RLV Ramakrishnan
RLV RamakrishnanFacebook

Kerala Kalamandalam lifts gender restrictions to study Mohiniyattam

The decision came after a controversy surrounding dancer Sathyabhama’s derogatory statements against Mohiniyattam artiste RLV Ramakrishnan.

In a historic move, the Kerala Kalamandalam Deemed University lifted gender restrictions to enrol for its Mohiniyattam course. According to a statement issued by the Registrar, Kalamandalam welcomed admissions irrespective of gender from the next academic year. 

The decision came in the wake of a raging controversy over the derogatory and casteist remarks made by dancer Sathyabhama against Mohiniyattam artiste RLV Ramakrishnan. The proposal was unanimously passed during an administrative meeting held on Wednesday, March 27. 

In a recent interview with a YouTube channel, Sathyabhama said that it is “disgusting” to watch male dancers perform Mohiniyattam, especially those performers who are dark complexioned. She also added that if men have to perform, they should be exceptionally handsome. The remarks were allegedly directed against RLV Ramakrishnan, who holds a doctoral degree in Mohiniyattam and is an A-grade artiste in Doordarshan.

Even after the statement gave rise to a major controversy in the state, she reiterated her opinions to journalists who questioned her statements. Sathyabhama said that the criterion of “beauty” in youth festival score sheets meant good looks, which she equated to light skin tones. 

Following the controversy, the Kerala Human Rights Commission filed a suo motu case against Sathyabhama. Ramakrishnan also lodged a police complaint stating that she insulted him. 

Kalamandalam had condemned Sathyabhama’s statements and had invited Ramakrishnan to perform Mohiniyattam at its famed Koothambalam. The decision to admit students irrespective of their gender to the Mohiniyattam course came on the very next day after his performance.

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