12 comments on “Happy Birthday, Padmini!

  1. That sounds great… I don’t think I would have a chance to watch that movie fully (meaning, understanding all the lyrics and dialogue) because, at least as of now, I don’t think there’s a DVD with subtitles available anywhere (though please do tell me if you know differently). I do love all the dances (as you might know already) and the music and singing… And I’ve read interesting things about the social commentary. So, I’m looking forward to this!

  2. You are very welcome, Ava, and thank you for the nice words too.

    Yes, I’ve seen that song you linked to, and it is a lot of fun.

    Mera Naam Joker had that sexy outing, but also a couple of very good dances. In addition, I thought she played that part very well (especially considering that her character wasn’t ultimately the most admirable person in this film).

  3. Now I’ve posted Mr. Sampath, but still am not sure if the pics are visible. I don’t know if it is my computer at home or wordpress or vlc or internet explorer, which is at fault.

  4. Thanks, Harvey. Your post looks fine, and you probably have already seen a long comment from me, which probably was not unexpected. :)

    I knew about the nine emotions/navrasas, first of all, because this dance has been available with subtitles in the past. (In fact, I posted it here with subtitles once – but then the copyright police came along…)

    I’m pretty sure I’ve also read reviews of this dance (or at least one review somewhere) discussing Padmnis magnificent performance of those navrasas (and how she depicts all of them, intensely, in a matter of seconds)…

    I also did a bit of reading up on bharatanatyam last year (because that’s what I do when I like an art form – I can’t simply enjoy it, you know), and saw a lot of discussion about the nine emotions in general.

  5. What a dancer! I wonder if she had a preference in her dances – did she like the more classical dances she got to do in South Indian films or the more filmi dances she did in Bollywood… And I wonder why Bolly version of “classical” is so different from the authentic version, inspite of such great talent available!

  6. Bollyviewer, I remember watching a classical dancer criticize the ‘bollywood dancing’ in a TV interview once. She said that these dances ‘look’ classical but the camera movements make sure they look sexy too. I suppose the south-indian moviemakers did not want to turn the dance into a ‘sexy-item’ hence they are more pure.

    I tried to search youtube for performances by Sitara Devi, Gopi Krishna, Yamini Krishnamurthy but there is no record of them. Which is such a pity. Doordarshan surely has a lot of tapes of these artists, they should release a series of DVDs.

  7. Ava, I’m not sure why you weren’t able to find performances by any of these dancers on YouTube. Did you mean “live performances” that weren’t “filmi”? I ask because there are quite a few filmi performances by Gopi Krishna and Sitara Devi on YouTube, and I’ve posted a few, some very recently.

    There also are live performances by Sitara Devi, at least late in life… Here’s my search result for her:


    There are also quite a few performances by Yamini Krishnamurthy and other great classical dancers posted at Tripmonk’s site:


    (Some Yamini Krishnamurthy dances are labeled “Heritage Dances” because that is the series they were taken from.)

    Over on my sidebar, I also have a YouTube link called Bharatanatyam that has a lot of what it says; you might find good classic, classical dances there.

    In response to Bollyviewer’s question about whether Padmini preferred the more genuine classical dancing…I supsect so. She started a dance school specializing in bhratanatyam, and earlier, she would even do live bharatanatyam performances outside of film performances, sometimes with one or two of the other Travancore Sisters, even into the 1960s (I saw an article about that somewhere)…

    Vyjayanthimala has said explicitly that she is most interested in classical dancing, especially bharatanatyam, which is interesting, because I think of her as someone who strayed from the classical dance much more often than Padmini. (But then long after she left the film world, she built up a reputation as a live bharatanatyam dancer.)

    Kamala Lakshman, the first bharatantyam star in the cinema, has expressed a lot of dissatisfaction with the lack of appreciation for classical dance in the cinema (especially in the years after her heyday)…

    It’s funny, by the way, that there was such a drive to alter bharatanatyam dances in Bollywood films to make them look “sexier”… From what I have read, bharatanatyam actually did have more sexual content in its earlier forms over the centuries; then some of its more erotic qualities were taken away when it was brought back to be a high art form in the 20th century. So maybe it actually is more authentic for the “pure” form of the dance as we know it to be sexier.

    But I sometimes find the more pure forms of bharatanatyam to be sexier than the more modified filmi versions. Maybe I’m just a bit strange. :)

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