Born in 1900, son of Ramanathan Bhagavathar, Guru Mangudi Dorairaja Iyer established the Melattur style of dance in Chennai. There were many facets to this Guru.
A scholar of music, whose books on Mridangam and dance bear eloquent testimony to his erudition, an exponent and teacher of Bharathanatyam, who resurrected the Suddha Nrittam, Bhattasa Natyam and Perani Natyam and a Sanyasi who mastered the Srividya Upasana.
Mangudi Dorairaja Iyer learnt Carnatic music from his father and the Mridangam from Anganna Naickar and Tanjavur Vaidhyanatha Iyer.
The Guru learnt Bharatham and Nattuvangam under the guidance of Melattur Natesa Iyer who was a leading light among the Bagavatha Mela teachers of Melattur.He is also the author of two books-‘Mridanga Swabodhini’ (1939) and ‘Swabodha Bharatha Navaneetham’(1957).
The guru’s interests now focused on the teachings of Sri Vidya Upasana and Bharatham. He started teaching his earliest disciples and began the “Chidanandha Natya Mandali”
“Swabodha Bharatha Navaneetham” published in 1957 is a result of many years of research into rare works like “Kohaliyam”, “Nagarjuneeyam”, “Bharatha Sastra Moolam”, “Abhinaya Darpanam”, and “Natanadhi Vadya Ranjanam”.
Written in elegant Tamil, the book covers every aspect of Bharathanatyam. Among the list of his disciples were the renowned Roshan Vajifdar, Pushpa Bhuyan, and Yamini Krishnamurthy.
The Guru made innovations which were rooted in the truly traditional school of Melattur dance form. His imaginative creation in Bharatham has resulted in a unique presentation of Suddha Nrittam.
His contribution to the sphere of fine arts is not only noteworthy but also original in concept. A strict teacher, he would settle for nothing short of perfection.