Renowned Kuchipudi dancer and teacher Sobha Naidu passed away on Wednesday. She was 64 years old. The Padma Shri awardee passed away early on Wednesday morning at a private hospital in Hyderabad where she had been undergoing treatment, The New Indian Express reported.
Born in Anakapalle in Andhra’s Visakhapatnam district in 1956, she learned Kuchipudi from Vempati Chinna Satyam in Chennai. She established the Srinivasa Kuchipudi Art Academy in Hyderabad in 1980, and has been the principal of the institution, teaching hundreds of students and producing several ballets and solo performances.
In an interview with Deccan Chronicle, Sobha Naidu had said that it was former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Marri Chenna Reddy who advised her to set up the Kuchipudi academy, at a time when she was a performing artiste in Chennai. “Since the dance has its roots amongst the Telugu people, he felt it ideal that their capital city has a centre to teach it,” she had told DC.
She had choreographed and presented many ballets, like Kalyana Srinivasam, Ksheera Sagara Madhanam and Girija Kalyaanam, and was appreciated for portraying the roles of Satyabhama, Padmavathi and others in the Hindu mythological dramas. Her performances have been organised by the TTD (Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams) across India, and by TANA (Telugu Association of North America) across the world, including the UK, Syria, Turkey, and Hong Kong.
Apart from being awarded the Padma Shri in the field of arts in 2001, Sobha Naidu has also received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for Kuchipudi in 1991, among several other recognitions.
In her DC interview, Sobha Naidu also mentioned that in her younger days, her teacher Vempati Chinna Satyam would send her to train actors like Hema Malini and Jayalalithaa.
The Chief Ministers of both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, K Chandrasekhar Rao and Jagan Mohan Reddy, have expressed their condolences over her passing.