Born on 6 April 1925 in Hyderabad, Sindh, in undivided India, Shrimati Sundari K. Shridharani was initiated into dance at Santiniketan. Afterwards, at the Uday Shankar Indian Cultural Centre, Almora, she studied Kathakali under Guru Shankaran Namboodiri and Manipuri under Guru Amubi Singh. She later learnt Greek dance at the Gineer Mawer School of Dance and Drama in London. Under a fellowship of the Fulbright Foundation and the University of California, Los Angeles, she gave lecture-demonstrations of Indian dances at several universities in the United States in the 1950s. She went on to perform in the first International Youth Festival in Prague, Czechoslovakia, in 1947.
Shrimati Sundari Shridharani made a lasting contribution to the performing arts by setting up the Triveni Kala Sangam in Delhi. Started in 1950 with two students and a donation of a hundred rupees, the institution quickly blossomed into one of the Capital’s prestigious cultural venues and a hub of artistic activities in the city. Generations of learners have benefited by the classes Triveni holds in all the major forms of Indian dance, in Hindustani vocal and instrumental music, as well as in painting and photography. Two of the best known art galleries of India’s Capital are located in the Triveni premises, as well as two auditoria for performances. Triveni Kala Sangam remains associated in public memory with a galaxy of gifted musicians, dancers and visual artists who have taught, performed or exhibited there, and also with numerous excellent exhibitions and performances. It will remain a monument to the imagination and vision of its founder.
For her service to the arts, Shrimati Sundari Shridharani received several honours including the Watumull Award of the U.S.A. (1987), the Sahitya Kala Parishad Samman (1990), the Padma Shri (1992), and the Mahila Shiromani Award (1993).
Shrimati Shridharani was selected for the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for 2011 for her overall contribution to the performing arts. To our deep regret, she passed away on 7 April 2012. The award is bestowed on her posthumously.