Indrani Rahman(1930-1999) was an Indian model, classical dancer, and choreographer. She was honored with the Padma Shri award in 1969 and was renowned for her skills in various dance forms such as Bharata Natyam, Kuchipudi, Kathakali, and Odissi. She emerged as the winner of the Miss India Pageant in 1952. She died in 1999 due to old age-related ailments.
Indrani Rahman was born on Friday, 19 September 1930 (age 68 years; at the time of death) in Madras, Madras Presidency, British India (now Chennai, India). Her family moved to India from the American 1920s, where she grew up. During her early education, she began learning dance at her mother’s company. Indrani then started to learn different dance forms and performed at significant events. Thereafter, she pursued a career in dancing and modeling.
Height (approx.): 5′ 7″
Weight (approx.): 55 kg
Hair Colour: Balck
Eye Colour: Dark Brown
Figure Measurements (approx.): 34-23-34
Indrani was brought up in a mixed raced household as her father was an Indian and her mother was an American, settled in India.
Indrani’s father Ramalal Balram Bajpai, was a chemist who went to the US for higher studies, and her mother was Esther Luella Sherman, an American who changed her name to Ragini Devi after marrying in Hindu culture. Her parents relocated to India in the 1920s, where her father became an assistant editor of the Young India magazine, later became the Counsel General of India in New York and the president of the Indo-American league. While her mother took a keen interest in learning Indian dance forms and became the most recognized dancer of the 1930s.
Husband & Children
Indrani Rahman got married at the age of 15 to a well-recognized architect, Habib Rahman in 1945. The couple was blessed with a son, artist, Ram Rahman, and, a daughter, Sukanya Rahman. Sukanya Rahman was a dancer and use to perform with her mother and grandmother.
She followed Hinduism.
Indrani Rahman began her dance career with the Bharata Natyam classical dance discipline. Guru Chokkalingam Pillai taught her the Pandanallur form of Bharata Natyam in the 1940s. When she was in Vijayawada City, she began learning Kuchipudi from Korada Narasimha Rao. Later, in 1947, she was captivated by Dr. Charles Fabri, India’s top dance and art critic, who urged her to master the classical dance genre Odissi. Indrani studied Odissi for three years under Guru Sri Deba Prasad Das, becoming the first professional dancer to do so. She went on to perform Odissi throughout India and the world, helping to popularize this classical form of dance.
She joined the faculty of the Juilliard School’s dance division at New York’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in 1976, taught at different American universities, including Harvard, and spent the next two decades touring extensively in the United States.
Following her marriage and becoming a mother, Indrani went on to compete in the 1952 Femina Miss India Pageant. She was the first woman to win the Miss India Pageant. She later participated in the 1952 Miss Universe Pageant, which was held in Long Beach, California. She amazed the audience with her swimsuit look paired with a bindi and a gajra.
- She won the Femina Miss India Pageant in 1952.
- Indrani was awarded the Padma Shri award in 1969
- She was honored with Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1981.
On 5 February 1999, Indrani Rahman, at the age of 68, took her last breath due to old age-related ailments in Manhattan, New York.
- She performed for US President John F. Kennedy and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru during Nehru’s official visit to Washington, D.C., in 1961.
- In 1961, she entertained world leaders including Emperor Haile Selassie, Queen Elizabeth II, Mao Zedong, Nikita Khrushchev, and Fidel Castro.
- At age 9, Indrani enrolled in her mother’s company and accompanied her as she performed in both the United States and Europe.
- Her daughter, Sukanya Rahman wrote a book on the dance legacy of her mother and grandmother named ‘Dancing in The Family: An Unconventional Memoir of Three Women.’