Deaf dancer to make debut before crowd of 1,000
She is deaf and has never danced before an audience.
But on Aug 1, she will make her debut.
And there will be more than 1,000 people watching to cheer her on.
Dental technician Shoba Rosy, 42, who is hearing-impaired, will be one of the 40 dancers who will perform in a Tamil variety show, MGR the Legend II, at the Kallang Theatre on Aug 1.
The 3½-hour production is a tribute to Tamil movie icon Marudur Gopalamenon Ramachandran, better known as MGR. (See report above.)
The show is a sequel to an earlier one titled MGR the Legend, which was staged in December 2012.
Writing her answers down in an interview with The New Paper last Tuesday, she said: "I feel a little bit scared and nervous. I still make a few mistakes but I will continue to practise until the show."
She usually communicates through sign language.
She will be dancing in a five-minute segment with the star of the show, MGR impersonator Lailathul Sultanil Arebeen Maideen, 51.
Known in local entertainment circles as Mr Sultan and recognised as the Singapore MGR, he has been mimicking his favourite star since he was in his early 20s.
Mr Sultan, a customer service engineer, is also the show's executive producer.
Miss Shoba, who is single, lost her hearing when she was six after a high fever.
She said: "Even though I can't hear any more, I can still feel the vibrations of the music and the beat."
Since early last month, Miss Shoba has been going to Mr Sultan's executive flat in Woodlands once a week after work for rehearsals. Each session lasts about an hour and they practise their routine in the living room.
Mr Sultan said: "To try to understand her better, I rehearsed with her, without playing any music.
"She watches my gestures and body language and moves accordingly. She is a very graceful dancer and a fast learner."
The father of five said he met Miss Shoba late last year at a Little India restaurant. She was with her friend, Mr Loganathan Ganesen, 46, who is in charge of the show's logistics.
Mr Sultan said: "I was struck by Shoba's beauty and felt she would make a perfect dancer in the show. At that time, I didn't know that she couldn't hear.
"I tried to speak to her, but she kept quiet, took out some paper and wrote a message, telling me about her condition.
"After that, I made up my mind. I wanted her on my show."
He decided to offer her a dancing role and was happy when she readily agreed to be part of the production.
In response, Miss Shoba smiled and stated that she felt the same way.
Then she wrote down: "Some people look down on me and call me 'mute'. I don't like that.
"Handicapped, blind, deaf and people who can hear well are all humans.
"I advise women like me to just follow their dreams and not be afraid to try new things."
I advise women like me to just follow their dreams and not be afraid to try new things.
- Ms Shoba Rosy, 42, who is deaf and will be performing in front of a 1,000-strong crowd in a Tamil variety show at Kallang Theatre in August.
Marudur Gopalamenon Ramachandran, better known as MGR, was an actor, a director and producer. He was also chief minister of Tamil Nadu in South India for three terms.
Born on Jan 17, 1917, in Sri Lanka, MGR made his film debut in 1936 in a film called Sathi Leelavathi, where he played a police inspector.
MGR appeared in more than 100 movies until 1984, successfully juggling acting with his political career.
He became chief minister of Tamil Nadu on June 30, 1977, and was in office until his death on Dec 24, 1987.
Every year, for the past 26 years, Singapore fans have been paying tribute to the icon by dedicating an obituary to him. They come together to do volunteer work and donate provisions to the needy on every Christmas Eve.
They also organise special prayers for MGR at the Sri Sivan Temple in Geylang.
A variety show titled MGR the Legend II will be held on Aug 1 at the Kallang Theatre as a tribute to him.
Tickets will be on sale from May 15.
Costing between $35 and $75 each, they will be available at places including Lady Fair Beauty Centre in Little India and Quality Safe Academic at Enterprise Road off Jalan Boon Lay.