Tuesday, February 22, 2011
I’ve long been hunting for Gopy Krishna’s tandav dance in the old Telugu film Bhookailas. When I finally got a copy of the DVD, I also discovered a copy of the old Kannada film Bhookailasa. At first I thought it must be a dubbed version of Bhookailas, but then I saw the DVD cover of the famous actor Rajkumar posing in the same iconic way as NTR. I was bemused! Was it a remake? Which one came first? And most importantly, did Gopi Krishna and Kamala have different dances in each version?
Monday, February 21, 2011
A few days ago I sat down to write a post about La Danse De L’Enchanteresse (The Dance of the Enchantress), a French-produced Mohiniattam documentary by the famed Adoor Gopalakrishnan and French Mohiniattam exponent Brigitte Chataignier. I was going to add it to my list of “Obscure Indian Films About Classical Dance” and whine and lament the fact that I would likely never be able to see it and forever be taunted by the trailer and select clips online. While searching for more information on the film I found, to my astonishment, that it has been posted online, full-length, with English subtitles, for free, and at a legitimate source. Really. The source is Culture Unplugged, a website/foundation that among other things hosts online, non-commercial film festivals that jive with its mission of connecting cultures and uniting humanity (and lots of other stuff). The video quality isn’t pristine, but beggars can’t be choosers can we!
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Surely I’m not the only one who watched the male dancer matching steps with Shobana in “Oru Murai Vanthu” from Manichitrathazhu and wondered who he was and if he’d done any other film dances. The rare male classical dancer in film- always a treat! It wasn’t until I ran across a comment at Varnachitram that identified the dancer as the Kannada actor Sridhar that I finally had a name to search with! I was off to the races.
Turns out Shridhar was quite a popular actor back in the 80s and early 90s and apparently acted in over 60 films in five languages (majority Kannada). From what I’ve seen and read about, most of his films were either of the silly variety or mythologicals with a few award-winning films in the mix such as Santha Shishunala Shareefa in which he won the best actor award in Karnataka. He was apparently particularly beloved in his recurring roles as Lord Shiva and became a "household name" in Andhra Pradesh for his role in the Telugu serial Shivaleelalu. He had formal training in Bharatanatyam as a teen and went into films after college.