Ilayaraja, Rajshekhar Mansur get Akademi awards

Legends honoured

Noted music composer Ilayaraja, Hindustani vocalists Rajashekhar Mansur and Ajay Pohankar and rudra veena exponent Bahauddin Dagar have been chosen for the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards.

At its meeting held on December 21, the General Council of Sangeet Natak Akademi, the National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama, New Delhi, selected eminent personalities in the field of performing arts N Rajam (violin), Grammy Award-winning percussionist T H Vinayakram and veteran playwright Ratan Thiyam as its fellows (Academi Ratna). “The fellowship of the Akademi is the most prestigious and rare honour, which is restricted to a very limited number at a given time. Presently, there are only 40 fellows of the Sangeet Natak Akademi,” an official release said.

The General Council of the Akademi also selected 36 people from the fields of music, dance, theatre and puppetry for the Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards (Akademi Puraskar) for the year 2012. Rajashekhar Mansur and  Ajay Pohankar for Hindustani Vocal Music, Sabir Khan (Tabla) and Bahauddin Dagar (Rudra Veena) for Hindustani Instrumental Music, O S Thyagarajan for Carnatic Vocal Music, Mysore M Nagaraja (Violin) and K V Prasad (Mridangam) for Carnatic Instrumental Music, Ilayaraja for “creative and experimental music” and Bhai Balbir Singh Ragi (Gurbani) for “other major traditions of music” have been selected for the Akademi Award 2012.

In the field of Dance, nine eminent practitioners, Priyadarsini Govind (Bharatanatyam), Vijay Shankar (Kathak), Vazhengada Vijayan (Kathakali),  Vedantam Ramalinga Sastry (Kuchipudi), Sharmila Biswas (Odissi), Jai Narayan Samal (Chhau), Painkulam Damodara Chakyar (Kutiyattam), Jwala Prasad (music for dance) and Aditi Mangaldas (“creative and experimental dance) have been selected for the award.  

The Akademi named eight eminent artistes for awards in theatre. They are: Arjun Deo Charan for playwriting, Tripurari Sharma and Waman Kendre for direction, Parvesh Sethi, Nirmal Rishi and Purisai Kannappa Sambandan for acting, Murari Roychoudhury for theatre music and Ghulam Rasool Bhagat for major traditions in theatre (Bhand Pather).

For their contribution to Other Traditional/Folk/ Tribal Music/ Dance/ Theatre and Puppetry, eight artistes have been selected for the Akademi Award.

They are: Goru Channabasappa for folk music (Karnataka), Kinaram Nath Oja for Suknani Ojapali (Assam), Prem Singh Dehati for folk theatre (Haryana), Sulochana Chavan for Lavani (Maharashtra), Mattannur Sankaran Kutty Marar for Thayambaka (Kerala), Govind Ram Nirmalkar for Nacha (Chhattisgarh), Heera Das Negi for mask making (Himachal Pradesh) and Prafulla Karmakar for traditional puppetry (West Bengal). Nandini Ramani and Arun Kakade will receive the Akademi Award 2012 for overall contribution and scholarship in performing arts.

The honour of Akademi Fellow, conferred since 1954 and Akademi awards since 1952 not only symbolises the highest standard of excellence and achievements on a national basis but also recognises the sustained individual work and contribution to the practice and appreciation of arts through performance, teaching and scholarship.  The honour of Akademi Fellow and award carries a purse money of Rs 3 lakh and Rs 1 lakh respectively.

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