Keeping the wheels of entertainment by national award winner guru syed sallauddin pasha
Founder, director and curator of Abilitt Unlimited Foundation Syed Salauddin Pasha comes from a family of healers from Anekal. Mr. Pasha’s forefathers were official ‘healers’ to the erstwhile Mysore Kingdom. “The art passed down to me too, and after I started with Kathak when I was barely six, I realised that dance movements helped children of this kind improve in more ways than one.” Children in his dance group suffer from varying conditions as polio, dyslexia, cerebral palsy and even autism. “My dance productions are designed to heal the mind and body, and aesthetics is a byproduct,” feels Mr. Pasha. “Our mission is to help those with disabilities realise their potential and spread the joy of dance,” he feels.
While introducing an experimental dance production that fuses bharatanatyam and yoga, Syed Salahuddin Pasha pauses to look to his left and right. With a knitted brow and eyes that have turned into tiny slits, he appears to be watching out for intruders. “I do this as a matter of routine. My dancers are self-reliant, and don’t take kindly to people helping them on to the stage,” he tells his bewildered audience, and in the next instant, Pasha’s performers enter on wheelchairs.
Guru Sallauddin Pasha, after many mega-productions with disabled artistes, now plans Bharatanatyam on wheels.
“Bring madam a wheelchair,” Guru Sallauddin Pasha directs his team members. The wheelchair appears and Pasha, having secured the brakes, offers it to you before introducing his multi-talented group of dancers, singers, actors and stagehands. They are only a select few of the 150 members of Ability Unlimited, Pasha’s company that prides itself on being “India’s first professional dance theatre by persons with disabilities.”
Physically challenged artistes performing “Bharatanatyam on Wheelchairs”, Syed Sallauddin Pasha, at Chinmaya Heritage Centre, Harrington Road, in Chennai on January 23, 2012.