Kathak exponent Sharvari Jamenis is a bundle of talent and beauty
Today I want you all to meet Ustad Bismilla Khan Yuva Puraskar winner Sharvari Jamenis, who is not only an accomplished actress from the Marathi film industry but also a renowned Kathak dancer based in Pune. For Sharvari her art is her life and the teachings of her Guru Rohini Bhate is her medium to worship her art. She holds a special place in my heart because she has been my student too, here are excerpt from my chat with this firebrand dancer:
What motivated you to take up dance? And what happened after that?
I started dancing at the age of seven thanks to my mother who was very fond of dance. She wanted to learn but was not allowed as my grandfather followed the rigid societal thoughts that girls from decent families never dance. She got me enrolled into Nritya Bharati Kathak Dance Academy. I was just an ordinary student for almost three years until Dr Rohini Bhate Tai started teaching me, which is when my hobby turned to passion
Rohini Tai was not only known for her Kathak, but also for her knowledge, literature, contribution in maintaining, purifying and glorifying the beauty of Kathak. As she had learnt Kathak from two Gurus – Pandit Mohan Rao ji Kalyanpurkar of Jaipur Gharana and Pandit Lachhu Maharaj ji from Lucknow Gharana, she was adept in both the styles. By the time I started learning under her tutelage she was in her sixties and had spent almost four decades in Kathak so what I learnt more was her own compositions which had a reflection of both the styles, the beauty of both the styles. So I can proudly say that I belong to Rohini Gharana which is a blend of both the styles.
Rohini Tai not only taught me how to dance but also gave me an insight, a broader vision of how to look at dance from different aspects, with different dimensions. I have followed only Rohini Tai for my dance training and was able to work under her for almost 25-30 years.
Although she is no more alive now, she remains with me through her values, her teachings and blessings. She kept me working more and more on my dance. I was also fortunate to get some guidance about Lay and Taal from Taalyogi Pt Suresh Talwalkar ji.
How difficult is it as an actress dancer to survive when tagged as filmy dancer?
Really difficult. Dance from the beginning was my planned choice of career. When I was pursuing my Kathak education, my debut film Bindhaast accidently came in my life, the role offered was so strong that I could not refuse. I took the permission of my Guru to begin the new journey. Soon though I feared losing my pace or my interest in Kathak in Rohini Tai’s eyes.
But the real struggle began when she started feeling that I might have started with loud abhinaya. I, on my part, had rejected many a lead role in daily soaps just so that I should not get detached from my riyaaz and class. So they started feeling that I am not that interested in doing television or films. But deep inside I enjoyed both and I love both, but it was my struggle and I could never really live without dance. My effort at keeping the dignity and purity of my dance and being loyal with my art form bore fruit and today people know me more as a dancer which makes me happy.
You have learnt other dance styles too but kept your love for Kathak alive.
Yes, I have done a basic course of Latin American Dance under you which I still cherish and later on being an actress I had got to perform at several award ceremonies and functions that too with a variety of genres. And then I knew that I can’t force anybody to let me be in my classical zone. It’s generally difficult for pure classical dancers to change the style and get comfortable but I had worked as an aerobic instructor for 12 years, so my body allows me to adjust and mould myself as per the need. By that I mean, the flexibility or postures I use while classical dance or what should I do while performing a folk dance. I like other dance forms too, but Kathak is the inspiration behind all other dance forms. Kathak I will never leave.
Which film made you work hardest for dance?
Unfortunately, I never got a film wherein I could dance the way I want to. I have acted in almost 13-14 films and I worked as a choreographer in two out of which memorable would be Samudra, for which I also received state award for best choreographer. I acted, enacted and choreographed for that film as well. It was a beautiful tarana featuring me and Jr. Sonali kulkarni. And hardest I would say, was a Hindi film I did, I had rehearsed my part a lot as I knew almost 200-300 dancers were dancing behind me and I had to do it right, but then the lead actress did not do any rehearsals and directly gave the shot for camera. When it did not work out well, the choreographer asked me to slow down my speed and follow the lead. Which was very difficult for me because I knew that I was not wrong but could not really help. Now you all keep guessing the film and the lead actress (smiles).