Look Inside

Non-Gharanedaar Pt Mohanrao Kallianpurkar The Paviour of Kathak

FREE Delivery
Delivery Ships in 1-3 days
Item Code: UAK403
Publisher: Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
Author: Shama Bhate, Arshiya Sethi and Shilpa Bhide
Language: English
Edition: 2022
ISBN: 9789393853103
Pages: 190 (Throughout Color and B/W Illustrations)
Other Details 9.50 X 7.00 inch
Weight 480 gm
Fully insured
Fully insured
Shipped to 153 countries
Shipped to 153 countries
More than 1M+ customers worldwide
More than 1M+ customers worldwide
100% Made in India
100% Made in India
23 years in business
23 years in business
Book Description
Back of the Book

Kathak dance will never again get anyone so educated, stylish and dignified as Mohanrao Kallianpurkar.

This book is about Mohanraoji's persona and his contribution. Various aspects of Kathak are being brought to light through it, which makes me very happy about it.

Pt Mohanrao Kallianpurkar is a colossal figure in the world of Kathak. He singlehandedly gave a modern format to both institutional training and presentation, which remain dominant even today. He was well read, had intellectual rigour and an openness of mind. His biography is a chronicle of the growth and dynamism of Kathak in modern times.

I had known Pt Mohanrao Kallianpurkar since I was a baby and have learnt a lot from him. This is a very important book to understand his approach towards performing arts.

I met Mohanrao ji in 1972. He was a complete artist and an epitome of classicism ...a visionary who modernised Kathak while being firmly rooted in tradition. I am extremely happy that his biography, which is also a chronicle of contemporary legendary artists of those times, is being brought out. It is bound to inspire generations of artists for years to come.

This is a timely writing about a generous, noble and visionary human being. Not only is the topic extraordinary but the process of commemorating his memory has been an unusual collaborative process by three committed and talented women. Altogether, this carries the promise of deep and riveting reading, especially for dance lovers.

About The Book

Shama Bhate

Shama Bhate, principal disciple of Guru Smt. Rohini Bhate and Pt Suresh Talwalkar, is known for her innovative work in Kathak dance, spanning over fifty years, as performer, choreographer, guru, artistic director and thinker. Director of a unique Pune-based institute - Nadroop - she is on the advisory board of numerous dance and art academies.

Arshiya Sethi

Twice a Fulbright Fellow, arts activist, dance scholar, institution builder and curator in the dance-sphere, Dr Arshiya Sethi writes academic essays, books and two popular monthly columns. She has established the Kri Foundation working on arts, knowledge systems and activism. She edits the international dance journal South Asian Dance Intersections (SADI).

Shilpa Bhide

A versatile polyglot, Shilpa Bhide's proficiency lies in translating texts to dance - in four languages. Following her long and rigorous training in Kathak under Vidushi Shama Bhate, she established the Bilvaani School of Dance and Movement Based Learning and currently works on applying techniques from Indian classical dance and music to school pedagogy.


Guru Sunder Prasad ji was running a school of Kathak in Mumbai (then called Bombay). My mother took me there - I must have been nine years old - as she wanted me to learn the best and guruji was a very highly esteemed teacher. One young boy, slim and tall, was dancing in the classroom. What he did was so fast and he was taking spins and stamping his feet to the bols which guruji was reciting. This was Mohanrao Kallianpurkar and he was certainly the best.

After that I saw Mohanrao ji once in a performance; he looked different, wearing an angrakha and a cap. In the meantime, I had seen other Kathak dancers but Mohanrao ji was different because he did not belong to the community of dancers from Jaipur. Here was a young man, educated, from a traditional Maharashtrian family, who had taken to the dance like he was born to it.

Mohanrao ji was later based in Lucknow where he taught at the Marris College. As Shambhu Maharaj ji was living in Lucknow at the time, he had become good friends with him and the two exchanged tukdas and parans from their two gharanas of Lucknow and Jaipur. If Maharaj ji would recite a tukda, Mohanrao ji would immediately recite a joda with the similar bol patterns and tihai in the Jaipur bols.

I was studying with Guru Shambhu Maharaj ji in Delhi at Bhartiya Kala Kendra and Mohanrao ji would call me to take the exams of the students. Both he and I being Maharashtrian, there was a special bond between us.

