9 comments on “Kamal Haasan’s Kitchen Kuchipudi in Sagara Sangamam (Telugu, 1983)

  1. That was cool! I’d love to know what’s going on in the story around this.

    (PS the Tamil link has been disabled :( )

  2. Hi, Beth. I skimmed through this movie online without subs a while back and also read some plot summaries, so I have some idea… Kamal Haasan’s character is an excellent classical dancer with a devotion to the art, but he isn’t able to get recognition for his abilities for a number of reasons…one being that he comes from a poor family, another that he is a rather eccentric and uncompromising person with a bit too much integrity, and another that he becomes a terrible alcoholic (though this happens after certain disappointments have taken place). There is a wealthy woman who recognizes his talent and tries to give him him a chance to prove himself at an important dance event, but he cannot go because he has to stay with his poor, dying mother. (Yes, it’s the old poor, dying mother theme.) And things go kind of downhill from there…

    I guess in this scene that the clip is from, he is working as a cook in order to scrape together a living…and he can’t resist dancing to the bharatanatyam song, which he apparently does better than the woman in the performance being given at some function in the house (though she isn’t bad either). I guess this is the wealthy woman’s house… Is this where she finds him and recognizes his talents? That might be it…

    Thanks for alerting me to the disappearance of the Tamil clip. I’ll just delete the reference to it for now.

  3. Dear Richard,

    It think its a wonderful blog you are maintaining.

    However, I just wanted to point out a slight mistake in your post. What the dancer in the background and the Kamal Hassan are dancing is not Bharatanatyam, but Kuchipudi. The song, “Baala Kanakamaya Chela”, is a traditional item of the Kuchipudi reportoire. :)

    Infact, the other dancer in the clip is the great Manju Bhargavi of the movie “Sankarabharanam” fame. Sankarabharanam was a rage all across India when released in ’79. It was remade in Hindi as Sur Sangam.

    There was a time when Sankarabharanam ran to packed houses from Malyasia to New Jersey, and prompted a revived interest in Carnatic music and Kuchipudi. I recommend you watch it.

    Involving minimalistic dialogues and a deeply moving story, its a excellent must watch!!!

  4. Harish, thank you for the nice words and the correction. (Probably, a few people could use that correction, becauseI’m pretty sure I had seen others refer to this as bharatanatyam too.) I guess kuchipudi makes more sense because this was a Talugu film. (By the way, I am never sure whether to capitalize all these dances – I guess that’s somewhat optional?) And it makes for a better title too – which I’ll correct right now!

    Thanks also for the recommendation of Sankarabharanam. I’ll look around for this (especially if there’s a chance of finding it with English subtitles!).

  5. Richard,

    You pose a very pertinent question there!

    IMHO, its better to capitalize them for the following reason:

    Indian Classical Dance as a whole can be said to be a school of dance. It has a stylized code, a language of “mudras”, and a fairly standard method of dancing cutting across various styles.

    However, the sub schools like Kuchipudi, Manipuri, Odissi, Bharatanatyam etc., have evolved into distinct styles under that very same umbrella of Indian Classical Dance. In this case Indian Classical Dance is the common noun. (even though the word Indian is capitalized).

    Each of these dances then, become proper nouns in nomenclature. It is like flamenco is a dance form, but the Pyrenees flamenco (capitalized) is a sub sect in it. The tulip is a flower, but the Aishwarya tulip is a sub-sect, and hence capitalized.

    And I’m sure you will not have a problem finding Sankarabharanam with sub titles. Its a very well known classic in Indian circles.

    Happy Watching!!!

  6. Harish, once again, sorry that your interesting messages got delayed in posting (for the same reason as I mentioned in another post)… I will have to mull over your reasons for capitalization. Thanks for the info on the singer – I am going to look into that a little more, though I imagine that you are probably right.

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