Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Ramayana Dance Drama
by Students of University Malaya
Sem 2 2008/2009
Artistic Direction by Ravi Shanker.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Outstanding Young Malaysian Award 2009 - Ravi Shanker in Top 30

Hi I just wanna share these essays on The Outstanding Young Malaysian 2009. I am nominated by Mr Praven Shashank, a performing Artist and TESL Graduate from Unisel and Pusat Kebudayaan Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. I was among the shortlisted 5 in the cultural category in TOYM award. There are total of 30 nominees ranging from various fields such as economics, welfare, education, entrepreneur and more. The awards ceremony to be held on 7th November 2009 at The Sunway Convention Centre....Lets see whether i will win the category yo...Anyway below are the essays for your further reading....

Outline the career of the nominee, including background on the nominee’s work or field of activity. (800 words)

Kuala Lumpur originated Ravi Shanker Rama Murthy, has been dabbled in this performing arts field since he was in the school bench. He attended his primary education in Sekolah Rendah Jenis Kebangsaan Tamil Vivekananda Brickfields and secondary level education Sekolah Menengah St John’s Kuala Lumpur. He took part in numerous cultural and arts performances and activities. Hence, he received compelling moral supports and inspiration from his teachers. He first graduated of Diploma in Broadcasting from TV3 academy. With this basic foundation, he then regulated from University Putra Malaysia in Bachelor of Arts in English and Business Administration. Currently, he is pursuing his Masters in Performing Arts in the Cultural Centre, University Malaya.

Career wise, Ravi Shanker had gone through various experiences- Aviation, Customer Service, Clothing, Education, and the latest into broadcasting. Ravi Shanker has helped and even stood as the foremost contributor in producing numerous television programs in Astro Ria; Nadi Kl, Roda Impian, Akademi Fantasia 1, Salam Bollywood, Beat Tv dan E-zone. As he was reassigned in Astro HitsTV, his talent in producing advertisements and promotions for concerts and videoclips were seen and esteemed. Ravi Shanker was promoted as the Promotion and Marketing Manager for Radio ERA, Sinar and THR Gegar/Raaga. Here, he has commenced copious activities in the name of promotion to the Radio listeners.

In the arena of Performing Arts, Ravi Shanker started his foundation studies of Indian Cultural dances- Odissi and Bharathanatyam in Temple of Fine Arts Kuala Lumpur and Sutra Dance Theatre. Ravi Shanker also pursued an intensive course in India with the teachings from his Master, Guru Gajendra. During his campus life in University Putra Malaysia, he learned Comtemporary Chinese Dance with the supervision of his instructor, Anthony Meh. Ravi Shanker was vigorous in Putra Dancers UPM experimenting the art of Traditional Malay dances; Zapin, Endang, Dabus, Joget and Asli. He was the President of Cultural 5th UPM College Bureau, Project Director of Malam Puisi Islam, A Night of Natyanjali and instigated several Cultural and Arts Programs.

Ravi Shanker signified UPM to stopover Peru, Amsterdam and Thailand. With his great effort, he initiated a few clubs for the varsity students for them to get entailed with the Indian and contemporary Indian Classical Dances; Putra Kalakshetra UPM, Swarnamalaya UM and Artisukma Rasalavanya UKM. At the moment, Ravi Shanker is chief panel of educator for the co curriculum course taken by the students from each varsity. He obligated himself to edify all these three clubs.

Ravi Shanker is the Artistic Director of a famed dance studio in Kuala Lumpur, Asthana Arts which is very much occupied in the production of commercial performance. A few among those prestigious items he has done are- International Tamil Film Awards (ITFA), Indian Film Festival (IFF), Global Indian Shopping Festival, Advertisement for Pepsi, Nokia, Astro. He choreographed the performances done in those events. He was also invited to befall as the judge for Miss Malaysia India Talent Round, Astro Aattam 100 Vagai dan Festival Senitari UKM

Provide information which will help the judges understand the challenges, problems, and scope of the nominee’s area of activity, (800 words)

Ravi Shanker’s child hood life never been easy. When his mother passed away leaving behind RM50 with him, he was basically lost. Without any guidance and proper place to go , he worked as a part time promoter since form three to sustain his living. He stayed with his father’s sister where they took advantage of his meager income. The environment with drug addicts and pushers at Jalan San Peng could have detoured his journey, but Shanker’s vision made him to reach his destination.

