuvangam, Bharatanatyam Guide Book”. Nattuvangam is a very important adjunct of the Bharatanatyam recital and there cannot be a Bharatanatyam recital without nattuvangam. It is very essential for any Bharatanatyam student to know the fundamentals of nattuvangam and as far as my knowledge goes, there is no book written on the subject so far and this book fills up this gap excellently.
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