Being blessed with a load of talents Lt. SrinivasaKulkarni was born in Hamsbhavi Village of Dharwad district Karnataka. He was the son of RamachandraKulkarni and Lakshmi Bai. He developed self- interest by the traditional and cultural style of dancing i.e., Bharathanatyam and this interest turned out to lead him into a very successful career. He was the teacher and mentor himself which burdened him a lot at the start but as time progressed he became a master of the art with no stone unturned.
He obtained a B.A. degree from the Karnataka Vishwavidyalaya in the year 1935.He had a great interest towards literature too. He in his childhood days worked as a distributor for the then famous Samyuktha Karnataka and in his youth he was the editor of the monthly Prema circulars. He also had a keen interest in Dramatics. He enacted in the famous play ‘Akkamahadevi’ guided by the famous dramatist GubbiVeranna. The people were inspired by his act called ‘Shivathandavam’-the dance of Lord Shiv in that play. His career in the field of Bharathanatyam was in the budding stage when he finally got the best guidance from Udayshankara the famous Bharathanatya dancer.
From 1938 to 1948 for a span of ten long years he worked as a dance artist in Madras. In the year 1939 he established Natyabharathi Dance Institute in Madras and became the first Kannadiga to do so on the Madras soil. He took the credit for becoming the dance choreographer for various Tamil movies like Bhakthaprahaladha,Dhanashurakarana,AmarashilpiJhakanacharya etc., He also gave a vital importance and respected other dance forms of dance. He was a frontier in learning Khathakali,Manipuri and other such dance forms. He not only performed on Indian soil but had his footprints laid on foreign soil like Sri Lanka, Burma, South-Africa thereby lifting the Indian spirits.
During the period of World War II to enhance the spirit of the war various dance performance were arranged. In 1948 his team of dancers had made preparations to visit America. But in the same year the death of Mahatma Gandhi created a havoc in the country. Henceforth SrinivasaKulkarni had to shift their base from Mumbai to some other place for their survival.
He established his dance school called ‘Natyabharathi’ spread across various North Karnataka districts like Dharwad,Davangere,Harihar,Lakshmieshwar,Sirsi,Hangal etc., This institute gave training to budding students who had a keen interest in this form of dance style. He and his family met the daily needs from the offerings given by his students as a token of respect and love.
In the year of 1971 he got the award from the State Committee of Sangeetha as the best artist. He was the mentor and teacher to the then famous actors like B.Sarojinidevi, Smt. Kalpana,Smt. PanadariBai,Smt. KanchanaMala and Smt. PadmashreeChindodhiLeela .He inspired the local people about thoe form of dance . In the year of 1974 he breathed his last leaving a huge number of well-wishers and his supporters. His great dedication to this form of art can be depicted at the Rangamanadir present in Hamsbhavi and Labours Colony in Davangere and this divine place has been named as ‘Sri NatyacharyaSrinivasaKulkarniRangamandir’. The Municipality of Davangere also has respected this person by naming the famous road which leads to Jayadeva Circle as SrinivasaKulkarni Street.
Smt. Lakshmi Devi was a trusted and sincere disciple of Srinivasa Kulkarni. She was a radio artist and the background singer for various stage shows across the state. Inspired by her pleasant voice in on of his relative’s house Srinivasa Kulkarni decided to train her as a Music artist. This incident changed the life of Lakshmi Bai. In the year of 1994 she was awarded from the Nataka Academy, in 1998 she got the award for her Dramatics from the State Government. She passed away in 1999 embarking a great step in the field of Music, Art and Dance.
Being born in the same family as SrinivasaKulkarni ,Rajani Raghunath Kulkarni and her sons Srikanth R Kulkarni and Srinidhi R Kulkarni take the privilege to continue the charm and pride created by their ancestors over the years. They under the same name Natyabharathi Institute of Dance conduct a weekly Dance training program for its students.