At the age of 16, Ravi Shanker’s passion in arts gave him some motivation to stay afloat in the challenging world. He took up Bharathanatyam, an Indian classical dance in The Temple of Fine Art Kuala Lumpur. Arts always been a solace for this young lad. Dance is the only thing that pacifies him, consoles him, and nurtures him. Later he ventured into Odissi, another type of east Indian dance. All this was learnt without any scholarship assistance from individual or organization. At the same time he worked as partime staff in departmental stores around KL.

Juggling work in one hand, studies and dance, Shanker managed to complete his SPM with Grade A and STPM with 5 principals. The next step is university and he pursued his Degree in English and Business Administration. It is the campus life has taught him, the real scenario out there. Various types of races and culture collided in the academia and co curriculum. Rather than running away from culture shock, Shanker penetrate them social life of the Chinese, Malay and Indian in a different approach.

Shanker started to take malay traditional dance such as Zapin, Endang, Dabus, Asli and Joget. Being an Indian guy, it is unfamiliar sight for others to see him performing with his Malay friends. Surprisingly, he was one of the 10 selected dancer to Peru and Amsterdam to portray Malaysian Cultural Dance performances. Shanker was also famous among the Malay students in UPM as he became first ever non Malay project director to organize the Malam Puisi Islam and Nasyid Competition. He was positively commented by Professor Madya Dr. Sabri Othman, the Principal of UPM’s 5th Resident college as saying “ It is the day when we start to appreciate each others arts, that where we have achieved the real Bangsa Malaysia. Ravi Shanker went beyond that. Where can we see an Indian student organizing an Islamic Poem Competition??? But he did it”.

In the Chinese area, Shanker ventured dance with Dua Dance Theatre with Aman Yap. This is when Aman was teaching the Buddhist Society members on the Chinese Contemporary Dance. At first the members are quite reserved of non Chinese learning their dance, but later they accepted him. Even in the 2004, International Tamil Film Awards, Shanker portrayed a Peking Opera actor. Make up and costumes did the wonders. Theatre Activitist Chacko Vadaketh reaction as he was the MC for ITFA when Ravi Shanker came in full Chinese Peking opera, was speechless.

Among the Indian, Ravi Shanker is known for creative and beautiful choreographies using Indian classical elements. The main problem among the Indian Community is too much commercialized dance and cinema , made them stay away from Classical dance. Shanker brought in The Kathakkaali, Odissi, Mohiniattaam, Kuchipudi, Manipuri , Kathak and Indian fusion into heart of campus students. It was never been easy to promote and instill classical dance in the students hearts but he manage to that in not only in UPM, but also in UKM and UM.

In 2001, UPM approached Ravi Shanker to create dance club based on Indian dance. He started Putra Kalakshetra. This was follow suit in Universiti Malaya, Swarnamalaya club of performing arts and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s, the Rasalaavanya Club of Performing Art took the centrestage. For out of campus community, Ravi Shanker started Asthana Arts ( Palace of Arts ) in The Annexe Central Market Kuala Lumpur in thear 2007. In the year year 2009, Ravi Shanker initiated The Asthana Arts young performing Arts Fund to help students in the performing arts area.

Describe the nominee’s exceptional achievements or contributions in his / her chosen field. (800 words)

Ravi Shanker never thought learning dance will bring him a long way. This is story from a dancer, to choreographer, to an instructor to an artistic director.

After seeing his passion and enthusiasism in dance, In 2001, UPM approached Ravi Shanker to create club based on Indian dance. He started Putra Kalakshetra. “Kala” is arts and “ Shektra” mean venue in Shanskrit terminology. With proper dance modules, tailor made for semester system this club took shape. The first president was Ravi Shanker himself as well the instructor. He have brought this club to perform in various international events such as the International Tamil Film Awards, Insdian Film Festival , Global Indian Festival and more. A club is not enough, so Shanker took the extra initiative to present to UPM’s senate a proposal on Indian Dance Co Curriculum. After seven years of continous effort, UPM made Indian Classicaal Dance as a subject under the co curriculum unit in the year 2007.

When Shanker pursue his master in performing Arts in UM, he intiated the Swarna Malaya ( The Golden Malaya in Shankrit) club of performing Arts in 2006 with similar concept with UPM’s club. As well Shanker took over the already established Indian dance co curriculum in UM.

Being recognized by UPM and UM , Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia approached Shanker and this where Rasalaavanya ( The Beautiful Emotions) Club of Performing Art took the centrestage in the year 2008. In July 2009, the university is offering Indian Classical dance as a co curriculum subject and Ravi is the one being the instrumental towards this development.

