Artistes Profile - Sooriya Festival

Sunanda Nair : Mohiniyattam

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            Born in Mumbai, Sunanda Nair received her initial training inBharatanatyam at the age of six and since then has given many performances in this style of dancing. She studied from masters like Kalaimamani Kadirvelu, Kalaimamani Mahalingam Pillai, Guru T.V.Sounderajan, Shri Dipak Majumdar, Smt. Jayashree Nair and presently Smt. Tejiswini Rao in Kattumanar Muthukumar Pillai's bani. Sunanda  has also had her initial training in Kathakali underKalamandalam Krishnankutty Warrier and since then has performed important female roles. Sunanda is continuing her training in Kathakali under Kalamandalam Gopalakrishnan.

            By far, the most important aspect of Sunanda Nair’s career is that she is, today, the leading exponent of the Indian classical dance form called Mohiniyattam or Mohini Attam. She is the disciple of noted Mohini Attam exponent Padmashree Dr. (Smt)Kanak Rele, who is credited for much for the revival and popularisation of this classical dance style of Kerala. Sunanda Nair is also the first student to earn a Master's degree inMohini Attam from Nalanda Nritya Kala Mahavidyalay, which is affiliated to the University of Mumbai. Sunanda is both a professional dancer and a teacher. She is also the Founder Director of Srutilaya Institute of Fine Arts which has been training students in both Mohini Attam and Bharatanatyam.

Prahlad Acharya : Shadow Magic Artist            

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            Prahlad Acharya (born 1973) is a prominent magician,illusionistescapologist, and stunt performer from Udupi,KarnatakaIndia. Renowned for his escape acts, Prahlad has been termed Indian Houdini by the Indian media. He is also an entertaining ventriloquist, and an expert shadow play artiste. His show is called Maya Jadoo, which is a 20-member magical extravaganza filled with ethnic Indian illusions. He has developed an art form that splices drama with magic, aptly called ‘dramagic’.

            Some of Prahlad's well-known achievements are escaping fromBangalore Central Prison within 10 seconds, making the Gold Chariot in Udupi Sri Krishna Temple vanish, making a car vanish at the Karavali Utsav, Mangalore and Agnivyooha Chhedana (Escape from the Castle of Fire) at Udupi (1994). In 1998, he founded the Magic & Allied Arts Development & Research Institute in Udupi. Some of the awards he’s received are ‘Outstanding Magician Award’ at the International Magicians' Convention at Trivandrum, Kerala, (2000), Gold Medal for Ventriloquism & Silver Medal for Close Up Magic at the Golden Magic Conference at Kanhangad, Kerala (1999)

Nritta Ganeshi Manoharan – Odissi

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            Prodigious is one word that aptly describes Nritta Ganeshi Manoharan. With a name that translates to ‘pure dance’, Nritta has already made waves in the dance world and is destined to continue to make history through dance. This inexplicable talent to dance became evident when Nritta turned four and made her debut performance organised by the Temple of Fine Arts in Malaysia in conjunction with the Navarathri festival.

            Now fifteen years old,  Nritta’s practice of excellence and extraordinary performance continues to make an impression all over the world. Indeed, Swami Shantanand Saraswati was known to make the remark, “A star is born,” upon seeing her perform. In a published report in the Times of Chandigarh, it is written that, “Remarkably accomplished with flawless time, pristine execution and effortless virtuosity make her one of thepromising dancers on the stage.”