Anannya Chatterjee is pursuing Zoology Honours from Daulat Raam College, Delhi University. She has been training in Bharatanatyam for two years now, and has been performing around the state and beyond quite frequently. She is the Vice-President of the Classical Dance Society of Daulat Ram College, Annhad . She is a trained Hindustani Classical singer and has been training for more than 14 years. She has been a theatre person too. Being a part of the Debate society of DRC, she has participated in various conventional and parliamentary debates.
Here are excerpts of an interview we had with her:
Aakanksha(Aapka Times): You have represented yourself as a dancer on various platforms, we would like to know that how did you get inclined towards dance? :
Anannya: Oh well, I remember to have been dancing ever since I was a kid. Dance came to me very naturally; I did not have to incorporate any inclination towards it, I feel I was born with the inclination. Whenever a beat would come, it was only natural for me to shake a leg. I remember when I was a mere four years old, I had this incurable habit of communicating with dance gestures and eye expressions. It may have been a laughing matter for my elders, but it only proves how much dance was imbibed in my very being. As I grew up, the passion became stronger and dance became a reason to live for. It gives me a inexplicable satisfaction, soothes me down, encourages me, lifts my soul up, gives me a reason to grow. I am not exaggerating when I say dance is to me as oxygen is to living beings. Dance will forever remain my first and foremost love in life.
Aakanksha: Please mention details of your achievements in this field, so that readers can get informed about their celebrity.
Anannya: I have been training in Bharatanatyam from Guru Jaylakshmi Eshwar for two years now, and have been performing around the state and beyond quite frequently. I had initially begun training in Odissi in Kolkata for a year, before I got transferred to Haryana. Here in Delhi, i have performed in various productions of my Guru, other than giving group performances in various events as well. I have also accompanied my Guru for various lecture demonstrations in the prestigious Centre for Cultural Resources and Training, Dwarka. Other than that, I have won awards in fests like that of Miranda, ST. STephens, IIT Kanpur etc. I serve, currently, as the Vice-President of the Classical Dance Society of Daulat Ram College, Annhad.
Other than Bharatanatyam, I am a trained Hindustani Classical singer, training for more than 14 years now. I was a part of my college’s Indian Music Society Alahyaa for an year, and was a part of their group performances which won various accolades in college fests. I have also participated in solo Singing competitions by prestigious Bengali committees, winning a few lot of them.
I have been a theatre person as well, being a part of an independent theatre group Khanabadosh, which performs nukkad nataks on various social issues, targeting areas where they are needed the most, some of them being GB Road, Jahangirpuri, Wazirpur slums.
I have also being a part of the Debate society of Daulat Ram College for an year, participating in conventional and parliamentary debates and winning a few of them.
Aakanksha: You are a source of inspiration. What is your inspiration?
Anannya : My inspiration, are undoubtedly my Gurus. I belong to a family of teachers and understand what a role a teacher can play in a student’s life. I have been fortunate to have been under such able Gurus who understand my passion and meticulously guide me towards my goal. In moments where I feel demotivated, I look up to them, and remember their teachings. It is indeed empowering to know that you yourself are responsible for your own perfection in the art form you practice, and I have been constantly reminded so by my teachers. For instance, I have been taught by my Guru that not just practice, but proper practice makes a person perfect. Such teachings fuel me to work harder when discouragement and failure strikes me, and encourage me to not just be a dancer, or a singer in isolation, but be an artist as a whole.
It will be ultimate blasphemy on my part if I do not mention my mother as my inspiration. She is a person who has always fiercely believed in me and my abilities and most importantly, my passion. When I would fall down, I will find her hand to support me. If not for her confidence in me and her guidance and love, I wouldn’t have been able to practice what I love. My father stands as an example of strength and integrity in my life. He reminds to take failure as building blocks of my life, and has taught me to laugh through difficult situations. I am utterly grateful to have parents like mine. They are a blessing to every budding artist.
Aakanksha: Zoology H is not an easy course, how do you manage your studies alongside?
Anannya: I wish I had known so earlier 😛
I am always driven by my love for certain things in life. Biology, especially Human biology was one of them. My heightened interest in the subject pushed me into taking zoology.
It is indeed difficult to manage my studies along with dance and music practices. But time management and setting out your own priorities at the start of the day always helps. For instance, when I know I have a test the other day, I would plan such that I denote maximum time in studying for the test rather than practicing. When I have a music or dance class, I would manage my time in order to practice more, and study less. It is also imperative to be regular in your practices when you are involved in rigorous art forms like Bharatanatyam and Hindustani Classical. Therefore I always try to grab atleast half an hour from my schedule to practice the basics, if not the entire regime. That helps me to stay in touch with my passions as well as manage my studies alongside.
Aakanksha: How do people in DRC treat you? Do your professors have any soft corner for you for this much active involvement in various activities? Do they show this soft corner while giving marks? 😛
Anannya: People in DRC are extremely sweet, and cooperative. They let me mind my own business, which is the best part, I guess. I have found my bestest friends in DRC, which gives the institution brownie points. In general, the atmosphere is very inclusive of me and my involvement in various activities, I feel.
My teachers are a bunch of cooperative people without whom it wouldnt have been possible to juggle two societies in college at the same time. I remember a time I had an important practical, but had a rehersal of a dance production clashing with it. When I approached my teacher with my problem, she promptly let me go, and scheduled my practical with another batch. Yet another time, when my attendance wasnt upto mark, my HOD helped me out and let me sit for exams. I am indeed fortunate to have them as my teachers.
Aakanksha: Have you ever faced teasing or inappropriate behavior of someone from audience during your performance?
Anannya: I think every artist would agree that audiences play a very important role in their lives. They make, or break you. Dance, in my opinion, is a way of communication with the raasikas or the audiences, and the justification of the art form will only be true when the audience allows it to.
I have had quite some incidences when the audience was not ready to receive what I had to communicate, I was asked to do something different, some of them laughed and gossiped while the performance was going on. Once, I was even asked to leave the stage because I was apparently boring them. During certain nukkad nataks, certain people even passed inappropriate comments on me and my fellow actors.
It is quite disheartening and downright demotivating to have such people in your audiences, but it is imperative to understand that such audiences is a part and parcel of an artist’s life. Thus it is only wise to accept them as experiences and move on
Aakanksha: What according to you, is your best critic who motivates you to do better?
Anannya: My mother, undoubtedly. She will unbashedly point out at my mistakes and will not go soft on me in any manner. She would even keep sitting during my practices and tell me where I am going wrong. She would constantly motivate me to strive for a better posture, better expressions. She would tell me to sit lower, bend deeper, stretch my arms, and correct very minute details which even I escape from noticing.
Aakanksha: Anything you want to say to our readers?
Anannya: I started my formal training when I was 18 years old. It is never too late to start any art form which you are passionate about. All you need is fiery passion and dedication towards your art. It is very important to understand that Art is not just dance, or a piece of artwork on a paper, or even a raaga. Art is in the minute things that you create out of your heart and mind. Creation is Art, and if you think you can create, nothing should be able to stop you. If you have the power to create, you can do anything. You only need to put on your caps and start working.
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