Rare Dance Songs of Kamala, Sai-Subbalakshmi, Padmini, and More!

Sunday, December 26, 2010
I was beyond delighted to come across a number of seemingly-rare or hard to find dance songs from the 1950s and 60s featuring dances by Kamala Lakshman, Sai-Subbalakshmi, Padmini, Lalitha, Ragini, Vyjayanthimala, and a lovely duo whose identity I do not know.  Yay!  Without further ado, I present this fantastic little collection:

Kamala Lakshman

Nane Raja (Tamil, 1956) – “Aadal Kalai” – A delightful dance where Kamala is "doubled" as a male character in the same frame.   I suppose at this time she was referred to as "Kumari Kamala."

Thigambara Samiyar (Tamil, 1950) – “Naathar Mudi” – An interesting dance amidst a desert backdrop with some classical and snake dance influences. Try to ignore the most irritating watermark ever!

Kula Deivam (Tamil, 1956) – Thaaye Yesotha Unthan – Sweet folk dance.

Video no longer available online; other versions poor quality

Paarthiban Kanavu (Tamil, 1960) – Anthi Mayanguthadi – Very slow movements in a lush setting. There are two other dances in this film that I’m trying to track down!


Karpukkarasi (Tamil, 1957) – Vizhiyodu Vilaiyadum - A splendid Sai-Subbalakshmi dance with costume changes and mythological enactments and exciting rhythmic flourishes!

Arivali (Tamil, 1963) – Vazhiya Needozhi – A standard and lovely Sayee Subbalakshmi “twin” dance. According to this article from The Hindu, production of Arivaali lasted nine years before its release in 1963, so it’s likely the duo actually danced a few years earlier.

Dr. Savithri (Tamil 1955) – Nayagar Pakshmadi – A slower “twin” dance by the lovely pair!


Chitoor Rani Padmini (Tamil, 1963) – Devi Vithayar Bavani – Around one minute in, Vyjayanthimala makes her appearance and gives a nice, classical-inspired dance performance with her signature touch.

Padmini, Lalitha, or Ragini

Raja Rajan (Tamil, 1958) – Aadum Azhage – Sisters Padmini and Lalitha perform a nice “twin” dance here; sometimes I get confused identifying Ragini and Lalitha, but I will defer to Richard’s ID as he noted in this post about Or Iravu.

Raja Desingu (Tamil, 1960) – Pal Kadal Alaimele – A lovely Padmini dance with lots of mythological imagery. I’m not 100% convinced this is from the 1976 Dasavatharam starring Gemini Ganesan, but it’s hard to find much information since searching is muddled by results on the 2008 film of the same name. Edit: YouTube commenters confirmed for me that this is really from Raja Desingu, not Dasavatharam. 

Senthamarai (Tamil, 1962) – Varanam Ayiram – An elaborately-costumed Padmini dances here with various background dancers and mythological themes.

Nalla Theerpu (Tamil, 1959) – Azhagana Maran – A cute classical-based dance by Ragini. She looks so much like Padmini at times, it’s stunning!


Paar Magale Paar (Tamil, 1963) – Vetkama Irukkuthadi – I’m not sure who these young women/ladies are, but the classical practice dance at the beginning was a fabulous find!  Though the singing leaves a little to be desired...


  1. While these are your customary awesome selections , Minai, I want to specially thank you for the Chittor rani padmini dance of vaijayntimala and for the Parthiban Kanavu dance . aren't they specially awesome?! magical! there's no reason why these dances should not be more readily available and fully restored.

    only crass materialism from the current film set running kodambakkam.

  2. hi ramesh

    the good times did last until the late 80s (www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOLa5UbmM1E), but everyone was getting completely fed up with classical dance and only wanted superfast kuthu (www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGxh4Vzsvsg).

  3. Hi, Minai. I had trouble getting the message out first time around, so hope this isn't a sort of duplicate.

    Of course, I love all of these... I agree that the Parthiban Kanavu dance is great, but I also really appreicate the second Kamala dance, from Thigambara Samiyar, because it has more of her famous snake dance than any other clip I've seen (and some of those moves are amazing).

