By Dr Wong Chee Meng, N Nedumaran
This autobiography written in the voice of K P Bhaskar (1925-2013) and posthumously published in 2015 is an important read in the Indian performing arts space of Singapore. K P Bhaskar is the first Singaporean dance pioneer in modern Singapore and his contributions towards the propagation of dance outside of India is noteworthy. The book chronicles his early life in Kerala and how he came into contact with various dance forms especially Kerala Nadanam and Kathakali. His journey from Kerala to Madras to Bangalore to Ceylon and finally Singapore makes for riveting reading and provides historical context on the intertwined relationship between celluloid-dance-music which K P Bhaskar witnessed.
He also names many individuals who helped and hindered him in his pursuit for dance and critiques his own community for their failings to support the arts magnanimously. The book should have had more photographs of his performances and greater insight on the continuation of his legacy and succession. There are many insights on his role and the Singapore approach to forge cultural identity through performing arts. The book raises important questions about the relationship between artistes, art companies, community and government. This is a must read for all Indian arts practitioners especially in Singapore.
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