The biggest achievement is not Indian learning Indian dance, but the Chinese and Malaya and this is what is happening in all three universities where we get to see non Indian performing for Indian dance with complete Indian costume. From Odissi to Kathak, from Ramayana to Laila Majnu, the beautiful Indian Art is appreciated and learnt by more Chinese and Malay students. This also due to Ravi’s communication skill, method and the teaching style that the non Indians to take up Indian dance in all these universities

After quiting his job as Promotions Manager for Astro in January 2009, Shanker is concentrating full time with his own dance studio. Asthana Arts is dance studio located in Central Market Kuala lumpur, in promoting Malaysian dance, teaching and as a resource centre for young dance artists. Ravi Shanker works closely with Istana Budaya, Dua Space, Mr Wong Kit Yaw and Laksman of Akademi Seni Kebangsaan in producing events and shows.

He also initited the Asthana Arts Young Performing Artist Fund to help dance student to learn dance on scholarship based, grant for performing arts students and help arts based projects by young artist. This fund was soft launched on 7th June 2009 at Global Indian Festival Midvaalley Megamall. Ravi believes even though, it is small dance studio, the assistance to students should be big and come from heart to arts. All future productions of Asthana Arts would be in the aid of Asthana Arts Young Performing Artist Fund

Besides all, Ravi Shanker has always been there through sweat and blood sustaining the teenagers to learn and acquire the knowledge of this Performing Art. He nourished the teenagers with much enthusiasm and devotion in acquiring this knowledge. He was understood to be a role model to all the teenagers in this era. He has devoted his life in bringing up the Art of Performing and pioneers it to the coming generations

List public statements from authorities, honors and awards received which affirm the nominees’ achievements or contributions. (800 words)

Ravi Shanker’s effort is a 15 years effort in promoting arts. At the tender age of 16, his journey into dance never stopped till now.

In the sence of academic and co curriculum, Universiti Putra Malaysia acknowledge him in the Anugerah Naib Canselor. This is highest recognition in UPM. This due to his contribution towards developing Indian Dance , being active in Cultural Activities in varsity level and as well excels in studies. Among the notable activities that he have organized are The Cultural Exchange visit to The University of Chulalongkorn Thailand, The Cultural Exchange visit to University of Lima, Peru, Malam Eksplorasi Budaya Malaysia, The Rabindranath Tagore Cultural Event, A Night of Naatyanjaali – Indian Classical, Semiclassical and Contemporary dance competition. Most of the events are either involves dignitaries, ministers or arts enthusiast.

In the year 2006, Ravi Shanker was 1st runner up in The Asian Youth Ambassaador Dream Malaysia Most Outstanding Youth of The Award . This awards gives recognition youths who have went through hardship and turbulence in life yet they outshines to achive their dream in life. Among nominated candidates are, a cerebral palsy youth who are into Church activities, wheel chair bounded girl who is into charity work, former drug addict who owns his own music studio and more. Ravi Shanker’s story of young orphan who excelled in dance, co curriculum, studies and as well building of his career in notable broadcasting company made the panel of juries to select him in that particular year. During the Awards Night, Ravi Shanker a dance piece for Mariah
Carey’s “ Hero” was presented in an Indian Classical dance. This particular performance stole away everyone attention on that night. “ There is a hero, if you look into your heart” , resounds the auditorium with full vibration of motivation to all the nominees. Mr. Kenneth of AYA award mentioned in his speech, that it takes an artist to connect to the audience the pain and the pleasure of human being.

Star Education Fund has helped Ravi Shanker to fulfill his dream into Broadcasting when he was selected to study broadcasting at The Academy TV3. A RM20,000 worth of scholarship for three years study has boosted Ravi Shanker to well in his studies. This has made him to join All Asia Broadcasting Centre ( Astro) as a practical trainee in programming unit. He was later roped in to become the production Assistant then to Assistant producer in the Astro RIA such as the Nadi KL, Beat TV, Salam Bollywood, Akademi Fantasia and more. Then he was promoted as the Promotions Producer in Astro Hits. TV producing various videoclips, commercials and snippets for the English Music Industry. Ravi Shanker is one of the pioneer for the development of Astro Hits.TV channel. Climbing the corporate ladder, as the Assistant Manager and then to Promotions aand Marketing Manager for Era, Sinar and THR, Ravi Shanker expertise in organizing events and promotional campaigns in making the radio sation more visible to the listeners. Miss Kudsia Kaahar, The General of AMP ( which owns Eraa, Sinaar aand THR), has always been impressed by Ravi Shanker’s capabilities in juggling his career and dance.

