'Do dark-skinned kids win beauty pageants?' Sathyabhama refuses to apologise as controversy rages

Sathyabhama. Photo: Manorama News

Classical dancer Kalamandalam Sathyabhama didn't mince words when responding to media queries regarding her controversial remarks targeting dancer Dr R L V Ramakrishnan. She maintained that her comments reflected her opinion and lashed out at journalists while elaborating on her perspective of beauty in Mohiniyattam dance.

“A child performing Mohiniyattam dance, regardless of gender, must embody the essence of Mohini (the Hindu goddess of enchantment and female avatar of Lord Vishnu). It would be inappropriate if a mohanan (referring to men) performed Mohiniyattam. The name itself says Mohiniyattam. Being a Mohini requires beauty. Why don't individuals like us participate in beauty pageants? It demands beauty and colour. Do dark-skinned children ever win beauty pageants? Regardless of the criticism, I stand by my views," said Sathyabhama.

"I never said dark-skinned people should not dance. Dark-skinned girls may dance. Boys should be a little handsome in my opinion. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I'm not targetting anyone with my comments," she said.

Addressing questions about the identity of the individual referred to as 'he' in the interview, Sathyabhama retorted, "Let it be anyone, why do you need to know? I haven't named anyone. Why inquire? No one was individually targeted. No caste or religion was mentioned," she added.

Sathyabhama affirmed her commitment to speak out on matters related to her art and expressed no remorse for her statements. "When dark-skinned children come to learn dance, they receive training but are discouraged from competing," she said. She noted the existence of a category titled 'beauty' to rate students in professional dance studies and competitions. “But marks are not entered,” she said.

Ramakrishnan is the brother of the late actor Kalabhavan Mani. In an interview aired on a YouTube channel, Sathyabhama disparagingly commented that Ramakrishnan, "with his complexion resembling that of a crow, was unfit for Mohiniyattam performances".

The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.