11 comments on “Tributes to Faiz, Noor Jehan, Naushad, R.D. Burman, and Rafi by Ashraf Habibullah and the Diablo Ballet

  1. This is so interesting and unexpected to see! I wonder what motivated the ballet to pay these tributes and what connections brought that on. The costumes are very amusing to me. I’m just starting to learn about the many “oriental”-themed ballets that are common in the ballet world and from the little I’ve seen it seems the costume designers can’t seem to get far beyond the “harem pants with a bindi” stereotype when dancing Indian themes. Thanks for posting these! An enjoyable watch. Though I find myself wishing they had used the original film music for the Teesri Manzil one. :)

  2. I don’t like the voice, but I love the idea. That last (without the vocals) clip of Madhuban mein Radhika naache re is easily my favourite of these – beautifully choreographed and very pleasing. The others have lovely dancing too, but for me the effect was spoilt by the singing.

  3. Thanks all for the interesting comments. I wrote a long response, answering each of you, and then my browser malfunctioned and I lost it all. So, I’ll get back to this :)

  4. A very different take. The dances are graceful as one would expect, though a different singer would have made a whole lot of difference, but he’s also the producer so one is appreciative too.

    Their diaphanous costumes float around like the dancers themselves.

  5. Quite a novel method.
    To be frank, I need time to digest. But that is my problem.

  6. Ann, getting back to ballet classes sounds like a nice New Years resolution… My own bari behen in real life got back to her ballet classes not too long ago, too.

    Harvey, I agree, it seems that everybody does have his or own way of paying tribute – and I say good, because that means a larger number of interesting projects and events.

    Minai, you are right about the frequent stereotypes of Orientalist costumes in western dances, and a couple of these ballet scenes do not really get past that (though some do). There are some good exceptions out there – like the clips that you included in the American Kismet (1955), which were influenced in a more detailed way by bharatanatyam costumes, etc.

    Dustedoff, compared to Rafi and Noor Jehan, Ashraf Habibullah’s voice here is not so pleasant to me, either, though I appreciate his cleverness and ambitiousness. When he slows things down and emphasizes certain syllables in such a different way, it is kind of like hearing an innovative remix, only he’s doing it with his voice rather than with electronics. (And then, interestingly, if you look at the site, you can see that they actually did do remixes of some of these songs.) But then, when we get to that last clip I posted, with the purely instrumental section from “Madhuban Mein Radhika,” it does kind of feel like a relief. :-)

    Pacifist, you made some good points.

    Ashok, no need to blame yourself for the indigestion – that response is just as legitimate as any other. :-)

  7. Hi Richard:
    I want to add your link in one of my pages. Can you please contact me by e-mail? After e-mailing me, please DELETE this entry. You know me already. We corresponded before. :-)

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