I'm happy to present my latest collection of classical-oriented
dances I've found recently (or have been holding onto for a while)
that are either lesser known or have been difficult to track down.
"Vikraama Rajendra" - Bhakta Kuchela (Malayalam, 1961) - Attention!! New Kamala Lakshman material starting at 5:00! I originally talked about this song on my post about my favorite twin dances and the only version online at the time was quite poor in quality and ended abruptly. I since got a hold of the original film and also what appears to be a Kannada dub and was amazed that the Kannada version adds about two minutes of extra footage of a third Manipuri dance that's missing from the Malayalam version! The only downside is that it cuts a little bit of footage off from the beginning, so I included the beginning from the Mallu version and the rest from the Kannada version to create a complete whole. The old uploader had split the original song into two pieces so that is all taken care of as well. I am 100% convinced the taller dancer is Kamala Lakshman, and Richard of the Dances on the Footpath blog suggested the shorter dancer might by Kuchala Kumari. So enjoy the two minutes of Kamala Lakshman material you've probably never seen before!
Arangetram (Tamil, 1973) - I originally bought this film thinking that with a title of Arangetram it would be about classical dance! It's actually a hard-hitting film by K. Balachander about social issues and while it does contain a dance scene of a young woman's arangetram, the dance is intercut with shots of the beginning of another woman's rape scene which makes for a powerful message and according to this review of the film was very controversial. Perhaps I'm continuing in the tradition of the controversy but I've edited the dance so the assault clips are removed and the dance is presented in its pure form without the out-of-context (from the film) shots.
Dance Like a Man (2003) - Sitar player Anoushka Shankar, daughter of Ravi Shankar and half sister of Norah Jones, plays a classical dancer in this film and dances a couple scenes of Bharatanatyam. She is first seen practicing and then performs on a beautifully decorated and lit stage. I think she does quite well considering she revisited the dance form she learned a bit in her youth just for the film so many years later.
Mizhikal Sakshi (Malayalam, 2008) - This film about a mute mother who mourns for her son contains some lovely Kathakali clips featuring Vineeth! Yay, I found more Vineeth dances! Here's a little montage of the dance scenes that are interspersed throughout the film. The cinematography makes the colors just pop; it all looks so otherworldly.
"Manjutharasree" - Mizhikal Sakshi - Set to a beautiful melody, this song has sumptuous shots of Kathakali preparation and slow movements and such. I would upload a better quality version but the strange thing is my copy of the film does not have this song on it despite my combing through it twice!
The Tiger and the Flame/Jhansi Ki Rani (1953) - I've read online that Kathak dancer Roshan Kumari was in this film and I highly suspect the dancer in this song around 2:13 is her though the jury is still out from what others have noted over on Richard's blog post about her (which has some great research on Roshan). The dancing is quite unusual, and hard to define (and the costumes can be, well, bizarre); as I noted in my post on the film, it fits in with the whole birds-eye, foreign view of a "strange" and "exotic" India that the film flirts with. While the dancing isn't classically-inspired, I still think it fits here in its overall presenation. There's also a second song from the film in which I think Roshan dances in as well.
"Black or White - Michael Jackson - This is here for fun because I had forgotten that among the world dances presented in this song was a lovely Odissi performance. Michael had good taste! :) I also love the Indonesian dancers which further rounds out the Asian dance representation.