7 comments on “More About Kamala (Legendary Bharatanatyam Dancer, Star of Tamil Cinema, Dance Teacher On Long Island)

  1. Great articles. She was clearly a very famous dancer, but still quite unfamiliar to movie watchers today. I first heard of her from your blog and now of course I can recognise her in the movies, too! Neither of the articles gives any details of her filmi performances, though. Did she just come on as an item dancer – like in Yahudi – and thats why I’ve never heard of her?

    Its interesting to find that she’s a Kathak dancer as well because I was wondering about her dance style in the Kathputli dance and couldnt figure out whether she was a Kathak or a Bharatnatyam dancer. The hand movements and swift footwork were like that of a Kathak dancer but most South Indian dancers from that period (that I know of) are Bharatnatyam dancers, and it had me confused!

  2. Thanks, Bollyviewer. Nice to hear that you discovered Kamala through my blog – always good to know that I’m at least doing something useful! :)

    I think Kamala had some major roles in Tamil films. I’ve read about a couple of different films made in the ’40s in which she played the hero or heroine’s younger sister. I know she’s been a character in a number of films, though maybe some of them didn’t extend past the sort of character role she played in Kath Putli (where she was part of the plot but still didn’t do anything outside of her major dance scene). She seems to have had less of a role in Hindi films. Maybe that’s the catch. Outside of the two we mentioned, the only other Hindi film I think I’ve seen her in was Chori Chori, in which she did that one bharatanatyam item number.

    Yes, the articles did not really discuss her roles in films. I would like to see some more recollections about her days in films and her interactions with the filmi world.

    Nice observation, by the way, about the bharatanatyam vs. kathak dancing. (And maybe I should start capitalizing those dance names too. :) I never know, really – from what I see, the capitalization really seems optional.)

  3. Hi My name is vani and i am working as a coordinator in an activity centre in sarjapur road.We would like to start bharthnatyam class in our activity centre .Is it posible to get your number to speak to you regarding the same.


  4. Vani. Thank you for writing. I am flattered that you think I could be of some help to you in starting a bharatanatyam class in an actvitiy center India, but I honestly don’t see how I could be of any help. My acquaintance with bharatanatyam is only a couple of years old for the most part, and I am only a fan. Moreover, I live in New York City, where I grew up, and I don’t plan on traveling anywhere for a while, because I don’t have a regular job and I have no money. But if there’s anything you’d like to ask me about regarding what I’ve written here, feel free.

    If there’s something that you feel would be better asked over personal e-mail, let me know; otherwise, this blog is open to all questions about the posts. Unfortunately, I don’t generally give out my phone number, and besides, unless it’s a good friend or somebody offering me temp work, I usually don’t answer the phone. :)

  5. Oh I am so late to this party!! Richard, I just tonight discovered this interesting article on her from 2008 in Sruti Magazine: http://www.columbuscarnaticmusic.org/pdf/kamala.pdf Kamala says some fairly depressing things at the end regarding her current financial status and such (though I wonder if she was quoted out of context).

    I then looked up the name of her school and realized that she is still alive and well and kicking and fairly well-known in the dance community (natharki had an article about her 75th birthday, etc.) WOW! Where have I been? For some reason I thought she had gone the way of Sayee-Subbulakshmi in terms of information availability…

    I rushed to search your blog to see if you knew this too and of course you had already posted about it. :) I’m going to go read those lovely Sruti scans on her school’s website now.

    Just thought to share my excitement!

  6. Kamala Lakshman always conjurs up visions of a damsel waiting for her lover as in her song sequence ‘Andhi Mayangudade’ in the Tamil film ‘Partiban Kanavu’. Wonderful!

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