Outrage over Kalamandalam Sathyabhama's casteist remarks against Kalabhavan Mani's brother RLV Ramakrishnan

Thrissur: Renowned classical dancer Kalamandalam Sathyabhama has found herself at the centre of a raging controversy following her colour-tinged casteist remark against late actor Kalabhavan Mani's brother and dancer R L V Ramakrishnan.

In an interview aired on a YouTube channel, Sathyabhama reportedly remarked that it was annoying to see men performing Mohiniyattam, and that Ramakrishnan had the “colour of a crow”.

“People who perform Mohiniyattam should have an alluring figure of a Mohini. This man has the colour of a crow. Mohiniyattam is an art form that has to be performed with one's feet apart. There's nothing so disgusting as to see a man performing Mohiniyattam with his legs positioned awkwardly. In my opinion, if Mohiniyattam has to be performed by men, then they should be remarkably handsome. There are good-looking boys too. But this man performing Mohiniyattom will not be tolerated even by his own mother,” Sathyabhama said in the interview.

The same has resulted in widespread protests, including on social media. Many people came out in support of Ramakrishnan. Following this, Ramakrishnan also posted a note on social media explaining his educational qualifications and said that legal action would be taken against Sathyabhama.

This is Ramakrishnan's post (translated from Malayalam):
“Dear Art Lovers,
An artist who has added the very special name ‘Kalamandalam’ to her name has been abusing me repeatedly. She says that I am 'black like a crow' and that only those who have fair skin and beautiful should perform Mohiniyattam. She says that even my mother wouldn't see me performing. She says that only beautiful women should perform Mohiniyattam. She has also alleged that I do not have the educational qualifications.

"She utters that I've learned something from some institution. But I can say that I am standing in this field by studying honestly and succeeding. I passed out of the RLV College Tripunithura in 1996 after studying Mohiniyattam. After completing four years of diploma and post-diploma, I bagged the first rank in MA Mohiniyattam from MG University.

"Apart from this, I was the MPhil top scorer in Performing Arts from Kerala Kalamandalam and completed PhD in Mohiniyattam at the same institute. I have also cleared the NET exam of UGC to become eligible to be an Assistant Professor. Apart from this, I was also selected as  ‘A Grade’ artist by Doordarshan Kendra. For more than 15 years, I have served as a guest lecturer in the Department of Mohiniyattam at Kalady Sanskrit University and RLV College.

"This honorable guru who has added Kalamandalam to her name, had insulted me earlier also in Kalamandalam. She did not like me staying in the field of Mohiniyattam and getting a PhD in Mohiniyattam. Due to such persons, a Scheduled Caste artiste cannot stand in the field of dance today. I will bring such people with a degenerate mind before the law.”

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