Advertisements are not only the cuppa of models, but Classical Dancers too can ace it. It was proved by Bharatanatyam dancing couple, The Dhananjayans in the Vodafone Advt., Ashrita Vemuganti in a Jewellery Advt. with South Indian and Bollywood Actors, and Sri Vari Padalu director Rama Devi N and her students – Yuga Rani, Rohitha, Durga, Yuga and Sreshta G in an advertisement with Actor Samantha and others and Naada Mudra School of Dance & Music director Chaithanya Kusuma Priya sharing space with Actor Kajal Agarwal. Natyahasini speaks to the dancers’ turned models, who’s first priority is Classical Dance only.
Everyone who watches Television must be remembering the Vodafone advertisements that featured an old couple on a visit to Goa. Yes, they are none other than VP Dhananjayan and Shanta Dhananjayan, Bharatanatyam dancers based out of Chennai, who created waves by portraying the lovable old couple on a second honeymoon – the man who is learning a scooter and the woman, who is into parasailing and also ink a tatoo. More recently, Babhubaali 2 actor Ashrita Vemuganti Nanduri was seen with the South Indian actors – Nagarjuna, Prabhu, Shiva Raj Kumar and Bollywood Star Couple – Jaya and Amitabh Bachchan featuring in a Jewellery advertisement.
Media Helps Artists: Ashrita Vemuganti Nanduri says that Media helps artists gain a wider reach. “Whether it’s television, ads, films, live shows and now the OTT, it’s always nice to see classical dancers on these platforms. But the important thing here is choosing the content you’re associated with as that defines your target audience. Quality is appreciated everywhere and collaborating with the like-minded is a feast for the makers and viewers as well,” the Bahubaali 2 actor says. The classical dancer quickly adds that social media plays a ‘Huge Role’ in bridging the gap between different mediums. For instance, many dancers have good following on Instagram and appearing in advertisements and films will enhance the same,” she says.
Bharatanatyam dancer and founder of Sri Vari Padalu Dance Academy, Rama Devi Nalla, says that she is very happy for her students – Yuga Rani, Rohitha Anand, Sreshta G and Gadpelly sisters – Durga and Yuga. “Acting is not an easy task, one needs lot of patience. When I was a kid, I had no opportunity like this. So, to see them in different fields, their diversified interest gives me great pleasure. During the pandemic, there were no programmes and we had no idea of the film industry. When we got an offer, I discussed with the parents and students and visited the shooting place. The atmosphere was very comfortable for students. Now, I am going with my students for shootings,” she says.
Patience Important: Rama Devi reveals that students thought for one-minute Advt., shooting would take about two hours, but they have shot for the full day and watched how much hard work goes into a one-minute advertisement. “Till now students have done five advertisements and a Dance program in MAA TV advertisement. It was great experience for students,” she says. The Sri Vari Padalu director says that their first advertisement was with actors Samantha and Sandhya Raju, directed by Nandini Reddy. “We again got a call from Nandini Reddy’s office for (Anni Manchi Shakunamuke…) 10 students (below 10 years kids) acted in this movie in a marriage song, and offers are pouring in for them,” she says.
The dancer shares that she was shocked when the director told her to act in a small bit. “I was told to just sit in the cab and enjoy my ride …. that I was part of an advertisement. Firstly, I felt very nervous as it was my first time and it was a very good experience for me,” she says. She appears in the WHIP RIDE Cab Services advertisement. “As it was not planned, I didn’t inform anyone and I thought I may not appear, but some of my students and their parents called me and informed that I too appear in the advertisement. It is a very happy moment for me,” Rama Devi says. The Guru says that she likes to see her students in movies with meaningful roles and in classical costumes only. During the filming, Rama Devi says, she had the opportunity to watch closely the function of every department and she learnt a lot from her observation.
Good Exploring: Bharatanatyam dancer and founder director of Naada Mudra School of Dance & Music, Chaithanya Kusuma Priya Ari, says that she never expected that she would be modelling for advertisements. “Got an opportunity through one of my Gurus. Thanks to my Guru and Charan Garu. It was good exploring in a different field. Got a chance to learn something new again,” she says. Chaithanya has appeared in two advertisements – CMR Shopping Mall and Telugu Foods. She says she is happy with the remuneration paid.
