18 comments on “Five Great Song-and-Dance Scenes in the Jungle

  1. Love the dance from Roti. Choreography is very sophisticated considering those times.

    When I read your topic for the songs ‘Nagin’ came to mind at once…. and then Madhumati. Most of it’s songs are in the forest. But I think you want the adivasis singing and dancing along. This song from Madhumati might fulfill.

  2. And this song from Tower House. I’ve seen the film, and this is really supposed to be deep in the jungle where they’ve gone to hunt. :-)

  3. Thanks, Pacifist. I agree regarding the dance scene in Roti. I wasn’t interested in “rating” these, but that is my favorite of the five. I thought of Madhumati, but I did also recall that it was maybe in a remote village, not a jungle. There were a few of those that occurred to me. (I would have loved to include a Noor Jehan song – and she has all those village scenes in Village Girl and the great forest village scene in Dupatta, but I couldn’t think of any distinctly in the jungle.) Anyway, Nagin was the quintessential Vyjayanthimala jungle film. :)

    I didn’t know anything about Tower House or the jungle dance there. That’s pretty good. I’m not really recognizing anyone in this… Is that Madhumati the actress-dancer?

    The Shikar one is nice too. Asha Parekh did a lot of nice dancing in the ’60s, but it seems to me she drifted away from that too soon.

  4. Nice bunch of songs, there, Richard – and I have to shamefacedly admit that I’d only seen two of them before, the ones from Nagin and Roti, both of which I like a lot, by the way.

    Here is one I’ve discovered only recently, from Shrimatiji. It’s set in Nagaland, and the dancers are supposed to be a Naga dancing troupe. This is in the middle of WWII, so there are invading Japs in the scene too. :-)

  5. Thanks for posting some of the most exquisite dances. Wikipedia gives a very good introduction to the term Adivasi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adivasi). Literally meaning original inhabitants, it is quite close to what would be described as ‘aboriginals’ in Australia. Now the legal term for them is ‘Scheduled Tribes’ or ST for short, which are notified in the constitution, and are entitled to some privileges, such as reservation of a fixed percentage in governmnet jobs and admission to educational institutions. Government also tries to implement some development schemes, specifically targetted to them, which is always faced with the dilemma how not too interfere too much with their distinct cultural identity.

    About RK’s jungle song, my first thought was a song from Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai. But since this cannot be one you are ‘looking’ for, could it be this song from Aah? The setting is a jungle:

  6. Richard, no, that’s not a ‘village’ village as one knows. It is a settlement in the jungle of who one may call adivasis or a ‘kabila’ as Vyjayanthimala is heard telling Dilip Kumar. All songs mentioned as being ‘in the forest’ all show a small settlement.

    The village in this film was near the border to the timber estate where there was a fair to which Dilip kumar and Johny Walker go to.

  7. AK. thanks for the clip. It fits, but no, that’s still not the one I was thinking of. I”ll find it…

    Regarding the definition of Adavasis and your statement, “Government also tries to implement some development schemes, specifically targetted to them, which is always faced with the dilemma how not too interfere too much with their distinct cultural identity”… Isn’t there often more at stake than that? Such as, sometimes, their subsistence. And how many of these people would now be Naxalites? (Sorry, I’ve been reading a lot of Arundhati Roy. :) )

    Pacifist, thanks for clarification regarding the village, and reminding me of the interesting feud with the timber owners…

  8. Even if one may locate areal jungle song form RK films, chances are that it would have been shot (well) on a set, as RK team was quite good at stage art.
    In any case, location shooting was more an exception.
    And then Raj Kapoor has hardly acted in a film with a total rural setting – like Teesri Kasam – where probabaly singing around tress in a jungle or weeping on tree trunk in a jungle could be concieved out.
    Hence, one would very eagerly look forward to such a song.

  9. Richard,
    It is not just Arundhati Roy, Jairam Ramesh has been saying similar things
    Also browsing through some of these dances and comparing them with a few tribal dances I have seen on YouTube, many do not seem authentic to me. An old movie ‘The Court Dancer’ was supposed to have authentic Manipuri dances, which according to Mohan Khokar are among the most exciting of tribal dances. But I do not know how good the dances were in the film.

  10. Richard ji,
    Does this one qualify for your list ?
    The situation of the song is,after a ship wreck,the singing party of Raj kapoor,Rehana and others is captured by a Tribe in the jungle and now the Tribal chief wants to marry Rehana…. Raat milan ki-Lata/Chitalkar and others in
    film SARGAM-1950

  11. Way beyond your normal range, but the setting should fit. This is supposedly the only song, where SDB and RDB came together as singers.
    raina soyi soyi from YEh Gulistan Hamara

  12. Lots of catching up to do here… I thought I had written a response to a few of the suggestions above, but I guess it got lost!

    Ashok, these are interesting thoughts, but I haven’t exactly been looking for authenticity of location. Look at the Rehana/Cuckoo stage dance from Dilruba – that hardly seems like an authentic locale. Sometimes, even, the less authentic the locale, the more fun the scene.

    Simlarly, Swarup… No, I don’t expect authentic tribal dances or music. (Nor authentic classical ones like Manipuri. :) ) Some of these jungle scenes seem to be a combination of cultures from jungles in different countries. Am I the only one who sees Hawaii in a lot of this stuff? And as we’ve discussed elsewhere, sometimes the Indian tribal scene looks a bit like the American kind of Indian.

    Arunkumar, I love that one! And why wouldn’t it qualify?

    Harvey, that first one certainly fits! And I visit the early ’70s now and then – not so far beyond my range. :)

    And why didn’t I think about the Tarzan films? Of course, that would be an obvious place to go, wouldn’t it?

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