Ravi Shanker Rama Murthy, 42, the founder and artistic director of Asthana Arts dance company, died yesterday (Mar 5) at Hospital Kuala Lumpur from complications resulting from a bacterial infection.
The multitalented Ravi, born in KL, rose from poverty to carve a name for himself in the performing arts industry. After his mother died when he was teenager, Ravi had to live rough, sleeping on the streets of Brickfields and behind Stadium Negara.
He worked to pay for his food and school fees, while never giving up on a career inspired by Indian traditional dance and drama. Later, Ravi also enrolled himself in odissi dance classes at the Temple of Fine Arts.
In a 2011 interview with The Star, Ravi said, “If you face challenges from a young age, that means God has greater things in store for you. Don’t give up hope. Fight for your destiny because there is a silver lining behind every cloud.”
Ravi graduated from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) with a degree in English. While studying at UPM, Ravi formed the Putra Kalashektra club and taught students semi-classical and fusion work, since there was no Indian traditional dance club at the university.
Apart from running two dance studios and choreographing, Ravi lectured on Indian arts and classical dance in public universities.
His perseverance to introduce Indian traditional dance in local universities led to Indian Arts now being taught as a co-curriculum course in Universiti Malaya and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.
Ravi’s last work, a dance drama he wrote called Parameswara: The Seed Of Parameswara, was staged in April 2018. His funeral was held this morning at his dance studio in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur.