German pens novel on Hyderabad based Kuchipudi dancer

The 120-page independently-published novel by German author LR Johnson was launched last week, and is available worldwide.

By Author  |  Published: 7th Dec 2017  1:23 amUpdated: 7th Dec 2017  2:34 pm
Kuchipudi dancer Haleem Khan
Kuchipudi dancer Haleem Khan

Hyderabad: A novel based on his life is the newest of many vindications for city-based Kuchipudi exponent Haleem Khan.

After having won accolades and making his mark as an actor, the classical dancer has now become the biographical subject of a novel called ‘To Dance or Not to Dance, That is Not the Question’.

The 120-page independently-published novel by German author LR Johnson was launched last week, and is available worldwide in paperback from and in ebook (Kindle) edition from This is Johnson’s second book.

“The Frankfurt-based author came to know about me through his daughter, who lives in Bengaluru and is a good friend of mine. And he said he wanted to write my story. At the time, more than a year ago, I had some inhibitions. I have no grey hair, I thought, so how do I qualify for an autobiography? But the author persuaded me, and I realised that if a book about me is written now, I have the opportunity of inspiring a whole generation of youngsters, who might be too old for such inspiration when I am in my 60s,” laughs Khan.

Exemplary journey

The book documents the exemplary journey of this young Muslim man from a lower middle class background to an acknowledged classical dancer.

“Even today, the question of how a Muslim man can portray Hindu gods on stage persists. There is beauty in what we do. I am waiting for people to see that beauty and forget everything else. Is that too much to ask,” fumes Khan.

The Rupanurupam part of his performances, where he does female impersonation, is what caught the attention of the German author first, Khan says.

“The author was extremely excited in the beginning. He said he never came across a story such as mine, and that he wanted to contribute to my art in his own way thus. After going back and forth, we decided it is best if he writes a fictional account of my life. So, maybe the author has exaggerated about 10 per cent, taking creative liberties, for the sake of making the book an interesting read. But it is still my story, and I am overwhelmed,” says the 35-year-old.