Apurva and Vandana curate unique festival

Vandana Supriya Kasaravalli and Apurva Kasaravalli.

Director Apurva Kasaravalli and his wife Vandana Supriya Kasaravalli, an odissi performer and choreographer, are both passionate about dance and music. They have put together a unique festival called ‘Asmi’ which will be held on September 29 and 30 at Ravindra Kalakshetra.

The festival will feature performances by internationally renowned musicians and dancers. In an interview with Metrolife, Apurva and Vandana talk about the festival. 

What is the theme of the festival?

Apurva: On the surface, the festival is knit around dance and music. But once you dig deeper, you would understand that there is a worthy cause behind this initiative. The festival is called ‘Asmi’ or ‘I am.’ It is rooted in the Kannada word ‘Asmitey’ meaning identity. Our identity, who we are and our perception of self is formed from many social and cultural influences. Our personal experiences, as well as the socio-political realities, reflect how we see ourselves or how others perceive us. This festival, the first from Anandi Arts Foundation, is called Asmi because we hope it will give the girls of Anandi an identity they deserve. 

Vandana: Anandi Arts Foundation was started by us with the mission to empower children through art. The girls of Anandi are from government schools and less privileged backgrounds. They have been training in odissi, yoga, kalarippayattu and a few of them are being tutored or helped in their academics as well. The few among them who have learnt odissi are going on stage for the first time to showcase what they have been learning and what they are capable of.

What does the lineup for the festival look like? 

Apurva: There are six big artistes who are performing at the festival. Popular contemporary Carnatic musicians Sikkil Gurucharan, Anil Srinivasan and MT Adithya will be performing on the first day (September 29) and on the second day (September 30) the girls of Anandi will go on stage along with bharathanatyam dancer Priyadarshini Govind, who will be performing with live musicians. Kathak duo Nirupama and Rajendra and odissi dancer Ramli Ibrahim will also be performing.

 Who are the foreign artistes on the show?

Apurva: Datuk Ramli Ibrahim, Malaysia’s legendary choreographer and classical dancer from Sutra Dance Theatre, will be performing along with Geethika
Sree. 

What was the most challenging part of putting the show together?

Apurva: From getting artistes and sponsors to finalising things, it looked like a daunting task. Jayamala and the Department of Kannada and Culture helped by providing us with the venue. After six months of hard work, our dream has come true.
Vandana: We began with crowdfunding. Convincing people about the cause and getting them to contribute was a task by itself. But eventually, a lot of good people pitched in and we were able to raise funds. The artistes were obliging and understanding which made it easier. 

How is it to work together?

Apurva: Our work has always been about collaboration. Since both Vandana and I come from artistic backgrounds, it was a lot easier to understand and communicate our ideas. Between the two of us, the roles are well defined.

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Apurva and Vandana curate unique festival

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