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“When I was acting, I was not married,
When I was married, I was not acting”

Interview with Vyjayanthimala Bali

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Renowned Bharathanatyam exponent and former actress of the Hindi film world, Dr. Vyjayanthimala Bali presented a recital of the classical dance form at Alwar Kala Bhavan in Gokulam 3rd stage, Mysore under the auspices of Sri Krishna Seva Samithi Charitable Trust. Prof. S. K. Ananda Thirtha met with her at the residence of the Trust President Janaki Alwar and asked a few questions, which the artiste answered with apparent delight.

Excerpts

Acting in films and running the family. Were there any problems?
Very simple. When I was acting in films, I was not married. When I got married, I stopped acting in films.

You were a Member of the Parliament. Do you think politics is your cup of tea?
Why not? I love to be in politics. But my commitment to dance, dance recitals and research work do not give me enough time to join politics.

Your exposure and involvement in dance. Do you think it helped in your film career?
I have reaped a lot of benefit being a dancer. Practising and performing dance are equivalent to practising yoga. Dance is mixed in religion and our culture. Being a devout Hindu, thinking of Hindu mythology, understanding of Hindu epics becomes possible only because of practising this art. It has helped me to be strong mentally and physically and to concentrate. You see how agile I am. I am not for fusion of western culture with Indian traditional dance. Our own dance culture has greater dignity and versatility.

(Suddenly Vyjayanthimala re-collected her dance recital on Shiria Tirumadal, a part of it sung by Thirumangai Alwar. She said a part of it she had depicted via dance very successfully. As exclaimed by Janaki Alwar, the grace, Bhakthi with which it was performed with two pots in two hands for fifteen minutes, was a treat to watch. The ancestors of Vyjayanthimala are from Mysore. The late Mandayam Dhati, Gopalacharya, her grandfather started Mahila Sadana on Narayana Shastri Road, Mysore, in the year 1938. She is very proud that she very much belongs to Karnataka).

You were a celebrity in Bollywood. Please comment on Bollywood then and now.
During my times there used to be a lot of discipline, dignity, specially with respect to dress code and dedication to work. Now, it is totally a different scenario. Apeing the West has become the order of the day. I am not really happy with the changing trend.

Your message to young aspirants who wish to join the glamour world?
Now there is a sea change in the industry. Let them not really bother about unwanted exposure. If there is pure talent, discipline, dedication and readiness to work hard, there should not be any problem. They can hit the headlines. But a word of advise: let them be cautious.

Your views (impressions) on Sri Krishna Temple and Mysore?
Mysore is undoubtedly a beautiful city. I love it. Extremely lovable and admirable people all around. The serene, calm, cool atmosphere of the Sri Krishna Temple has impressed me very much. The deity Lord Krishna, the Murthy looks very powerful and beautiful. If Janakiyamma wants me to perform again sometime here, I will be very happy to do it.

Courtesy: Star of Mysore

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