Minati Mishra

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Minati Mishra
Born 1929 (1929) (age 89)
Cuttack, Odisha, India
Occupation Classical dancer
Years active since 1956
Spouse(s) Nityananda Mishra
Children One son
Parent(s) Basanta Kumar Das
Awards Padma Shri
Sangeet Natak Akademi Award
Odisha Sangeet Natak Akademy

Minati Mishra is an Indian classical dancer and actress, known for her expertise in the Indian classical dance form of Odissi. She is reported to be the oldest living Odissi performer.[1][2] The Government of India honored Mishra in 2012, with the fourth highest civilian award of Padma Shri.[3]


Minati Mishrs, née Minati Das,[4] was born in 1929 in Cuttack, in the Indian state of Odisha, to Basanta Kumar Das, a local school headmaster,[4] as the youngest of his three children.[5] She started learning dance and music at an early age, theme based dance under the tutelage of Ajit Ghosh and Banabihari Maity and Odissi from Kabichandra Kalicharan Patnayak, a known Odissi dancer. In 1950, Sharma started learning under Kelucharan Mahapatra, the renowned Odissi Guru.[5]

In 1954, Minati Mishra joined Kalakshetra of Rukmini Devi Arundale, on a scholarship from the Government of Odisha, and learned Bharatanatyam for one year under Kutty Sarada and Peria Sarada.[6] The next year, she joined the Indian Institute of Free Arts for training under Panda Wallur Pillai Chukkalingam and Minakshi Sunderam Pillai and debuted in 1956, the first of the several performances she rendered, during the next three years, at a number of major cities in India.[5] In 1959, she got an opportunity to perform in Switzerland, on invitation from the International Photographic Association, and performed in Zurich, Luzern, Geneva and Winterthur.[5] Three years later, she was awarded a doctoral degree[7] in Indology from the Philipp University of Marburg, Germany for a thesis she prepared on the topic, Natyashastra. The next year, she was invited for a performance at the Berlin Film Festival of 1963.[5]

Minati Mishra has acted in five Odia movies. The first among them, Suryamukhi [8] was released in 1963, followed by four more movies, Jeevan Sathi,[9] Sadhana,[10] Bhai Bhauja[11] and Arundhati.[12] All the movies, except Bhai Bhauja, received the National Film Awards for the best regional cinema.[8][9][10][12] She also acted in a 1963 Bengali movie, Nirjana Saikate in which she has performed an Odissi dance number choreographed by Kelucharan Mahapatra.[13] Apart from her film career, she has also been an A Grade artist at the All India Radio and is a recipient of Sangeet Prabhakar title for Hindustani vocal music.[5][14]

Soon after the death of her husband, Nityananda Mishra, who was an engineer, in 1980, Mishra retracted from dance performances and formally retired in 1990. She is settled in Switzerland and devotes her time for dance festivals, lecture tours and workshops in Switzerland, Canada and India.[5]


Minati Mishra has been the principal of the Utkal Sangeet Mohavidyalaya, Bhubaneswar[15] from 1964 till 1989.[16][14] During her tenure there, the institution regularised its curriculum, academically formalised odissi dance and music training, introduced theatrical aspects into the syllabus and established examination guidelines, all of which are reported to have helped in the revivial of Odissi.[16] The stint at the institution also gave her opportunity to work alongside the first-generation gurus of Odissi such as Guru Pankaj Charan Das, Guru Deba Prasad Das[17] and Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra.

Noted for her expressive (Bhava) and dramatization (Abhinaya) skills,[16] Mishra has tutored many known Odissi performers[7] such as Gobind Pal, Durga Charan Ranbir, Chapala Mishra, Minakshi Behera, Anita Singhdeo, Bimbadhar Das and Sanjukta Das who have become Odissi gurus in their own rights.[1]


Film Language Director Year
Suryamukhi Odia Prafulla Sengupta 1963
Jeevan Sathi Odia Prabhat Mukherjee 1963
Nirjan Saikate Bengali Tapan Sinha 1963
Sadhana Odia Prabhat Mukherjee 1964
Arundhati Odia Prafulla Sengupta 1967
Bhai Bhauja Odia Sarathi 1967

Awards and recognitions[edit]

Minati Mishra is a recipient of the 1975 Orissa Sangeet Natak Akademi Award.[18] She has also received the Kalinga Shastriya Sangeet Parishad Award[14] and in 2000, she received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award.[19][14] In 2012, the Government of India included her in the Republic day honours list for the award of Padma Shri.[3]


  1. ^ a b "The Hindu". The Hindu. 24 March 2011. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
  2. ^ "TOI". TOI. 26 January 2012. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Padma Shri" (PDF). Padma Shri. 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 November 2014. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  4. ^ a b Ashok Mohanty (2011). My Life, My Work. Allied Publishers. p. 412. ISBN 9788184246407.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "Radhu Babu Bio". Radhu Babu. 2014. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
  6. ^ "Peria Sarada". Narthaki. 2014. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  7. ^ a b "Urvasi Dance". Urvasi Dance. 2014. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  8. ^ a b "Suryamukhi". Directorate of Film Festivals. 2014. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  9. ^ a b "Jeeban Sathi". Directorate of Film Festivals. 2014. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  10. ^ a b "Sadhana". Directorate of Film Festival. 2014. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  11. ^ "Bhai Bhauja". IMDB. 2014. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  12. ^ a b "15th National Film Awards" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
  13. ^ "Nirjana Saikate". Nirjana Saikate. 28 November 2013. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  14. ^ a b c d "Radhu Babu Intro". Radhu Babu. 2014. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
  15. ^ "USM". USM. 2014. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  16. ^ a b c "Radhu Babu Achievements". Radhu Babu. 2014. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
  17. ^ "Deb Prasad Das". Narthaki. 2014. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  18. ^ "OSN Award" (PDF). Government of Orissa. Archived from the original (pdf) on 2 May 2014. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  19. ^ "SNA". Sangeet Natak Akademi. 2014. Archived from the original on 30 May 2015. Retrieved 30 November 2014.

External links[edit]