Rajkumari Sharma Tankha
She got the dance in her genes –both her parents, father Guru Chandi Singh and mother Serojini Devi, were well-known Manipur dancers. Even her grandparents – both maternal and paternal – were performers. Growing up amid such illustrious artistes, it was natural that Molina got swayed towards dance.
“Belonging to a family of performers, I was encouraged to pursue my passion, but to take it up as a profession was not something they advised. And while I agreed with my family to a certain extent considering it is an uncertain and demanding field with little returns, this is what I wanted to make my career in. Thankfully, my expertise got me scholarships throughout my student days so finances never became an issue,” says Singh, who recently performed at Kamani Auditorium in New Delhi.
All through her school (Mount Carmel School) and college (SSLNT) days in Dhanbad, she was a popular child of the city. “It was a regular practice that any dignitaries visiting the city would be welcomed by my dance performance,” she smiles.
Like her parents though, Molina didn’t take up Manipuri dance. She got swayed towards Odissi “But it was not a planned decision, rather a challenge. Dance critic Shyamhai Chakra wanted me to reach Bhubaneshwar, the land of odissi, and learn the much-evolved Odissi of today’s time,” she says, adding that being an avid learner she loved the challenge thrown at her. “I am always on a quest to learn more. Failure doesn’t bother me. I would rather die trying than perish doing nothing in life,” she remarks.
So, in 2010, Singh started learning Odissi. The first three years – 2010 to 2013 – she was under the tutelage of Guru Daksha Mashruwala, the well-known Odissi artist from Mumbai, who was awarded the prestigious Uday Shankar Choreography Award in 2017 by Attendance Annual Awards. In 2015, she connected with Guru Lingaraj Pradhan, a Yuva Bismillah Khan awardee from Sangeet Natak Akademi, and the Head of the Dance department at the Utkal Sangeet Mahavidyalay, Bhubaneshwar.
Talking about Delhi as a hub of performing arts, she says, “My growth as an artist mostly happened here. I learned Kathak from Guru Urmila Nagar and Guru Rammohan Maharaj. Then I joined the ballet unit of Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra as the lead. Around the same time, I also joined Ebrahim Alkazi to hone my acting skills. Training under him made me see things in different perspectives. My growth as a performer happened the most under him.”
The two artistes, who have left a permanent mark on her and who she also considers her ideals are Ebrahim Alkazi and Shobha Deepak Singh. “Alkazi ji taught me to cultivate a deep understanding of art in almost everything which you see, hear, feel and to give it your interpretation while I admire Shobhaji for her management skills and profound understanding of art,” she says.
Molina Singh with Guru Dr Sonal Mansingh, Shobha Deepak Singh and
her husband actor Sushant Singh at Kamani Auditorium, New Delhi
Singh loves her plants and maintains a large green family. She is a foodie too and loves to cook. “Travelling is another of my avid interests,” she says. But dance remains her first and topmost interest. “Physically I do my riyaaz for two-three hours, but mentally I am in constant riyaaz mode” she says, all set for a performance as Meera in Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra ballet Meera at Kamani Auditorium, New Delhi on February 1.