Minati Mishra (1929 – 6 January 2020) was an Indian classical dancer and actress, known for her expertise in the Indian classical dance form of Odissi. She was reported in 2011 to be the oldest-living Odissi performer.[1][2] The Government of India honored Mishra in 2012, with the fourth-highest civilian award of Padma Shri.[3]

Minati Mishra
Minati Das

1929 (1929)
Cuttack, Odisha, India
Died6 January 2020(2020-01-06) (aged 90–91)
OccupationClassical dancer
Years active1956–1990
Spouse(s)Nityananda Mishra
ChildrenOne son
Parent(s)Basanta Kumar Das
AwardsPadma Shri
Sangeet Natak Akademi Award
Odisha Sangeet Natak Akademy

Early lifeEdit

Minati Mishra, née Minati Das,[4] was born in 1929 in Cuttack, now in the Indian state of Odisha, to Basanta Kumar Das, a local school headmaster,[4] as the youngest of his three children.[5] She started to learn dance and music at an early age, theme-based dance under the tutelage of Ajit Ghosh and Banabihari Maity and Odissi from Kabichandra Kalicharan Patnayak, an Odissi dancer. In 1950, Minati Mishra started learning under Kelucharan Mahapatra, the well-known Odissi guru.[5]

In 1954, Minati Mishra joined Kalakshetra of Rukmini Devi Arundale, on a scholarship from the Government of Odisha, and learned Bharatanatyam for one year under Kutty Sarada and Peria Sarada.[6] The next year, she joined the Indian Institute of Free Arts for training under Panda Wallur Pillai Chukkalingam and Minakshi Sunderam Pillai. She debuted in 1956, the first of several performances she rendered, during the next three years, at a number of major cities in India.[5] In 1959, she was invited to Switzerland by the International Photographic Association, and performed in Zurich, Lucerne, Geneva and Winterthur.[5] Three years later, she was awarded a doctoral degree[7] in Indology from the Philipp University of Marburg, Germany for a thesis on Natyashastra. In 1963, she was invited for a performance at the Berlin Film Festival.[5] She was noted for her expressive (Bhava) and dramatization (Abhinaya) skills.[8]

Acting careerEdit

Mishra acted in five Odia films. Her debut film Suryamukhi was released in 1963, followed by Jeevan Sathi, Sadhana, and Arundhati. All four received the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Odia.[9][10][11][12] She also acted in a 1963 Bengali film, Nirjana Saikate in which she has performed an Odissi dance number choreographed by Kelucharan Mahapatra.[13] Apart from her film career she was also an A Grade artist at the All India Radio and was a recipient of Sangeet Prabhakar title for Hindustani vocal music.[5][14]

Mishra was the principal of the Utkal Sangeet Mohavidyalaya, Bhubaneswar[15] from 1964 till 1989.[8][14] During her tenure there, the institution regularised its curriculum, academically formalised Odissi dance and music training, introduced theatrical aspects into the syllabus and established examination guidelines, all of which are reported to have helped in the revival of Odissi.[8] The stint at the institution also gave her opportunity to work alongside the first-generation gurus of Odissi such as Pankaj Charan Das and Deba Prasad Das.[16]


Soon after the death of her husband, Nityananda Mishra, who was an engineer, in 1980, Mishra retired from dance performances and formally retired in 1990. She settled in Switzerland and devoted her time to dance festivals, lecture tours and workshops in Switzerland, Canada and India.[5]

She died on 6 January 2020 in Switzerland.[17]


Her films include:[17]

Year Film Language Director
1963 Suryamukhi Odia Prafulla Sengupta
1963 Jeevan Sathi Odia Prabhat Mukherjee
1963 Nirjan Saikate Bengali Tapan Sinha
1964 Sadhana Odia Prabhat Mukherjee
1967 Arundhati Odia Prafulla Sengupta
1967 Bhai Bhauja Odia Sarathi

Awards and recognitionsEdit

Mishra was a recipient of the 1975 Orissa Sangeet Natak Akademi Award.[18] She also received the Kalinga Shastriya Sangeet Parishad Award[14] and in 2000, she received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award.[19][14] In 2012, the Government of India awarded her the Padma Shri, the fourth-highest civilian award of India.[3]


  1. ^ "60 years of Odissi". The Hindu. 24 March 2011. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
  2. ^ "TOI". TOI. 26 January 2012. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Padma Shri" (PDF). Padma Shri. 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 November 2014. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  4. ^ a b Ashok Mohanty (2011). My Life, My Work. Allied Publishers. p. 412. ISBN 9788184246407.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "Radhu Babu Bio". Radhu Babu. 2014. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
  6. ^ "Peria Sarada". Narthaki. 2014. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  7. ^ "Urvasi Dance". Urvasi Dance. 2014. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  8. ^ a b c "Radhu Babu Achievements". Radhu Babu. 2014. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
  9. ^ "Suryamukhi". Directorate of Film Festivals. 2014. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  10. ^ "Jeeban Sathi". Directorate of Film Festivals. 2014. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  11. ^ "Sadhana". Directorate of Film Festival. 2014. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  12. ^ "15th National Film Awards" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
  13. ^ "Nirjana Saikate". Nirjana Saikate. 28 November 2013. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  14. ^ a b c d "Radhu Babu Intro". Radhu Babu. 2014. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
  15. ^ "USM". USM. 2014. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  16. ^ "Deb Prasad Das". Narthaki. 2014. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  17. ^ a b "Eminent Odissi dancer Minati Mishra passes away at 91 in Switzerland". The New Indian Express. 6 January 2020. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  18. ^ "OSN Award" (PDF). Government of Orissa. Archived from the original (pdf) on 2 May 2014. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  19. ^ "SNA". Sangeet Natak Akademi. 2014. Archived from the original on 30 May 2015. Retrieved 30 November 2014.

External linksEdit