Malay Indian dancer wins trip to Mumbai

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Kuala Lumpur, Jan.18 (ANI): A Malay Indian, who started out as a bharat natyam dancer at 11, has won a ticket to Mumbai for winning the Siva Gopal Award here.

Prakash Kandasamy, a father of two, recalls he was also studying tabla under Suresh Ramachandran back in 1989 "because the school needed more male students".

He told the New Strait Times, that his fascination for the arts perked up during a fortnight-long visit to Malaysia by Ustad Usman Khan, the grandson of Ustad Rehmat Khan of Dharwadis, the man credited with turning the three-stringed sitar into the seven-stringed instrument of today.

"I was studying at Taylor's College then and was cutting classes to watch the performances. I was caught up by the tabla playing and would practise in the costume room. Usmanji heard me play one afternoon," recalls Prakash.

That night, young Prakash was asked by the sitar maestro to perform with him on stage.

"I was so scared. I told him, 'so sorry, I don't think I can play'. But Usmanji insisted."

The music master then asked Prakash to study with him in Pune, a city about four hours by road from Mumbai, and the rest is history.

The 35-year-old, with 60 TFA tabla students under him today, is as excited about that memory as he is about being awarded the Datin Paduka Seri Endon Award for Performing Arts Excellence last night.

The award comes with a RM 50,000 scholarship sponsored by YTL as well as an opportunity to perform at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre. (ANI)

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