Chaithanya says her family has always encouraged her and they are happy for her. On acting in movies, Chaithanya says, she is not game for it as of now, but may consider it depending on the situation. “I want to keep myself closely associated with dance,” she says.
Dancer Yugarani Gadpelly reveals that she is glad to be part of an advertisement and has appeared in three advertisements – Vijayalakshmi Deer Minnapagundlu – along with actor Samantha, Whip Cab Aggregators and South India Shopping Mall. “I always wanted to see myself on television and appear on screen with a happy face. First time, I felt very nervous, but then it was fun while shooting. I felt very excited and enjoyed it. Overall, it was a very good experience to me,” she says.
Family Thrilled: Yugarani says that her family and friends are excited to watch her and her friends on TV. “It is a very happy moment for me to see my family excited. If given a chance, I would like to work in a film/movie,” she says, adding that after appearing in an advertisement they have realised how much effort the team puts in to create a single shot. “I would like to thank each and every member of the advertisement team,” she says. When questioned on remuneration, Yugarani says it is good, but she is happy with the experience she is getting from it.
Dancer Rohitha Anand says that the feeling of becoming a model is amazing as it is a new and good experience for her. She has appeared in four advertisements – Nilofer Café, Vijayalakshmi Deer Minnapagundlu, Whip taxi aggregator and South India Shopping Mall. “I was happy with the remuneration and to be honest I did the Advt. for the experience and it was a magical experience shooting for my first Advt. I did to as I’m interested in acting and would like to move forward in it,” she says. Rohitha says that her family and friends were happy for her featuring in an advertisement.
Will Love To Work In Films: “Yes, definitely I would like to play a role in movies. Growing up with it was my dream and it would really be nice to get an opportunity and I would use that opportunity to give my best as I’m interested in acting,” she says. Rohitha thanks the Advt. team who made them comfortable before canning the shots.
Durga Gadpelly, dancer also, echoes similar views. “As it was my dream to be a part of an entertainment industry. The words ‘Camera, Roll and Action’ made me smile. I have appeared in Vijayalakshmi Deer Minnapagundlu, as a student and Chandana Grand and South India Shopping Mall, as a dancer. Yes, I am happy with the remuneration,” she says. Durga says her parents had a proud moment to say that the dancer in the Advt. on TV is their daughter. She says, she will seize the opportunity to work in films. “I would like to thank all the members of the production team for not only helping us, but also teaching us how this whole process works,” she says.
Dancer Sreshta G says that when she first heard about the advertisement opportunity from her mom, she was very excited to be a part of it. “A joyful feeling took over me and I had been gushing to my friends about the wonderful opportunity presented to me. It was certainly a new thing for me and I was nervous too, but the feeling of happiness overpowered it. I am very thankful for my Guru for choosing me to be a part of it,” she says. Sreshta says, her first Advt. opportunity was for Vijayalakshmi Deer Minapagullu. I was elated to be a part of it. The most aspiring actress, Samantha was the lead in it which gave me an additional euphoric feeling,” she says.
Renumeration Secondary: Sreshta says her second Advt. was when she was picked for CMR (Chandana Brothers shopping mall) commercial. “There were many prominent actors present on the set,” she says and states that remuneration comes second in her perspective. “The chance of being a part of that industry was a huge thing for me. Nevertheless, I am content with what I’ve received.” The dancer says that her family and friends were happy, when they learnt about the advertisement opportunity knocking her door. “They congratulated me for receiving the opportunity and encouraged me to do well.”
The dancer is looking forward to another opportunity for performing a classical dance number in an advertisement with the help of her guru Rama Devi and parents who have guided her throughout. “Everyone should be experiencing different things in the tiny lifetime they are gifted with. I’m very happy that I’ve been lucky in that area with supportive people around me. Being a part of the advertisements has made me acquainted with the film industry a little. The little knowledge and experience I’ve acquired would be treasured,” she says.