What Happened to Vikram Sarabhai’s Wife? How Did Mrinalini Sarabhai Die?

Image Credit: Indian Diplomacy/YouTube

SonyLIV’s Indian series ‘Rocket Boys’ depicts the incredible true story of Homi J. Bhabha and Vikram Sarabhai, two pioneer scientists who propelled nuclear science and space research in India. Along with their engrossing careers, the show also offers a detailed portrayal of their personal lives, especially Vikram Sarabhai’s relationship with Mrinalini Sarabhai, the renowned classical dancer and dance teacher.

Since the series opens a gateway to the early years of Mrinalini Sarabhai’s life with Vikram, the viewers must be wondering about her life after the events of the first season. On that note, here’s everything you need to know!

What Happened to Mrinalini Sarabhai?

The first season of ‘Rocket Boys’ chiefly focuses on Vikram and Mrinalini’s marriage and their turbulent relationship. According to Vikram’s biographer Amrita Shah, Vikram and Mrinalini’s marriage was going through a troubled phase when Vikram started to invest his time more in the development of science and scientific research for social advancement. Mrinalini, on the other hand, founded the Darpana Academy of Performing Arts in Ahmedabad, India, and started to focus on her dance academy. Mrinalini also started performing frequently during this period.

Mrinalini’s performances were highly focused on social concerns. She started raising awareness against issues like dowry deaths, environmental degradation, and women’s rights violation through her classical performances. In 1963, she wrote a play about dowry deaths, which went on to bring significant attention to the issue. In the 1970s, Mrinalini created ‘Ranmalpur,’ a piece that voices against Dalit killings in Gujarat. It was followed by ‘Aspirations’ in 1979, which raised awareness against environmental degradation.

The legendary dancer and activist also dealt with her husband’s death in December 1971. Mrinalini continued her performances in international stages with Darpana. Her first major international performance was in Paris in 1949, at the prestigious Théâtre National de Chaillot. Darpana made its New York debut in 1972. Mrinalini also choreographed a dance piece based on Beethoven’s ‘The Creatures of Prometheus’ in Italy, where she collaborated with prominent ballet dancers and choreographers Milorad Mišković and Carla Fracci.

The world-renowned choreographer and instructor also received the national civilian awards Padma Bhushan in 1992 and the Padma Shri in 1995. During her later years, Mrinalini mainly oversaw the operations of Darpana, encouraging countless talents and artists. Her last performance was in a production named ‘Kadak Badshahi’ in January 2015.

How Did Mrinalini Sarabhai Die?

Mrinalini Sarabhai died on January 21, 2016, at the age of 97, due to complications of a stomach infection. She died at her home, which is inside the Darpana Academy of Performing Arts, in Ahmedabad, India. “My mother Mrinalini Sarabhai has just left for her eternal dance,” Mrinalini’s daughter and renowned dancer Mallika Sarabhai wrote following her death. Since Mrinalini’s demise, her daughter Mallika and the dance academy Darpana have held several festivals and performances to commemorate Mrinalini’s contribution to arts and societal advancement.

Mrinalini Sarabhai had reportedly performed in over 100 countries. She also trained around 18,000 students in Bharatnatyam and Kathakali during her illustrious teaching career that lasted more than half a century. Along with her husband Vikram Sarabhai, Mrinalini also fought for the betterment of her countryfolk.

Read More: Was Parvana Irani Homi Bhabha’s Wife? Is She Alive or Dead?