Mallika Sarabhai – India

Linked with The Darpana Academy of Performing Arts. Linked also with another dancer, Tripurari Sharma – India, and her dancer school, the National School of Drama – New Delhi.

Mallika Sarabhai [Born 1954 (to be confirmed)] is one of the most renowned Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam dancers in India today.[1] Multi-faceted Malika holds a MBA and a doctorate from IIM Ahmedabad and has experience in acting, film-making, editing, and television anchoring. Mallika is the daughter of reputed dancer Mrinalini Sarabhai and renowned scientist Vikram Sarabhai. She started to learn dancing when she was quite young and started her film career in parallel cinema, when she was just 15. Mallika played the role of Draupadi in the Peter Brook’s movie The Mahabharata. Mallika has won many accolades during her long career, the -French Palme d’Or being one of them, which she won for the Best Soloist Artist. As well as a dancer, Sarabhai is a social activist. She, along with her mother, manages the Darpana Academy of Performing Arts located at Ahmedabad. She made headlines when she complained that the Narendra Modi government of Gujarat was harassing her due to her public criticism of their role during the 2002 riots; the government in late 2002 had accused her of human trafficking. The Gujarati government dropped the case in December 2004. Her son Revanta and daughter Anahita are upcoming classical dancers … (full text).

See the Videos: An Evening of Classical Indian Dance (Mallika & Group), 7.04 min (scroll down); Mallika Sarabhai’s Interview, 30 min, Mar 22, 2008.

She asks: “Why am I being crucified”.


Mallika Sarabhai – India

False Case Against Mallika Sarabhai, a letter From Mallika Sarabhai, not dated.

… In the 90s she had choreographed V for … lashing out at the violence in society; violence against women and human beings in general has been the focus of many of her works. “Capitalism and globalisation are by definition violent. Globalisation rapes the earth. Violence is also usually about making money. Anyone who feels powerless will take it out on someone…there is an ‘eat me’ chain out there.” Media’s glorification of consumption only adds to this, she avers. “We are pushing toward a less equitable society. Nobody glorifies kindness” … (full text).

Find her on Google Video-search; on Google Book-search; on Google Scholar-search; on Google Group-search; on Google Blog-search; on PIPL; on FANDANGO.

… Here is a previous example of the price that Sarabhai has to pay fro speaking up against Modi. (full text).

… In Indian dance there is no great tradition of creative choreography. It was Mrinalini Sarabhai who first used the Bharatanatyam vocabulary to speak of moods and themes other than the traditional devotional ones. She talked of bride burning and of pollution in her dance dramas. Mallika performed in these and absorbed the ideas but it is only in the last decade that she has started to choreograph herself, her company and even her mother. As she started to crystallize what it was she wanted to express through her work she drew on many elements to create her choreographic vocabulary … (full text).

… Mallika Sarabhai, who is under proceedings of Indian justice system, November 19, 2003 … (full text).

… Always an activist for societal education and women’s empowerment, Mallika began using her work for change. In 1989 she created the first of her hard-hitting solo theatrical works, Shakti: The Power of Women. Since then Mallika has created numerous stage productions which have raised awareness, highlighted crucial issues and advocated change, several of which productions have toured internationally as well as throughout India … (full text).

Does Gandhi still live in modern India? July 10, 2008.

… Personally she is a strong character with her own ideas and she feels that dance is a living language which you can interpret the way you think best. She has learned both the theory and practice of dance and her experiments include compositions like Draupadi, Shakti – The Power of Woman, Sita’s Daughters, Itan Kahani, Aspiration, Ganga, Surya etc. Whatever field she is involved in, be it an activist, writer, instigator of community projects, anchorperson of magazines or TV channels, painting with her feet, Mallika is so full of energy that she excels in it. (full text).

More Biographies: on Dancers of India; on Indian heroes; on 4 to 40; on

She says: … “A life free from violence is not really too much to ask, come to think of it, but it is a distant dream to many, many people powerless to take control of their lives. Disturbing issues like this seldom get treated on the proscenium stage where nayikas are still wont to wait eternally for their Lord while he dallies with other women; where the devotee is typically female and the Lord-With-A-Capital-L is always male. Meera and other saints have pointed out that in Vrindavan, there was only one male, and that was Krishna. All other humans are females according to the allegory. But somehow isn’t it much cozier for our contemporary Indo-Western mentality when the wives behave like Rukmini so that their men can be free to pretend they are Krishnas all (in the matter of dalliance only, mind)? Mallika mentions a comment from one of the Sakshi members that the audiences that come to plush auditoria to watch her shows are the toughest to communicate with on such sensitive issues, because they are part of that section of society that turns its head or muffles unpleasant topics under the clinking of crockery. Thus it is a happy alliance that Darpana and Sakshi have forged” … (full interview text).


  • Jute: Handlooms of India, by L. V. Saptharishi, Hardcover, Mapin Publishing Pvt. Limited, ISBN 8185822654 (81-85822-65-4);
  • Performing Arts of Kerala, by Mallika Sarabhai, Hardcover, Mapin Publishing Pvt. Limited, ISBN 8185822204 (81-85822-20-4);
  • More editions: Performing Arts of Kerala, Hardcover, Mapin Publishing Pvt. Limited, ISBN 0944142222 (0-944142-22-2).


Academics protest against Ashis Nandy’s harassment, 19 Jun 2008;

List of citizens of Ahmedabad awarded with national civilian honours;

List of Indian women in dance;

Category: Indian Dancers on wikipedia;

Category: Indian female singers on wikipedia;

Category: Indian actors on wikipedia;

Biographies of her mother, Mrinalini Sarabhai:

Comments are closed.