Kuchipudi dancer takes a break from colourful life, turns Covid warrior
Malappuram: The pandemic has changed the life of many people. Popular Kuchipudi dancer Anil Vettikattiri is one among them who switched to a new life as a Covid warrior. The dancer who used to perform in colourful attires has been wearing PPE kits as an attender in a hospital.
The job in the hospital amid the Covid crisis is a different experience for him. During the dance programmes, Anil enjoyed the cheerful reaction from his audience. But at the hospital, he is seeing a lot of suffering people.
Anil, a native of Pandikkad in Malappuram, is one of the rare dancers who performs female role in Kuchipudi. He performed in many places across India and composed many dance drama. He is a recipient of several awards too.
But the pandemic outbreak shattered the dreams of many artists including Anil. He was forced to quit his passion and work as a hospital attender for a livelihood.
“I discontinued dancing since the first wave of Coronavirus. Earlier, some of my disciples used to support me financially. But they also have their limitations. So I had to find a livelihood. As the pandemic crisis continued, I realised that it is impossible to start dance programmes,” Anil described his life.
“Finally, I managed to get a job as an attender at a private hospital in Perinthalmanna. Actually, the pandemic taught me about the importance of a job,” he added.
“I was surrounded by an audience who enjoy dance and love artists. But at present, I’m seeing a completely different atmosphere at the hospital. Often, I witness heartbreaking incidents there. I meet people who come for dialysis, accident victims and so on," he said.
"On the first day of my job, I handled an accident case. In the initial days, I found it very difficult to adapt myself to the new life. But my colleagues motivated me a lot. They advised me to work with dedication by treating each patient as a family member,” said Anil.
“One day, I handed over a dead body to relatives. Actually, I broke into tears when they received the body. Such incidents are experiences in life. I think the job has given me an opportunity to learn life,” he added.
Anil as a Kuchipudi dancer
Anil is the only Kuchipudi dancer in Kerala who performs wearing female's dancing attire. He learned the primary lessons of the dance form from his sister Usha Sreenivas.
Later, he became disciple of Nilambur Indrani Viswanath, Geetha Sukumaran, Nilambur Mohanan Master, Gireesh Naduvath, Kalamandalam Husna Banu, Dr Vasundhara Duraiswamy and Vaijayanthi Kashi.
He also learned musical instruments Nattuvankam and Chenda under Madurai Chellappa Iyer.
He continued his studies in Kuchipudi under noted dancer Anupama Mohan.
He has shared stage with his Guru at popular temples in Kuchipudi village, Chidamabaram, Tanjore, Kumbakonam, Thiruvaiyaru and Tirupati. He also runs a dance school named Bharatanjali Nritha Kalashethra at Pandikkad.