Bharatiya Kala Kendra in Delhi was looking for a Director for the Kathak School. Sumitra Charat Ram ji, who had established the school, invited Mohanrao ji to become the Director. It was the love of Kathak which made him accept the offer. He tried to bring a new paradigm in the teaching and performing of Kathak. Unfortunately, the politics in the Kathak world was not in Mohanrao ji's realm of functioning.

His wife, a doctor, was popular in Hubli and his three children were all highly educated. This goes to show how well he had balanced his career in dance and his family life.

Rohini Bhate, the well-known dancer and academician of Kathak, had taken a great deal of training from Mohanrao ji. She used to make trips to Lucknow and then visit him in Hubli. She had the best of Mohanrao ji's style of Kathak. In 1985, at Hubli, Mohanrao ji fell ill and breathed his last at home.

Kathak dance will never again get anyone as educated, stylish and dignified as Mohanrao Kallianpurkar.


Three authors, located in two cities, got together in the most difficult times known to humans, to bring you one story - the story of an unusual man who, born in south India, went on to become a paviour of the only classical dance form of the north. This is the story of Pt Mohanrao Kallianpurkar, who was an unquestioned pioneer of Kathak, the very first non-gharanedaar dancer, that is a bloodline dancer, to attain national recognition for his mastery of the form which he served for over fifty years. Even after his death, in a way he continues to serve Kathak, for the syllabus he created is still being taught at many universities, including the M.S. University Vadodara, Banaras Hindu University, Khairagarh University and Hyderabad University.

This is an important story to tell for many reasons. The first is that it has not been told before. This is the first book on Mohanrao Kallianpurkar and has been written keeping in mind the ever-growing Kathak community in India and the large diasporic and international presence of Kathak and its practitioners. Second, there are few books on dance, its history and its pioneers. This book attempts to fill this gap. It looks at the life, times and contributions of one seminal pioneer. Kathak has a stronger tradition of oral and anecdotal histories. They thrive in gharana settings as gharanedaar artists recount, time after time, stories of the titans from their gharana. As a non-gharanedaar artist, Mohanrao ji would not have the benefit of becoming a part of Kathak's oral history, and there is the real fear that the uniqueness, richness and complexity of his role and contributions to Kathak would be lost to us if it were not told in a more permanent manner through a book.

The authors do not claim that this book is comprehensive. There are many reasons for this. It was written in the times of Covid. That fact served both as a deterrent and as a catalyst. As a deterrent because we could not travel, access libraries and other archives; as a catalyst because we knew that if we didn't act now, we would have had an even smaller history and story to share later, and would have lost an opportunity to order the historical line and generate authentic encounters with the past, for future generations. As it is, during the process, sometimes even before we could reach the appointed date of the interview, we tragically lost our informant. Sometimes we lost them between one interview and the next. It required a steely resolve to persist despite the various waves of Covid, but we remained determined, convinced that forgotten pasts lead to forgettable futures.

At the time when Mohanrao Kallianpurkar, coming from a prestigious Chitrapur Saraswat Brahmin family, wanted to learn dance, few males from non-dancer families were learning dance. For women, there was already a strong stigma associated with the art of public dancing. But for men, dance was doubly a stigma marker, something only a 'particular type' of women practised. His interesting journey, of how as a motherless young man, dependent on his uncles and aunts for support, he managed to learn dance and stay with it all his life, is by itself reason enough to write this story.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Q. What locations do you deliver to ?
    A. Exotic India delivers orders to all countries having diplomatic relations with India.
  • Q. Do you offer free shipping ?
    A. Exotic India offers free shipping on all orders of value of $30 USD or more.
  • Q. Can I return the book?
    A. All returns must be postmarked within seven (7) days of the delivery date. All returned items must be in new and unused condition, with all original tags and labels attached. To know more please view our return policy
  • Q. Do you offer express shipping ?
    A. Yes, we do have a chargeable express shipping facility available. You can select express shipping while checking out on the website.
  • Q. I accidentally entered wrong delivery address, can I change the address ?
    A. Delivery addresses can only be changed only incase the order has not been shipped yet. Incase of an address change, you can reach us at help@exoticindia.com
  • Q. How do I track my order ?
    A. You can track your orders simply entering your order number through here or through your past orders if you are signed in on the website.
  • Q. How can I cancel an order ?
    A. An order can only be cancelled if it has not been shipped. To cancel an order, kindly reach out to us through help@exoticindia.com.
Add a review
Have A Question

For privacy concerns, please view our Privacy Policy