New Kamala and Padmini/Lalitha Dance Finds!

Thursday, November 3, 2011
The credit for these finds all goes to cram who has a nice YouTube channel and a knack for finding and posting rare old dance videos and thankfully lets me know about them in the comments.
The picture on the left is Padmini as a dude in the first Digambara Samiyar video below.  It was too delicious not to post, ya? :)

"Theeratha Vilaiyattu Pillai" - Vedhala Ulagam (Tamil, 1948) - Back on one of my posts about Kamala dance finds I listed a slew of dances I was hunting for; one of them was "Thoondil Puzhuvinai Pol" from Vedala Ulagam.  That song hasn't been found yet, but cram alerted me to another song from the film in which Kamala dances a double role as Krishna and a gopi! It's a more low key number but has some lovely dance movements throughout.  Updated March 2013: Embedded better-quality version! 

Digambara Samiyar (Tamil, 1950)
- A big thanks to Cram who just finished uploading this full movie a few days ago!  Fresh off the press! :)  There are four new dances that I've never seen before and are amazing finds.  I've only been able to find the song titles for three of the five below; if anyone knows the others do let me know.

What a unique and entertaining almost 7-minute number this is! Padmini, Lalitha, and a cute little girl enact some fun drama and village scenes. I love their "travels" on the wayward boat. But best of all is the lungi-tuck attempt by a "male" Padmini at 3:04! The second half is in need of some subtitles for understanding, but be sure not to miss the cute dance at the end!

“Naathar Mudi” - A while back I had posted this song but was frustrated by the moving logo of the company which shall not be named!  Thanks to cram, this song is now viewable without the distracting logo which is a great improvement (thought there still is banner text at the bottom).  I never get tired of watching this stunning Kamala snake dance. :)  Note: I've seen this song also spelled as Naradhar Mudi.

"Yen Intha Pen" - Most fascinating of all has been the discovery that in the film, the song above, "Naathar Mudi," is followed by two additional dance numbers!  Here is the first in which Kamala plays a playful double male/female role.  I love the vanakkam's with attitude at the beginning!  I've been told the lyrics at the beginning are playful banter about the other person's significant other ("there's no point in staring at me because I've already found another boy to marry me... he's from Mumbai... what about your girlfriend... she's from Kashmir and is educated, civilized, and drives a car...).  I've impressed by the nice vocal harmonies at the end.

Starts 3:13

And here is the second dance number that follows after "Naathar Mudi" above.  Kamala dances some folksy Kathakish moves in her signature style with a nice costume-switch flourish at the end.

Start 6:05

"Mappillai Par" - A cute number where Padmini (on the right) and Lalitha (on the left) mostly mime the lyrics to a couple seated on a swing; apparently they are teasing the bride and groom at the wedding! I wasn't sure it was them at first; they look so, so young!

Starts 5:43


  1. What great finds - how could I not love these?

    And I know what you mean about almost not recognizing Padmini and Lalitha in the last clip... The Padmini of 1948 to about 1952 always looks very different to me from the much better known Padmini of, say, the late 50s to 1970. She starts to look more like the adult Padmini that everyone can recognize when she plays the heroine in Mr. Sampat (1952)... With Kamala, on the other hand, I think she's pretty recognizable even as a nine-year-old. :)

  2. Hi Richard - I knew you would love these. I'm also excited that you specified a date range of when you see Padmini changing in appearance- I was wondering about that but don't know as much about Padmini's films and timeline as you do so that's very helpful. I completely agree about Kamala appearance; you can always tell it's her even back to Ram Rajya! She always has kind of a mischievous look to her, I think. :)

  3. I've got another one for you. A 10-minute Travancore sisters number from Vyjayanthimala's first Tamil film, Vazhkai.

  4. Wow! A 1949 Padmini/Lalitha number. The year difference from Thigambara Samiyar is really apparent in how even younger the sisters look! Amazing find, I've been hoping to see other dances from this film. Vyjayanthimala has one too, right? Thanks again! Geez, I'm getting waaaay too spoiled here! :)

  5. ^And I also wanted to mention how fun it is to see Padmini as a dude once again, and to see Vyjayanthimala sitting in the audience while her "rivals" dance. :)

  6. I think that this was Vijayantimala's first film; she was thirteen at that time. The Telugu version Jeevitham came out in the same year (which I saw those days but remember only a few songs) and the Hindi version Bahar came out in 1951 with S.D. Burman as the music director. I think all were popular and some more dances from the Tamil and Hindi versions are on YouTube.

  7. It's great to see such a clear clip of a Padmini-Lalitha dance in Vazhkai! And it could be the second-oldest Padmini-Lalitha dance that I've seen on YouTube. I believe this beautiful number (which I also posted on my blog a while back) is from 1948 (the dance starts at around 0:15):

    By comparison, I have to say I'm not so impressed with Vyjayanthimala's early film dances. :) This is the dance that I found from Vazhkai:

    By the way, Padmini did dude scenes in a number of films over a period of 20 years, though Ragini was the sister who went in drag most often.

  8. P.S. There was another Vyjayanthimala song from Vazhkai that I remembered, which I liked a little more, which had been removed from YouTube a while ago. But now I see that Cram put a new copy up. It's another one of those patriotic globe-and-map songs (though, while I don't mean to keep slighting Vyjayanthimala in comparisons, it's not nearly as great as the globe-and-map song that Kamala had done in Nam Iruvar (1947) when she was around the same age)...

  9. Here is an interesting version from the Hindi version made two years later:
    Since I am new to the blog, I am not sure whether this was mentioned earlier.

  10. gaddeswarup - 13! No wonder she looks so young. She has such a classic beauty! I didn't realize Bahar was a remake of Vazhkai! Thanks for the second link, I haven't discussed these dances on my blog before.

    Richard - That first dance (from Gnana Soundari) is lovely! I apparently overlooked the blog post you did on it; the dance is so gentle and graceful- simple but interesting. Though I still have a hard time recognizing Pad and Lal when they are that young!
    And the Vazhkai dance! I been under the impression for a while that all Vazhkai clips were taken off YouTube and had not been replaced, so it's great to see the two clips you posted, especially the second one (which I see cram just uploaded a week ago!!) that I've never seen before! Wow, she looks even younger and babyfaced than the first Vazhkai dance there...and it looks like cram uploaded a second Vyj dance from that film too: (and it's the best out of the three I think).

  11. Minai,
    You might have posted this already but I could not find it with a quick search:
    There is a similar dance by Vyjayantimala in Bahar and perhaps VazhkaI. I t may be standard Siuth Indian dance. This partular one seems well preserved.

  12. gaddeswarup - I haven't posted that Vedhala Ulagam Lalitha/Padmini dance before, but I think Richard has. The uploader, Padmini162, has uploaded some nice rare Padmini dances which are lovely to watch. Sorry for the delay in my response. :)


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