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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 1591

Sunday celebrity:Kala Master: she is ‘sagala Kala vallavi’

By Gopal Ethiraj, Chennai
Chennai, 21 September (

Kala_Master_2.jpgManada Maiyilada” dance programme in Kalainger TV has become an addiction today with the viewers from young to old. On Sundays and its repeat programmes on the following Saturdays, you find people glued to the box. And it is the talk of the town.

The top and popular film choreographer Kala Master, who makes stars dance to her tunes at film-shooting, is making the young and the old’s heart and sway with her dancers in the “Manada.. Maiyilaada” programme, directed and produced by her for the Kalaigner channel.

The busy dance master, talking to the Asian Tribune this morning at her residence, next to Ms. Jayalalithaa’s house in the Poes Garden, was so bubbling in her spirits, that this writer also felt like dancing to her words which were racy, lively and to the point, down-to-earth and interesting.

1. PG.jpgWhat is the concept of the programme, that went to set the trend in dancing programme on the TV channels? “Manada.. Maiyilada” is on the air for two years, the interest has not waned, and it is likely to go on and on. In fact, it is the fourth edition that is on now.

Every edition of the programme would go on for 80 months, and each is an episode. A ten pair is selected from the serial male and female artistes, and they have to dance their way up in several rounds winning and raising to top three positions, where they get an award of Rs. 10 lakh (first prize), Rs. 5 lakhs (2nd prize) and Rs. 3 lakh as third prize, Kala says.

And every episode would be judged by a three-member panel, now it is Kushboo-Kala Master-Namitha. The dancing pair has to go through different rounds such as western, classical, snow fall, water fall, historical, desert, expression, etc and such a set and ambiance would be provided. The faulting, fouling would be eliminated, the beauty is the three member judges would give reasons why and how they failed. No doubt why it should not be interesting and talk of the town.

Kala Master is not only popular for this programme. She has two other popular programme running on the air. One is “Odi Vilayadu Pappa” and the other is “Talk show”. In the former, running for 50 weeks, a 40 member children hand picked are given chance to dance through different types of dances, and the elimination process will finally narrow down to three who will get 1-2-3 prizes. Here children from ages 8 to 12 are given chances. Now 30 children have been eliminated, and the programme is to end in a few weeks. In the talk time show , Sri Priya and Kushboo talk on various topics relating to women issues, children up bringing and other social problems.

From behind the screen to on the screen, she made much progress. It is quite unbelievable, Kala Master is having 1500 films to her credit, having worked as dance master, starting with K.Balachander’s “Pudu Pudu Arthangal”. Since then Kala has been rolling out ‘pudu pudu’ styles in her choreography, that makes her more in demand in films.

Dancing is in her blood; she comes from the family of dancers. Like the dancing trios—Lalitha , Padmini and Ragini, all the seven sisters are dancers. In fact Jayanthi, Kala’s elder sister started first in dancing, and even acted as heroine in two films – “Uthri Pookkal” and “Poottatha Pookkal”. Kala’s second sister Girija, a beauty among seven sisters, lodged an ambition to become a film star, learning Bharatanatyam at Kalakshetra; she went to work with Thangam Master and later Raghuram Master, whom she married later, and also become an independent Master.

3 PG_1.jpgKala is the sixth and Brindha the seventh and the last among the sisters, and they two are only active in films today, Kala more active, dynamic and riding the crest of success.

Kala was in her school finals when she started as an assistant to Thara Master, her sister and her brother-in-law Raghuram Master. Working for six years Kala had had her first break with none other than K. Balachander, she became independent dance master with the former’s “Pudu Pudu Arthangal.”

She has worked with directors like K. Blachander, Maniratnam, K. S. Ravikumar, P. Vasu, Dasari Narayana Rao, Ragasvendra Rao, Joshy, Priyadarashan, Fazil, Kamal Hasan and the filmography contains names like 'Roja', 'Pudhu pudhu arththangal', 'Vanamee Yellai', 'Virsaat' , 'Pranaya varnangkal' , 'Chandramukhi', 'Paasak kiligal', etc. “ Manasukkulle Mathappu,” “Pudu Pudu arthangal” and “Azhagan” gave her a big name.

Kala become a multi-lingual choreographer, directing films of Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Hindi, Bengali, Oriya, Italian and Japanese. About the chance to direct dance sequence in Indo-Italy joint venture film, Kala said “They were shooting at Ooty and they felt a Rajasthani style dance may be included in their film, inspired by a dance number in the hotel they were staying. I was referred. And for the Japanese film, I was recommended to choreograph a folk dance, which I did.”

Kala is also proud dance teacher to many of the film stars. Kala started her dancing school “Kalayalaya” with her sisters, first at the Nadigar sangam, and today there are four branches—at Kesari school, Nungambakkam, Anna Nagar. Danush, Vikram, Surya, Jayam Ravi, Vishal, Arya, Arun Kumar, Puja, Vindhya, Ajith, Thilrisha, Sangavi, Ranjitha and Swathi are a few to make a mention.

When the film makers are in search of new faces, Kala’s dancing schools used to be visited and a few went up to stardom from here; when the makers find the new faces were much in wanting in the department of dancing they would be sent to Kala’s school. She is ‘sagala kala vallavi.”

Kala quoted an incidence. She was directing a dance number for a film “Thiruda Thiruda” a Dhanush starrer. The later came to her and said “ Madame do you remember I was your student. You might have wondered then what with my punny figure would do learning dance.”

Dhanush is a leading star today, much in demand, who won the heart and hand of Super star Ranijikanth’s daughter.

What is Kala’s speciality? She fixes body language, the grace in the artistes she is handling.

She is famous for handling duet dancing. “It is tough job to handle the duet choreography. It is a creative work. It is in this you get opportunity infuse in your imaginations,” she says.

Kala remembers proudly the chance given by Amitab Bachchan to handle multi various dances for the “Miss World” a beauty pageant programme held in Bangalore in 1996, where she handled more than 500 dancers.

The one project she counts as special achievement is training 700 policemen to shed their stiffness and move with grace. She has won the State and National awards, Filmfare and Screen awards.

Kala is blessed with a son and her husband Mahesh is a business man and managing her affairs.

- Asian Tribune -

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