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 Cover Story



BY Himabindu Chitta ('02), Krithika Kalyan ('00), Bharathi Balakrishnan ('00), Deeptha Ganapathy ('95), Aditi Pany ('00) and Dileepan Narayanan ('00) 

Creative Arts

India has always been well renowned for its culture, art and architecture. Recently the West has also seen the success of the “Indian Engineer”. A union of these two phenomena has led to the emergence of a new breed of individual – the creative intellect. To explain this new breed of individual, we must explore the nature and definition of creativity a little further.
Creativity is defined as the ability to produce new things or new knowledge. One of the principal ways to be creative is to look for alternative ways to view phenomena or for alternative ways to ask a question. Robert Sternberg's theory attributes several factors that influence creativity - Intelligence, Knowledge, Thinking Styles, Personality, Motivation and other Environmental factors. Maybe creativity also requires a touch of eccentricity and stubbornness.

Voila! Is this not the environment in BITS, Pilani in a nutshell? Be it OASIS, APOGEE, plays by drama clubs, music nites or any other cultural event in BITS, we have had the opportunity to explore and nurture our creative side. Let me illustrate with some highlights from our own BITSian women who are prime examples of success in creative arts.

Anuradha Gupta (nee Sharma) who has a MMS degree from BITS (‘86-‘90) and an MBA from Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, New Delhi is the author of three books. Her first book was a book of philosophical short stories and poems for limited circulation, called, "The Quest for Life" that dealt with primarily social themes. The second book, "Memoirs of Army Days" was about her experiences as an Army Brat, reliving the nostalgia and joy of Army Life.
The third book, The Green Dragon is a book that marries the mythology of dragons with children in India in an attempt to sensitize children to all possible environmental issues. It has received good reviews from The Hindu and the Free Press Journal. It is listed on Amazon.com.

Her fourth book (nearing completion) is a semi-fiction book dealing with bipolar disorder, with the objective of getting rid of the myths and stigma surrounding mental disorders. She is also co-authoring her fifth book with a BITSian writer; this will be her first novel.

Anuradha is on the Editorial board of Sandpaper and on the Executive Committee of a New York based non-profit organization, Lend-A-Hand India.

24.jpgRashmi Datt is the author of the well-known book “Managing Your Boss”. This book, published in 2005, is a practical guide to constructively managing the relationship with your boss. The book provides insights and practical tips with the help of case studies and examples based on real life experiences of middle and senior managers. Rashmi graduated from BITS in 1984 with a MMS degree. At BITS, she was the Cultural Secretary of Meera Bhavan in 1982. She worked for 8 years with Pfizer, Mumbai in Training before starting Dialog. Dialog, is a learning services delivery consultancy, which offers workshops towards personal and organizational development. Rashmi tells us “We are owners of talent and potential. Using it is up to us.”

Anuradha Haasan ('88 Physics MMS) has featured in many movies and TV series in Tamil and Telugu. She is also part of the Malayalam mega-serial "Vivahita". In 2001, Anu won the Best Supporting Actress award for her TV role in "Anbulla Snehgidhiye" based on Chitra Banerjee's award winning novel "Sister of my heart". Her movies include Priyanka (1994), Indira (1996), Alavandhan (2001), Run (2002) and Nala Damayanthi (2003). She won the Tamil Nadu Government's Best Character Artiste (Female) award for 2002 for her role in the movie “Run”. Anu Haasan also shares production credits in the film “Mumbai Xpress” starring Kamal Haasan.

25.jpgDivya graduated from BITS with a Mechanical Engineering degree and took up a career as an actress. Although she had featured in the movie “Five star”, she waited until her graduation to take on more projects. She was Miss Madurai in 1999 and the runner-up in 2001 at the Ms. Chennai pageant. Her accomplishments include receiving the TN State Award for Educational Excellence in 1999. Know as Kanika or Kaniha (Tamil) and Sravanthi (Telugu & Kannada) on screen she has featured in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam movies. Her list of films includes Ottessi Chepputanna (2003 in Telegu), Annavaru (2003 in Kannada), Autograph (2004 in Tamil), Aethiri (2004 in Tamil), Dancer (2004 in Tamil), Ettinum (2004 in Malayalam) and Godfather (2005 in Tamil).

Padmini Chettur is a choreographer and dancer. She studied in BITS between 1987 and 1991 and several BITSians who were on campus then remember her well from her performance in the EDC plays. After graduating from BITS, she joined the dance company run by Chandralekha. Padmini has created her own identity and style, drawing from her early training in the traditional Bharatnatyam dance style. Her first solo work 'Wings and Masks' (1994) was followed by 'Brown' (1994). She collaborated with Krishna Devanandan for the duet 'Unsung'. Her other works include 'Soliloquy' (1996), 'Fragility' (2001) and ‘Solo’ (2003). Her most recent work 'Paper Doll’ premiered in Netherlands in 2005. In ‘Paper Doll’, performed by Padmini Chettur's company of five dancers, she examines the chain of paper dolls cut out of a piece of paper. The dolls were identical representing perfection but two-dimensional and attached only at the arms. In an article she wrote about the show and her work, she says “I represent an India still in the process of assimilating urbanity into its culture, an India where the ‘body’ still longs for freedoms it doesn’t yet have.”

26.pngShanti Sharma (nee Vaidhyanathan) is one of the finest classical vocalists in India. She graduated from BITS in 1978 with a Masters in Chemistry. She learnt music under Pandit Amarnath in Bharatiya Kala Kendra, Delhi. She later went on to become his assistant. In an interview with The Tribune, she says “I am happy I have stuck to music and not given into the temptation of earning quick bucks by becoming a science teacher. Music, for me, is a vocation. God’s gift, which I humbly accept and nurture.” Shanti has won many awards and has been instrumental in the success of many artists who were her students. A deeply philosophical person, she says “my manzil is to reach the heights of sublimity in singing”.

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