Sudha Chandran is a famous Bharatanatyam dancer and actress.
Sudha Chandran was born on 27 September 1965 into a middle class family in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
She grew up in Mumbai.
Sudha Chandran’s father, K.D. Chandran was a Keralite and worked at American Library Mumbai whereas her mother, Thangam was a housewife.
Introduction to dance-
Thangam hailed from a Brahmin family and was a classical singer.
She longed to become a dancer but she couldn’t become one thanks to the many restrictions imposed on her by her family.
Also, during her time, dance wasn’t given much priority.
So, Thangam transferred her dream of becoming a dancer on to her daughter, Sudha Chandran.
Both her parents wanted Sudha Chandran to become an international dancer.
Inspired to study well-
Apart from motivating Sudha Chandran to dance well, Thangam also inspired her to study well.
She was very strict about Sudha Chandran’s marks and always wanted her to top her class.
Once Thangam made her stand outside the house for many hours for missing the first rank in her school.
Sudha Chandran’s mother emphasised the importance of education by comparing it with a blank cheque which can be encashed at any point of time in life.
Sudha Chandran is a post graduate with Master of Arts (MA) in Industrial and International Economics.
Thangam wanted her to become either an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) or Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer but later when Sudha Chandran lost her limb and was fitted with the Jaipur Foot, she wanted to prove that she can dance even with a prosthetic leg.
A life-changing accident-
In May 1981, Sudha Chandran and her family were travelling from Tiruchirappalli to Chennai and unfortunately, they ended up in a road accident.
At that time, she was 15 and suffered a fracture of her right leg.
K.D. Chandran had a nose break and initially, some police personnel mistook Thangam to be expired.
But when Sudha Chandran approached her mother, she noticed that she was breathing and then, she was taken to the hospital by an ambulance.
Sudha Chandran and her parents were treated for four days at a local government hospital.
As Sudha Chandran was admitted to the hospital during the night, there weren’t any doctors to treat her and so, she was treated by some interns.
She suffered a small cut (fracture) on her right femur and the interns sutured the wound without cleaning it and applied plaster of Paris on it.
And due to this gangrene affected Sudha Chandran’s leg and this was only discovered seven days later, when the doctors removed the plaster of Paris.
So, the doctors were left with no choice except to amputate her leg three inches below the knee.
As Sudha Chandran was a teenager and had dreamt to become a dancer, her dreams shattered when she lost her leg and realised that she could no longer dance and with this she grew very depressed.
But thankfully, her mother comforted and inspired her and made her shift her focus from her disability and taught her to be optimistic about her future.
Sudha Chandran noticed that as she couldn’t dance, her parents were very disappointed for her.
So, she was determined to make her parents happy by starting dancing once again.
A ray of hope-
In August 1981, while reading an India today newspaper, Sudha Chandran came across a news article that Pramod Karan Sethi (P. K. Sethi), a co-inventor of the Jaipur Foot had won a Ramon Magsaysay Award.
So, after returning to Mumbai, she wrote a letter to him appreciating his work and requested to meet him.
P. K. Sethi invited Sudha Chandran to Jaipur and there, she asked him whether it is possible to dance by wearing a prosthetic leg and to this he replied in affirmative.
Within 12 hours, an artificial limb was made for her and she was fitted with it.
Thanks to the Jaipur Foot, Sudha Chandran was able to stand up and walk again.
Initially, P. K. Sethi helped her to walk by holding her hands and later, she was able to walk on her own.
After this, Sudha Chandran was permitted by the doctor to dance and this gave her immense confidence.
Dr. Derek D Souza of Vijaya Hospital, Chennai also helped her to walk.
Then Sudha Chandran returned to Mumbai and from 1981-1984 she practiced dancing.
She used to practice dancing for 18-20 hours per day.
During that time, Sudha Chandran faced a lot of pain, bleeding, discomfort and stress but she didn’t deviate from her goal of practising dancing.
