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With freedom, creativity flows

The grand dame of Indian performing arts and director of Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra Shobha Deepak Singh shares the secret of her success

education Updated: Oct 14, 2009 10:21 IST
Pranab Ghosh

School days
I was educated at the Convent of Jesus and Mary and spent the last three years (of school) at Modern School.

Formative years
As a child, I learnt sitar from Ravi Shankar and singing from Aminuddin Dagar. Thereafter, I learnt Kathak from the age of six from Shambhu Maharaj and Birju Maharaj, and continued to learn on a daily basis until 1988. I then went on to learn sarod from Biswajit Roy Chowdhury and Amjad Ali Khan. From 1992 to 1995, I undertook a course in theatre direction from Ebrahim Alkazi and was his assistant director in four plays. My association with Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra began in 1968, and I became its director in 1984.

Performing arts
My romance with performing arts began 40 years ago on August 22, 1969. Starting with cataloguing costumes, I went on to costume and ornament design. Then I wrote dance scripts and finally became a producer. The most happening period of my life was the four years with Ebrahim Alkazi.

Professional high
There is a lot to learn yet. I now feel I should revisit my work and begin my ‘second’ innings. I did, however, have a professional high after the first show of Kala Kendra’s ballet Khajuraho in 1982. The country had never seen such a celebration of erotica with such limb and body movements. It was all over the media. This was also the first time I received fan mail. I have always shared my highs with only one person — my husband (Deepak Singh) who has always encouraged me to attain lofty goals.

Personal high
My personal highs have been many, the most important being my wedding in 1967, and then again when I received a call on January 25, 1999, that I was nominated for the Padma Shri.

Success secret
On a personal level, I pursue with passion whatever I undertake. Perhaps this is a reason for my success. I think creativity flourishes the most where there is freedom, and I have had that freedom. I believe the person who goes the farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare. I have dared.

As told to Pranab Ghosh