Synopsis

It was the year 1944 - Sitting entralled in the audience at Excelsior Theatre was savitadidi Mehta, watching a solo performance by Guru Nabh Singh. It was her first exposure to Manipuri dance and from there was a born passion to learn this art form.

Her search for truth led her to Manipur where she met and persuaded Guru Amudan Sharma, the leading dancer and musician in the court of the Maharaja of Manipur, to accept her as his pupil. For nearly two years, she learnt from him and also from other Gurus who were masters of the different styles of Manipuri dance and the musical instruments. The Gurus requested the maharaja of Manipur, Shri Bodhchandra Singhji, to convene his Court of Nobles to take her test, which lasted seven hours. Her performance was outstanding and the Mahara conferred on her the title "Meitei Jagoi Hanjabi." She was also elected a fellow of the Manipuri State Kala Academy and conferred the title of Nrityaratna.

Recognizing that the system of oral tradtion that helped the knowledge of Manipuri-dance to survive through the generations was fast dying, she embarked on the almost insurmountable task of codifying all the knowledge of Manipuri dance into an encyclopedia that would stand the test of time.

Years of extensive research, with the inputs and authentication by the best teachers, artists, and gurus of Manipur went into committing to paper the entire dance, sequence, spoken words, the music of each instrument and singer, illustration of dance steps and explanatory notes to the meaning, story, and purpose of the dance.

The result is this treatise on Manipuri Nata Sankirtana - a labour of love and zeal, completed and posthumously published and dedicated to the lotus feet of Shri Govindji.