Apart from Awards and Scholarship, Ravi Shanker is seen as dance educator and choreographer in the entertainment and performing arts Industry. He was appointed as the Judge for some of these events.

Astro Attaam 100 Vagai - Annual dance competition by Astro providing young indiaan dancers aa platform to showcase their dance choreography and dancing skills. Ravi Shanker was the judge for the year 2006 and 2007.

Miss Malaysia India Talent Round – Miss Mialaysia India is one of the established pageant for Indian girls who are Malaaysian. Raavi Shaanker was judging the talent round for the year 2007.

Feseni UM – Feseni or Festival Seni Universiti Malaya is an anuuaal event organized by the Culturaal Centre UM. Since 2006, Ravi Shanker has been the head of judges choosing the winner in the dance category.

Festival Tari UKM - Similaar to UM, this is another dance competition in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia which showcases undergraduates skill in dance. Ravi Shanker was the judge since 2007.

Nominator Words:

Inspirations in life can only be given by those who give us impact in all the aspects in life. A person who can be said as an all rounder. The inspiration has been flowed from the point of a child at the age of 3 till the age of 70. I got my inspiration in arts from Mr.Ravi Shanker. Shanker has been a great teacher, a master in moulding youngsters to become a human with good sense of arts in one. Being a humble one, he posses so much of values, dignity, talent, and fame which will actually create an impact on a youngster. I had known Shanker for almost 5 years and I was tagged in many programmes by him. The intuition in him creates some vibes that can never be experienced elsewhere. He has always been a good leader in all his programmes. It is not the programme that makes his productions look classy but it is his direction that makes that particular programme look classy. After so many years in this industry, his name was never varnished off and his choreography has never been over shadowed by anyone else.

Talking about Shanker, something lingered in my mind, the hardship gone through by him in younger days. I have been screening out all his media plays, newspaper cuttings and all his achievements eventually and I realise so much hardship in it. To create a name is always easy to everyone but to maintain a good rapport is definitely a difficult thing to do. Shanker has been carrying his name with so much of effort with his own choreographies and productions. To be frank enough, at some moments, when I watch his productions on stage, I do not see the dancers there, I merely see his effort, brand and I feel the vibes from the song or even the storyline. That is Ravi Shanker. The vibes from that song can be felt by the audience.

To Shanker, to come up this high in this industry, was never been easy. He went through sweat and blood to get this high and one thing here to be proud of is, that he developed himself with no one’s help. His own effort and sacrifices is paying him off and never to deny that he is still provoking more efforts to get to the safer line. He is still upgrading himself and his dance studio. I remember him saying this to me once, “I’m still learning”, when I heard him saying, I was purely shocked. Spellbound! He told me that, a song that he choreographs may look the best in others’ eyes but it will still look improvable in his eyes. To me, for an artistic director, he has got everything in him - the talent, passion, knowledge, and everything about performing arts seeded in his breath and soul.

Recently, I was involved in a programme held in mid of Kuala Lumpur and I was tagged along with him. In this, I really found how much of effort he has injected in through dancers and of course choreographies. The message has been delivered and the performance becomes the talk of the entire programme. The appreciation we got from the audience were nevertheless so much supporting. It is an expected outcome too, we know, everyone knows how Shanker’s production turns out.

The studio situated in the Annexe Mall, Central Market is one of his brainchild since he was in the teenage. Managing a studio was never easy to anyone, moreover, managing dance classes, performing artists, commercial productions and etc. was even more challenging to Shanker. Managing the studio single headedly taxes him a lot, we even tried asking him to hire someone to assist him, but he refuses reasoning that he will not see earnestness and genuineness towards arts in them. This is one of the merit points I caught in him. His passion towards arts is so much pure that he does not allow someone else with no artistic element in them to deal with his products. Trivial things like these have been taken into account and I sincerely admire all these hidden aptitude in him.

In the studio, he has created an organization consists only his dancers. This is to help him assist with the upcoming programmes as he gets busy with the marketing and the dancers get involved in the production as Shanker initiates the plan and the concept of that particular performance. Secretly, Shanker is actually educating the dancers to learn how to handle things and to manage their time in doing things. Shanker says, dancers are meant to dance, but that does not mean they cannot do anything else besides dance. A dancer can be an all rounder too.

Ravi Shanker. A big name being talked by many of them in this industry nowadays, has got so much of in sting in him towards arts and he principally moulds the youngsters in his studio to become someone better in life. The effort and the feel in someone like this need to be appreciated and I think by appreciating a soul like this is not a waste to our community as we are really looking forward to people like this in this era to show up more.