Mallika Sarabhai

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Mallika Sarabhai
Born (1954-05-09) 9 May 1954 (age 61)
Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India
Occupation Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam dancer, politician
Years active 1969 – present
Spouse(s) Bipin Shah
Children Revanta
Anahita
Parent(s) Vikram Sarabhai
Mrinalini
Awards Padma Bhushan
Website www.mallikasarabhai.com

Mallika Sarabhai (born 9 May 1954) is an activist and Indian classical dancer from Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. Daughter of a classical dancer Mrinalini Sarabhai and renowned space scientist Vikram Sarabhai, Mallika is an accomplished Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam dancer[1] and performer who has specialized in using the arts for social change and transformation.

Early life[edit]

Mallika Sarabhai was born in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India to Vikram Sarabhai and Mrinalini Sarabhai. She completed her MBA from IIM Ahmedabad in 1974 and Doctorate in Organisational Behaviour from the Gujarat University in 1976.[2] She is a noted choreographer and dancer and has also acted in a few Hindi, Malayalam, Gujarati and international films.[3]

Career[edit]

She started to learn dancing when she was young, and started her film career in parallel cinema, when she was 15. Mallika played the role of Draupadi in the Peter Brook's play The Mahabharata. Mallika has won many accolades during her long career, the Golden Star Award being one of them, which she won for the Best Dance Soloist, Theatre De Champs Elysees, Paris 1977. As well as a dancer, Sarabhai is a social activist. She, along with her mother, manages the Darpana Academy of Performing Arts located at Ahmedabad, [4] a center for the arts and for the use of arts as a language for behavior change.

Performance[edit]

In 1989 she performed hard-hitting solo theatrical works, Shakti: The Power of Women. Her performance Sita’s Daughters has toured the world and been performed over 500 times in three languages. After that, she directed and acted in numerous productions reflecting current issues and awareness among people. Amongst them are An Idea Named Meera; In Search of the Goddess and SvaKranti: The Revolution Within.

Mallika Sarabhai also wrote the script for the play 'Unsuni' based on Harsh Mander's book 'Unheard Voices' to raise awareness amongst children in elite shchols and colleges to the real issues facing India’s marginalized. The play went around 120 schools and colleges. Arvind Gaur later directed it as a play, with the same name. Darpana Academy has launched the people awareness movement through its production Unsuni which travels all over India.

In 2009 Mallika Sarabhai acted in Bertolt Brecht's Indian adaptation of The Good Person of Szechwan ( Ahmedabadki Aurat Bhali-Ramkali) directed by Arvind Gaur in 34th Vikram Sarabhai International Art Festival.

In the year 2012, Mallika co-directed 'Women with Broken Wings,' an international production with film maker Yadavan Chandran and Swiss pianist Elizabeth Sombart, an ode to the millions of women who have been the victims of violence. In 2014 she recreated, with Yadavan Chandran, Kadak Badshaahi, a multi media production on the 603 year old history of the city of Ahmedabad. The performance ran for an unprecedented 33 full nights in Darpana’s venue, Natarani.

Mallika has also used film and television for social change, especially for women’s empowerment and environmental consciousness. Through Darpana Communications, she has been responsible for the production of three thousand hours of TV broadcast programming, all of which has been shown through Doordarshan, Gujarati. The programming uses the most popular genres of TV. She has anchored many shows on STAR TV and Doordarshan as well as the first NACO series on HIV, Talk Positive; the science series Turning Point; Vaividhyotsav, the culture quiz and Srishti : The Environment Quiz.

Writing[edit]

Mallika first started writing when she produced and performed Shakti:The Power of Women. Since then she has scripted her own shows, TV serials for ISROs educational TV in Madhya Pradesh, film scripts and more recently new contemporary lyrics for BharataNatyam. She has been a columnist for Times of India, Vanitha, The Week, DivyaBhaskar, Hans and DNA

Politics[edit]

Election voting symbol

On 19 March 2009, Mallika Sarabhai announced her candidature against the Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate L K Advani for the Gandhinagar Lok Sabha seat, as an independent candidate. A Congress spokesperson made it clear that she was not the Congress's candidate, nevertheless there was speculation that the Congress high command had asked the Gujarat state unit to support her candidature. In a reply to a question, she said she had neither personally approached the Congress nor did it offer to make her its candidate for the 2009 election, however in the past she had won from the Congress to contest election, the first being in 1984 from Rajiv Gandhi.[5] She described her candidature as a Satyagraha against the politics of hatred.[6] She eventually lost to L K Advani by a huge margin and forfeited her election deposit in the process.[7] She protested against Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi during Sadbhavna Mission in September 2011.[8] She accused Narendra Modi of scuttling the petition filed in Supreme court by her on the 2002 Gujarat violence.[8] She joined the Aam Aadmi Party on 8 January 2014, calling herself the party's "foot soldier". She felt that her values "matched with the Aam Aadmi Party".[9]

Personal life[edit]

"I have always done things without hiding them," says Mallika, remembering her college days, which saw her wearing mini-skirts, and riding a motorbike.

Mallika met Bipin Shah in 1982 and married him. They separated 7 years later and later divorced. They have two children, a son, Revanta and a daughter Anahita. [10] Bipin and Mallika co-founded Mapin Publishing in 1984 and continue to run it together.[11]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]