Google celebrates the 100th birth anniversary of classical dancer Mrinalini Sarabhai with a doodle.

Johnson Cherian.
Google on Friday commemorated the 100th birth anniversary of Mrinalini Sarabhai, a renowned Indian classical dancer, with a doodle. She was an expert on two south Indian dance forms of Bharatanatyam and Kathakali, founded the Darpana Academy of Performing Arts, choreographed over 300 dance dramas and wrote many novels, plays and poems for children.
Born in Kerala, Mrinalini spent part of her childhood in Switzerland, where she learnt Western dance techniques. She also studied at Shantiniketan in India before enrolling at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. On returning to India, she learnt Bharatanatyam and Kathakali, training under some of the best gurus in the field.
In 1949, Mrinalini and her husband Vikram Sarabhai (a scientist considered to be the father of the Indian Space Program), set up Darpana in Ahmedabad. That same year, she danced at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris, a performance that won her a lot of praise from an international audience. Mrinalini’s dance troupe started getting invitations to perform outside Gujarat and eventually outside the country. In due course, Darpana expanded to become a platform for Gujarati theatre as well, and a puppetry group was born. In 1977, Mrinalini’s daughter Mallika took over as director of Darpana.
Mrinalini was bestowed with several awards. She received the Padma Shri in 1965, Padma Bhushan in 1992, the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship in 1994 and the Nishagandhi Puraskaram, an annual award of the Government of Kerala, in 2013. She died in 2016, aged 97.
According to the Google Doodle website, the doodle by Sudeepti Tucker “depicts Sarabhai with her signature parasol, standing proudly in the auditorium of that same academy where her students are dancing on stage”.

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