Founder Director of Jyothi Kalakshetram and Kuchipudi dancer, Jyothi Reddy, who recently performed in the Naada Neerajanam Programme at Tirupati is unhappy that unlike previous times, this time the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams did not pay any remuneration to the artists. Speaking to Natyahasini, Jyothi Reddy shared that TTD did not provide any travel expenses, accommodation, darshan, remuneration to the artists this time. “We had to take care of everything on our own. We travelled from Hyderabad to Tirupati for the performance and had to spend Rs. 5,000 per head just to perform our ancient Art,” she says.
The dancer was hurt that the TTD even did not provide free darshan for the artists. When requested, they were told that due to COVID, darshan was not being provided. “When thousands of people are provided darshan per day, why are not the artists, who number a few are provided,” she questioned.
Jyothi Reddy says that there is no better devotee of the Lord, other than the classical dancers and musicians, who devote their entire life from morning to night for learning, practicing, composing and training in their chosen Art. “We spend every single minute thinking about the Lord, Gods, Goddesses and their stories and spreading our culture which is entwined to our Sanathana Dharma,” she says. According to her, if TTD provided Lord’s darshan for dancers after their performance would be helpful and a blessing of the Lord.
She alleged that the artists were not allowed to use the green rooms, and the TTD officials had asked them to stay outside green room and get ready. She wanted to know how can female classical dancers wear costumes and get make-up done in an open area. “Is this the value given to the artists,” she said with anguish. Jyothi Reddy also pointed out that the TTD vehicle driver, who came to pick them up from the station spoke rudely.
The Kuchipudi artist mentioned that after the programme ended, there was no TTD official present to honour the artists and provide Lord’s Prasadam. She was of the opinion that this reflected disrespect of the TTD management towards the Art and artists and killing the Art. She recalls that when they performed in 2018, they were honoured and provided accommodation, pickup, drop, food, L1 Darshan, Sanmanam on stage to all artists with shawl and prasadam and grade-based remuneration.
Jyothi Reddy appealed to the TTD management to look into her plea for the benefit of Art & Artists.