|Asha Sharath, a Perumbavoor native settled in Dubai, is a multi-faceted personality who has proved her prowess both as a dancer and as an actress. Widely popular among Malayalis owing to her two unforgettable roles-as police officer Geetha Prabhakar in the movie Drishyam and as Prof Jayanthi in the television mega serial Kunkumappoovu, Asha Sharath is one of the rare few actresses in the Indian film industry who has started late and made it big. Asha has also established herself as an exceptionally talented dancer ever since her student days. Today she is running Kairali Kalakendram in the UAE, which imparts training to around 3500 students in dance, music and fine arts through its four centres.
Dancer par excellence
Asha Sharath was born as the daughter of Krishnan Kutty, a retired employee of Travancore Rayons and Kalamandalam Sumathi, managing director of Natyalaya School of Classical Dance. A renowned dancer, Kalamandalam Sumathi has won several awards and accolades including Sangeetha Nataka Akademi Fellowship, Award from Kerala Kalamandalam and National Award from Akshaya. It was her mother who initiated Asha to the world of Indian classical dance. Asha started learning dance at the tender age of three. Her father and two brothers Balagopal and Venugopal were her biggest inspiration to become a dancer.
Asha’s first gurus in Bharatanatyam and Mohiniyattom were her mother and uncle Ravikumar. She learned Kuchipudi from Guru Vinayachandran Master and Anitha Janaki Teacher. Asha has also learned Kathakali and her gurus are the late Darpana Govindan Namboothiri, Kalanilayam Madhu and RLV Radhakrishnan.
Asha has won many awards for her exceptional achievements as a dancer. They include Swathi Thirunal Award, Akshaya Desiya Award, Kaladarpana Award and Mayilpeeli Award by Guruvayur Devaswom. In 1992, she was selected as the Best Dancer of the Year at All India University Level. Besides, she has received Gold Medal for Artistic Excellence from Maharaja of Banaras, Kalaratna Swathi Thirunal Award 2006, Kalathilakam title and Akshaya Desiya Puraskaram.
Despite her thriving acting career, Asha is a busy dancer even today and she performs on at least four stages in a month
Asha came to Dubai in 1995, following her marriage with T V Sharath, currently the managing director of Consilium Group of Companies. The same year she joined Radio Asia FM, where she worked as an RJ and programme producer for around eight years. Asha launched her dream venture, Kairali Kalakendram, in the year 2003. It was her mother Kalamandalam Sumathy, who gave her strength and inspiration to launch such an initiative in the UAE. Kairali Kalakendram is an institute dedicated to Indian Art, Music and Dance. Starting with four students, the institution today has branches in Ghusais, Discovery Gardens, Karama and Sharjah. Training is offered to students in Indian classical dance forms such as Bharatanatyam, Mohiniyattam and Kuchipudi; other dance forms including Bollywood dance, hip hop, Zumba dance and Indian folk dance; Carnatic music and light music; musical instruments including piano, keyboard, guitar, violin, flute, veena, drums, tabla and mridangam; oil painting, free hand drawing and clay modelling.
Kairali Kalakendram Group, comprising centres in Ghusais, Discovery Gardens, Karama and Sharjah, is affiliated to Natyalaya, a renowned dance institute based in Kerala. This institute, established 48 years ago by Kalamandalam Sumathy, the mother and guru of Asha Sharath, is recognized by the Government of India. In addition to the branches in India, the institute also has its branches in Brazil, UK and the USA.
Asha Sharath started her acting career during her college days. She had been offered the role of heroine in the Malayalam movie Kamaladalam, which she had to decline owing to personal reasons. She has acted in two teleserials telecast by Doordarshan- Jathakakathakal by Mohandas and K P Kumaran’s Indulekha. She has also acted in two telefilms telecast by Doordarshan- Alapanam and Kalathilakam directed by E K Sajan. After coming to Dubai, she acted in a serial named Dream City, directed by Ashok R Nath for Surya TV. Then came Nizhalum Nilavum Parayunnathu directed by Reji Shine. Acting in this telefilm telecast on Amritha TV won for her the best second actress award. Following that, she was offered the role of Prof Jayanthi in the mega serial Kunkumappoovu. That role in the popular mega serial gave a break to her acting career.
Her first feature film was Friday, directed by Lijin Jos. The other movies she has acted till now are Karmayodha directed by Major Ravi, Buddy directed by Raj Prabhavathi, Ardha Nari directed by Sreekumar M G, Zachariyayude Garbhinikal directed by Aneesh Anwar, Drishyam and its Tamil version Papanasam, both directed by Jeethu Joseph, Kannada version Drishya directed by P Vasu, Angels directed by Jean, Varsham directed by Ranjith Sankar, Kamal Hassan-starrer Thoongavanam directed by Rajesh, Pavada directed by Marthandan, Anuragakarikkin vellam directed by Rahman and King Liar directed by Sidhique Lal.
Asha has received Filmfare Award for the Best Supporting Actress for her role in Drishyam. She has also won awards of Jaihind TV, Amrutha TV and Asianet for her unmatchable performance in the movie. Varsham has won for her Critics Award and Ramu Karyat Award for the Best Actress. In 2013, she won Best Supporting Actress Awards from both Jaihind TV and Asianet. She has received Amrita TV’s Award for the Best Supporting Actress too. In 2014, she won the Asianet Film Award and Jaihind TV’s award for the Best Character Artist.
Asha has also been selected for the Asianet Television Award for three years consecutively and won the Golden Star of the Year Award. Besides, she has won Kerala State’s Best Tele Actress Award, Asia Vision’s Best Actress Award, Lohitadas Award for Best Actress, Adoor Bhasi Foundation’s Best Actress Award, and Kerala Film Audience Council’s Best Actress Award. Asha-Sharath couple has two daughters- Uthara and Keerthana.