Urvashi Shobana is an exception to the ilk of actresses in South Indian cinema who fizzle out after a few meaty roles. Having maintained her stardom in Malayalam movies for over two decades, and pocketing two national awards in the course, ...

By Anjana Sankar

Published: Sat 19 Nov 2005, 12:59 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 3:08 PM

the versatile actress has opted out of active cinema in favour of her greater passion for dance. The globe-trotting dancer, who was recently in Abu Dhabi in the last leg of her world tour, insists that she is not completely out of the silver screen. Some of Shobana’s recent appearances give weight to her argument.

‘City Times’ met up with the actress over breakfast to know more about her current career plans. Excerpts from the interview:

It has been some time since we saw you on the screen. Do you miss cinema?

Come on, you are not watching my movies.

It was just one movie lately, that was with Mohanlal. And there was one Revathi-directed movie a year back?

Isn’t that more than enough? I have, in the past, had over 25 releases a year. I think I have given enough of my time for movies, remaining in the field for over two decades.

Has acting taken a backseat for the sake of dancing? Has there been any offers lately?

There are offers almost every day. I do accept movies if the offers are really interesting. Lately, I have been focusing on dancing. You see, any kind of profession related with the performing arts like dance or cinema, takes your entire time. It is like a full-time job if you want to be professional in what you are doing. Then, I have my dance school in Chennai and Muscat. My students are taking care of it themselves, but I need to grow further for my students to grow.

While giving dance performances, you are catering to a selected audience whereas cinema has a mass appeal. Do you miss the limelight and that kind of fame and attention that cinema brings in?

Of course not. The fame and attention are there. But why do you even compare the two? They are different in their own ways, but both are essentially a creative effort. For me, giving a dance performance is like directing a mini-movie wherein I evolve the concept, write the script and direct it.

Watching your performance yesterday, it seems you like to do a lot of experimentation with the classical dance form?

It is more like a comparison you draw between the commercial and art movies. I like doing both classical dance in its purest form and trying to gel some contemporary stuff too. Currently, I am working with various musical traditions.

As you have equated your dancing to direction, please elaborate whether you have any plans to direct a movie?

I have been toying with the idea for some time. But I understand that it involves a lot of coordination work and organising skills. I have been quite used to getting things easily done. So that idea puts me off. Anyway, I might eventually take a plunge. At least, I intend to be part of a film-making venture.

Your one-time heroes like Mammooty, Mohanlal and Jayaram are still going strong. What do you feel when you see them romancing teenagers on the screen?

I am of the opinion that anything that goes well with the audience is okay. What matters is not your age, but what you do and how convincingly you do it. Even at the age of forty or fifty, if they can extremely well romance on the screen, there is no doubt that they are excellent showmen. Aren’t they better than those aged 20 and yet fizzle out after a movie or two?

Who keeps you company Shobana? Do you feel lonely at times?

There are always people around me. I have a lot of friends, and my students are there. They keep me busy all the time. At the same time, I do find time for myself.

Any friends still in the film industry?

Not many. But there are people like Revathi and Suhasini with whom I share a special relationship. We have our own areas of interests and we do not step into each other’s toes while keeping the friendship.

One last question. Why aren’t marriage bells ringing, Shobana?

Well, I am not particularly against the institution of marriage in any ways. I haven’t found the time for it amidst my busy schedule. Maybe I haven’t spotted the right guy. And for that matter, I have seen only a few marriages that really work. That can also be one the reasons.


It was a veritable treat for the connoisseurs of dance and music in Abu Dhabi when the South Indian dancing diva-cum actress, Shobana and the emerging musical talent, Manjari, shared the stage at the Abu Dhabi Indian School auditorium for a cultural evening.

While Manjari put up a sheer talent show with her hour-long rendition of a range of ‘ragas’ in Hindustani music, Shobana and her team had the packed audience of over 1,000 riveted for the rest of the show with a mix of classical and fusion dance numbers.

Starting off with ‘Khayal Gayaki’ in Rag Kamodh and passing through three levels of ‘ragavisthara’ namely ‘Vilambith’, ‘Dhruth’, and ‘Tarana’, the final year degree student from Kerala touched a high note by the semi-classical version of a popular song from the critically acclaimed Malayalam film ‘Gharshom’.

Currently being trained under the Pakistani musician, Ustad Khalid Anwar Jaan, Manjari is all set to hog the limelight by her latest releases from movies like ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’, ‘Thanthra’, ‘Vadakkumnathan’, and ‘Anathabadhram’, apart from foraying into Tamil and Telugu. The star attraction of the night however, was Shobana, the South Indian silver screen sensation, who is an equally accomplished classical dancer.

The two-time national award winner, who has dished out some of the most challenging performances like those in ‘Manichithrathazhu’, gave the audience their night’s worth, taking off with ‘Kailasanatha Ninne Kaathu’ a romantic tribute to Lord Siva.

B. R. Shetty, CEO and Managing Director of the NMC Group of Companies felicitated the artistes. The event was organised by Soorya Krishnamoorthy and sponsored by the UAE Exchange.

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