    I do like the unknown dancers at the bottom, especially in that part at the beginning (an alarippu, right?)

    The Travancore Sisters ones are marvelous, of course... I don't believe that the Dasavatharam dance is from 1976 either, but you're right that it is impossible to find out better information on this.

    By the way, it seems to me Ragini is appearing in the Krishna costume at the end of that dance, unless my eyes are playing tricks on me (yes, sometimes those sisters do make it difficult :) )...

  4. The Last actual Mainstream dance movie (as opposed to the art efforts of K vishwanath etc)was bala Nagamma, where sridevi tried bravely to be vyjaintimala, but gave up and started dancing caberet as the film progressed.

    So it was a relief that chandramukhi came around and at least had em wearing bharatanatyam costumes for a while.

    the only bharatanatyam youd see othervice in films was when vijay soppfed it , rather authentically when he took an interlude in a koothu somg.

  5. Ramesh – I agree that Vyj’s dance is particularly great! Her more South Indian themed dances seem to be much harder to find, so I was over the moon to locate it.
    Not only crass materialism but also a disregard for preservation and quality. To put these songs on a VCD and plaster ones logo moving up and down the screen says a lot about what’s important to the distributors/vcd makers/copyright owners/whoever they are.
    This Bala Nagamma sounds tantalizing- and which Vijay song are you talking about! Haha :)

    Cram- That Adal Kalaiye song you linked is great! I find Rajini’s getup especially amusing. :) I also had to giggle when you mentioned kuthu because, as you may know, I have a soft spot in my heart for it, and I’m not the least bit ashamed! ;)

    Richard – Thank you for the comment and notifying others of my post on your blog. :) I thought the Thigambara Samiyar dance was great as well- very different from much of her other work, and such a unique setting and costume (though I find myself missing the way a fan obscures the gap between the legs). I’m almost positive in one of those articles posted on her dance school site that public perception of that dance during the film’s release was fairly negative, but I can’t find the passage.
    Yes, Padmini looks much too young for the Dasavatharam dance to be from 1976- weird thing was that the people who made the VCD only sell the 1976 version of the film. So who knows! :)
    And I didn’t consider that it might have been Ragini in the Krishna costume! She looks slightly different from Padmini, but I simply cannot tell who it may be- I think you’ve become quite the expert in Padmini-Ragini-Lalitha identification so I will trust your call! :)

  6. excellent collection thank you a lot for sharing such information

  7. paar magale paar the ladies are vijayakumari and pushpalatha both are not trained dancers

    1. vidhubala - excellent! Thank you for the information - is it the young dancers at the beginning or the older dancers who are Vijayakumari and Pushpalatha?

  8. Nice blog. Good to see that there are still people who enjoy classical song sequences. Of course, apart from there not being a market for such sequences, artistes of such calibre who can execute these dances are no longer around. A pity.

    You can add this song to your collection, if not alreay done. The song "Kannan Mananilayai Thangame Thangam" from the movie "Deivathin Deivam". This song is available on Youtube. I am not an expert in classical dance, so I can't say if the dancer is good or not.

    1. Anon - Hello! It's true, there are hardly any good classical dances in today's Indian films! Thank you for mentioning the Deivathin Deivam song. I have not seen it before. I think it's quite decent compared to the most of the other pseudo-classical film dances that were so popular in the 60s and 70s, and I really like some of the filming/cinematography techniques.

  9. Here's a song you may like to take a look at. This is from the movie "Neelavukku Neranja Manasu" - 1958. Looks like Padmini. Or am I wrong?


    1. Anon - That is a nice song and I've not seen it before! The main dancer is actually Ragini, Padmini's sister, though she looks so much like Padmini here. Lovely song, thank you for sharing. :)

  10. Here's another song you may like:


    Kamala's dance in the song Kaanakkann kodi vendum from Salangai Oli

    1. Anon - Thank you - I actually uploaded much better versions of this and Kamala's other dances in the film here. They look sooooo much better than the other copies on YT!

  11. The dancers are Pushpalatha & Vijayakumari.


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