First public performance-
Sudha Chandran gave her first public dance performance on 28 January 1984.
Initially, even though she was well prepared, she was feeling nervous to perform in a jam packed auditorium with a thousand people.
Fortunately, Sudha Chandran’s mother built her confidence and pushed her on to the stage.
Then, for the next three hours she gave an amazing dance performance.
Sudha Chandran received a standing ovation from the audience and her mother cried in happiness.
Later when she went to her home, her father compared her to goddess Saraswathi and touched her feet.
A chance to act in films-
Ramoji Rao, a film producer read Sudha Chandran’s story in a newspaper and got inspired by her and thought to make a film on her to inspire the world.
Later he produced a biopic film on her life by the name, Mayuri.
Sudha Chandran acted in her own biopic and this film was released in 1985 and was a hit.
For this movie, she won a Special Jury Award by the Government of Andhra Pradesh and a National Film Award – Special Jury Award.
Mayuri marked the beginning of Sudha Chandran’s acting career.
A year later, Mayuri was remade in Hindi as Naache Mayuri.
After this, Sudha Chandran acted in a couple of Hindi films but all of them flopped and as a result, she was unemployed for the next six years.
Later, she became a television actress and is quite successful here.
Along with acting, Sudha Chandran also gave many dance performances both in India and abroad.
About her family and friends-
Sudha Chandran married Ravi Dang in 1995 and this couple have a child.
He is a Punjabi and works as a Hindi television producer and director.
Ravi Dang’s ancestors hail from Peshawar, Pakistan and they migrated to India during the partition of India.
His father was a tobacco businessman.
Both Sudha Chandran’s parents were south Indians.
Her mother, Thangam suffered from rectum cancer and passed away on 31 august 2004 due to it.
Her father, K.D. Chandran initially worked in American Library Chennai and then moved to Mumbai to work in American Library Mumbai.
He also acted in a few films and TV shows.
K.D. Chandran passed away on May 16, 2021 due to cardiac arrest.
Sudha Chandran is very much attached to her grandmother, Nirmalamma.
Sudha Chandran’s best friends are Uma and Medha.
Into the school books-
Sudha Chandran’s inspirational story has been included in the school curriculum of CBSE board and state boards of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and West Bengal.
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Featured Image credit: Bollywood Hungama/Wikimedia Commons
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why is Sudha Chandran famous?
Sudha Chandran is so famous that her life story has been included in the school curriculum of many boards.
The main reason for her popularity is her never give up attitude.
Sudha Chandran never compromised on her dream of becoming a dancer even when she lost her leg and even when dancing with the Jaipur foot was really painful, she didn’t accept defeat.
Who inspired Sudha Chandran?
Both her parents, K.D. Chandran and Thangam inspired Sudha Chandran to become a world-class dancer.
Even when she lost her leg, her parents fully supported her to continue dancing.
Is Sudha Chandran disabled?
Sudha Chandran hates being called disabled, she prefers being called a specially abled person.
Yes, she is a specially abled person as her right leg has been amputated.
Is Mayuri a real story?
Yes, Mayuri is the real life story of Sudha Chandran.
This movie accurately depicts her dreams, pains and accomplishments.
How did Sudha Chandran struggle with her artificial leg?
Even though Jaipur Foot was a blessing for Sudha Chandran, she faced some problems with it.
In the initial years, while dancing with the Jaipur Foot she experienced a lot of pain, bleeding, discomfort and mental stress.
How many children does Sudha Chandran have?
Sudha Chandran is married to Ravi Dang and this couple is blessed with a child.
What is Sudha Chandran known for?
Sudha Chandran is very well known for her Bharatanatyam dance performances and her acting in television serials and movies.
What does the life of Sudha Chandran teach us?
The life of Sudha Chandran teaches us to never lose hope.
Even after she lost her leg, she didn’t give up her dream of becoming a dancer.
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