First the good news. Come Vidyarambham day, which is considered auspicious to start anything new, and Manju Warrier will return to the limelight with a Kuchipudi performance at the Nritha Manadapam at Guruvayoor Sreekrishna Temple. And the bad bit? She doesn’t have any plans yet to return to the silver screen.
Says Manju, who bowed out as an actress after her marriage to Dileep in October 1998 when she was at the height of her film career: “It is too early to consider even dancing as a career though I still love to perform.”
The two-time Kalathilakam winner will have a solo hour-long performance on October 24, to be choreographed by her guru Geetha Padmakumar. She will perform six items in the span of one hour. “I am thrilled and looking forward to perform before a great gathering,” Manju says. “I can’t disclose more as two more months are left for the performance.”
Before bowing out of the entertainment world to become a homemaker, Manju had become a darling of the masses and also had won critical acclaim as one of the finest actresses Malayalam cinema had ever produced. She is still remembered for her roles in Aaram Thampuran, Kannezhuthi Pottum Thottu,Kanmadam and Sallapam to name just a few.
Is she excited that she will be performing after a gap of 13 years? She admits that she is a little nervous and tense. “But I am happy that the performance is before Lord Guruvayoorappan and it is on an auspicious day,” she adds.
But her tutor Geetha Padmakumar has no such doubts. “She is an amazing dancer, she is in good shape and is practising hard,” Geetha says. “Initially, we used to have one-hour practice sessions every week. But for the last one month, Manju is spending more than three hours a day mastering the art form.”
Manju Warrier, who was one of the best dancers in the film industry, has been taking lessons from Geetha for the last eight months. “She is keen on performing again. She is 33 but is the best dancer in Mollywood. You can’t even compare the new generation artistes with Manju, whose dedication, skill and class are unparalleled,” Geetha says.
She adds that Manju’s husband Dileep is fully supportive of her plan to dance again. In fact, the entire family is backing her including Dileep’s mother, sister and brother’s wife, she adds.