Sandhya Manoj is a Malaysian Odissi dancer, dance teacher, and yoga instructor. She is famous for being a contestant in the reality TV show Bigg Boss Malayalam 3 (2021).
Sandhya Manoj was born on Wednesday, 1 August 1979 (age 41 years; as of 2020) in Kuwait City, Kuwait. She was brought up in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Her zodiac sign is Leo.
While in Kuwait, at the age of five, Sandhya started learning Bharatanatyam and Mohiniyattam under Parvathy Narayana Swamy.
After her marriage, she moved to Kuala Lampur in Malaysia and found herself getting attracted to the Odissi dance. There, she joined the Temple of Fine Arts Kuala Lampur to learn Odissi and has been dedicated to the dance form since then. In 2006, she went to Odisha with a group of senior practitioners to learn Odissi directly from gurus Durga Charan Ranbir and Ratikant Mohapatra. She has also attended a workshop by Guru Padma Shri Madhavi Mudgal in Odissi dance. After completing her schooling in Saudi Arabia, she did her graduation in English Literature from India. Brahmabodhi
Height (approx.): 5′ 6″
Eye Colour: Jade Green
Hair Colour: Black
Family & Caste
Parents & Siblings
Her father’s name is Kunjanmenon Das. Her mother, Kala Das, is a dancer. She has a brother named Sanjiv Das, who works at Abu Dhabi National Insurance Company.
Husband & Children
She got married to Malaysia-based yoga expert Manoj Kaimal on Saturday, 23 January 1999.
The couple has a son named Sidharth Manoj and a daughter named Shivani Manoj.
She has performed classical dances for more than three decades. As a child, she began performing on stage in Kuwait. As a Bharatanatyam dancer, she performed her first Dashavatar ‘Paalkadal Allaimelle’ taught by her first guru. Her first performance in Kerala happened at Nishagandhi auditorium, where she presented two numbers – ‘Navarasa’ and ‘Dasha Maha Vidya’ for her short recital. She has performed at several national and international events like Raindrops Festival, Surya Festival (Kerala), and Natyolsavam (Thiruvananthapuram). She has also performed at events for the Government of India and the Government of Malaysia. After spending years performing Odissi, she produced her own dance theatres such as Shakthi Praleeyanam, Ardhnaarishwara, Padmanabha Daasa, Swati Thirunal Dashavatar, Dashamahavidhya, Prerna, and Ashtanayika Radha.
Her performance was under the auspices of Guru Gopinath Natanagramam & Dance Museum in Thiruvananthapuram. She is a yoga enthusiast and gained world attention when she came up with the idea to implement dance into yoga. In 2000, when she was 21, she opened Manasa Yoga School, a yoga studio in SS 2, Petaling Jaya, with her husband. The yoga school is touted as the best yoga school in Malaysia. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Manasa Yoga School opened online classes in Odissi.
She also helped her husband conceptualise Manasa Yoga. She is a dance and yoga instructor at Manasa Yoga School. She also conducts dance workshops. She also teaches Odissi at the Temple of Fine Arts Kuala Lumpur. She has also taught children in two international schools and at Taraana (a school for special children).
- Song: Alhamdulillah from the film Sufiyum Sujatayum (2020)
- Beverage: Coffee
- Restaurant: Hailam Kopitiam in Kuala Lumpur
- When she decided to pursue dance as her career, her family was against it as none of her family members thought of dance as a potential career. According to her,
If I had half the courage as now I would have reacted as ‘Oh Gosh, I come with such a culture less background family, who find it shame to stand and embrace and stand for the exposure of our tradition.’ But I was a timid child then and so, kept quiet and buried the dream of going to the institutions like Kalakshetra and Kalamandalam.”
- She has endorsed products such as Oatsify, 88KETO, and Malabar Gold and Diamonds on her social media accounts. She has modelled for the jewellery designer Malika Sinha in an ad campaign.
- She has also performed in theatre. In one of the plays titled ‘Devadasi,’ she sang, acted, danced, and played multiple roles.
- She has hosted prestigious events for the High Commission of India to Malaysia, ASEAN Business Advisory Council Malaysia, and Malayalam Talentime Contest by the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists.
- Talking about her love for dancing in an interview, Sandhya said,
Dancing has been a passion for me since childhood. It helps me connect to the energy of the moment, and it makes me feel complete. More than just staring at the dancer, the audience has to understand what I am doing.”
- In 2017, she appeared as a guest in a morning program on the channel Jai Hind News TV Kerala.
- In 2019, she appeared on the cover of Yoga Life magazine with her husband.
- In 2021, she contested the television reality show Bigg Boss Malayalam 3, which premiered on Asianet.
- She has an eponymous YouTube channel in which she uploads her dance, travel, and achievements videos.
- She is a founder of a non-profit organization called Persatuan Abhaya Malaysia, which is helping in empowering victims of sexual and physical abuse by indulging them in performing arts and yoga.