I was watching Mirza Ghalib last night, as part of my own little Suraiya festival, and as with Diwana (mentioned in my last post), there was a musical scene that caused me a big delay in getting through the movie, because I had to play it over and over again.  But this time the cause was not Suraiya herself, nor was it even Kumkum (who has a very nice debut in this film), nor was it even the splendid voice of Mohammed Rafi…  This time, it was a dance by someone I’ve seen in only two films.  I watched this dance before, just a few months ago, but I hadn’t had the pleasure yet of being surprised by it in the middle of the movie, and it does appear seemingly out of nowhere and disappear far too soon.  I posted it a few months ago also, but here’s a refresher for those who might have missed it:

Of course, that is not the film scene that she’s most known for…  And I know I have posted that scene, from Jalsaghar, a couple of times before, including in that post that I did just a few months ago.  Moreover, you have probably seen these dances even more recently if you are a regular visitor to Minai’s blog.  But on the other hand, where these dances are concerned, I don’t think there is such a thing as seeing them too recently or too often.  So, as another “refresher” (meaning an excuse to post and watch it again), here’s that spectacular dance from Satyajit Ray’s Music Room:

The last time I posted these dances, Sophy asked me if I “had a post” about Roshan Kumari or even a bio, and I had to answer that I had nothing more to offer.  Once again, it was taking a long time to find information about one of the greatest dancers in Indian films.  It’s not as though she’s been underappreciated either – lots of people refer to her as a famous kathak dancer – but it seemed as though it was simply impossible to find a full post or bio or anything like that…

But I did find something during the past day.  In fact, a student of hers named Mukta Joshi put up a full biography and tribute, My Guru-Padmashree Dr. Roshan Kumariji.  And it is a delightful page!

I also happened to find another page with a bio about her, but it is very short and doesn’t tell us much more.  Plus, between them, these pages left me confused regarding some things – especially the identity of Roshan Kumari’s mother, since I couldn’t figure out whether she was (better) known as Zhora Begum (as stated in one post) or Zohra Jan (as mentioned in the other)…

And then I found out that she was best known as Zohrabai Ambalewali!  I didn’t believe this at first (although there were enough hints pointing to this fact), but thanks to Vidur Sury (see comments below) for setting me straight that Roshan Kumari was indeed the daughter of Zohrabai!  And thanks to posts at Sargam and Cineplot for confirming that too…

So, I am left feeling as though I have to see more… More bios, more photos, and also more dance clips.

And by the way, the longer bio mentions that she also studied bharatanatyam, something I didn’t know.  I would love to see her doing that!  And the shorter bio mentions other films she’s been in.  She was in Waris (1954), and she was in Basant Bahar.  If anyone could make the scene(s) with her in those films available, that would be fantastic.  (Much as  I love those two dances with Roshan Kumari – and because I do love them – two dances are just not enough!)

About these ads