I had thought of working on this theme before, based on one of my all-time favorite movies (and everybody’s?), Pakeezah. And I forgot about it for a while, but that changed a couple of weeks ago, when I bought myself a new Pakeezah DVD. I am enjoying this movie now even more than I ever did before, partly because I have learned a little more about all the elements that went into it, so I realize now even more than ever how great a film it is. But another reason I am enjoying it so much now is that I am having so much fun this time around making screen caps. And I particularly like the set of caps above because they express a predicament with which I can deeply empathize, especially after watching more Indian film dances over the past few years than is probably good for me.
So now, in the spirit of that predicament/sentiment, here are eight of my favorite dance scenes with foot(work) closeups and other special attention payed to dancers’ feet. Just about all of these scenes have been posted on this blog before, but some are up in newer versions, and, of course, they haven’t all been put together in this particular favorites list… Which, by the way, is in no particular order, though some scenes are linked by thematic connections, and I just had to start out with a song from Pakeezah.
Among all the actresses starring in the videos in this post, Meena Kumari is the only one who wasn’t a real dancer, and the dancing here isn’t all that flashy… Though it seems quite good in places, which makes me wonder if some of that footwork isn’t done by Padma Khanna, who I know did some dancing for Meena in another part of the film. In any event, it’s still all beautiful, especially with those close-ups of the beautiful hennaed feet…
How many times have I posted Roshan Kumari’s Jalsaghar dance already? However many, as far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t matter, because it is not possible to watch this Kathak dance too many times. Unfortunately, embedding has been disabled, but it’s certainly worth the extra click! And just look at that stunning closeup of the footwork toward the end!
Roshan Kumari’s dance with Gopi Krishna in Parineeta contains what might be my favorite Kathak footwork from any Hindi film. This is another scene that I have posted here more than once but am happy to post again, considering it from a different angle, so to speak.
Padmini’s dance competition with MGR certainly has some beautiful footwork closeups – of Padmini, that is. Unlike with the Roshan Kumari/Gopi Krishna scene above, there isn’t much reason to look at the male “dancer’s” feet. But it is all kind of fun when the foot painting starts.
Kamala Lakshman’s competition with Kuchalakumari certainly contains beautiful footwork and foot painting as well. But here there’s also a special focus on Kamala’s feet because of a certain character’s reaction to them – in the beginning and also closer toward the end of the dance, when he grabs the foot of a sculpture. I’m not sure what’s going on here – it is rather unusual…
You’ll have to go to YouTube to view the next dance, by Lalitha, but once again, it is well worth it. The opening shot is a lovely closeup of Lalitha’s hennaed feet, and we get to see those feet in closeup again a little later, covered in coins to show us, I assume, that her feet are earning her tons of money as she dances all over India.
Vyjayanthimala’s Bharatanatyam scene in New Delhi is remarkable in a few ways, one being that it contains delightful closeups of her dancing feet. And they are unmistakably and uniquely Vyjayanthimala’s feet.