This Blog Noted in The Asian Age!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012
I was thrilled when Ranjana Dave, author of the Mahatandava blog, correspondent at The Asian Age newspaper, and content coordinator for the online archive, interviewed me for an article she was writing on how the internet has changed access to rare dance footage for the better.  The finished article, "Dance moves from reel to internet," turned out to be an excellent piece about the subject and the current state of rare and archival dance clips.  The article especially focuses on Satyajit Ray's Bala documentary that I recently uploaded, and Ranjana offers some very interesting facts and insight.  She confirmed that the narrator's voice was indeed Satyajit Ray's, an identity I had questioned despite the credits stating so!  She also notes that, technically, all films released before 1952 (which would include Uday Shankar's elusive Kalpana) are considered out of copyright in India.  I can do some dangerous things with that information! ;)

My blog gets coverage near the end of the article, and Ranjana has written in such glowing terms that I am honored!  I've never thought of myself as a "curator" before- isn't that such a great term?  But my favorite would be the adorable terming of the folks that work to keep access open as "dedicated foragers." A big "thank you" again to Ranjana for the coverage, kind words, and writing such an excellent article!  The subject of dance archival access deserves the biggest audience it can get!

And that ends Minai's tooting of her own horn. :) To my knowledge this is my first "official" media mention which is very exciting!  Here's a capture of the article from the Asian Age epaper edition on April 5:


  1. Congratulations, Cassidy alias Minai.

  2. Congratulations from me, too! That is a nice chunk that you were given, too, and you were represented nicely in that interview.

    I like your comment about being contacted by relatives of the dancers you featured. It's happened to me too, as I was contacted by a son and a grandchild of Sai (or Sayee, as the son spells it) from Sai Subbulakshmi and also someone in the younger generation of Ragini's family. Oh, and also a child of a slightly lesser known dancer who appeared in a film from 1954 or so. (That one's buried somewhere, no time to look it up right now.) That is a very fun and encouraging kind of experience.

    Regarding those copyright laws... I don't know if that matters when it comes to the often false copyright claims about YouTube videos that end up ruining people's accounts. It's because of alleged copyright claims that I lost my video posts from Manthiri Kumari, made in 1950. And I think those videos might have been among the ones that did Tom in for a while. (Actually, he's the source where mine had come from - but those "copyright violations" were not being tolerated on anybody's site!)

  3. I wrote that last comment kind of fast, so to be more accurate... I'm not sure if the commenter on Ragini was actually a relative or just a close friend of the family (because if it was a relative of Ragini, that would have meant a relative of - wow - you know who!)... For Sai Subbulaxmi, I found a post where I was contacted by Sai's sister-in-law, Sai's sister-in-law's son , and Sai's son:

    But, anyway, enough about my experiences... I would like to hear more regarding the ones you've talked about. This is the place for you to toot your horn now, and most deservedly!

  4. Minais,
    Well deserved kudos. May you continue to blog for a long time.

  5. Raghu - thank you for the congrats!

    Richard - thank you as well! Yes, your being contacted by the Sayee and Subbulakshmi relative was stunning, especially since the person wrote such helpful historical information that isn't available anywhere else! I actually mentioned it in my interview with Ranjana (much of the interview didn't make it into the article, naturally), and I'm not sure if you've seen it but it is also mentioned on my Resources page. :) For the interview I had been asked if I had tried to correspond with film folks, and unfortunately I've not had much (well, any) success with that to date (see my next comment on the Kamala post), so I instead talked about the reverse: others contacting me, which I have had much more success with! Regarding Sayee and Subbulakshmi, you'll be excited to know I found an article in Sruti that tells more about them and their guru Muthuswamy Pillai (!!!), and the article spells their name just like your commenter did, "Sayee and Subbulakshmi." In addition to that in-the-works post, I have some other upcoming posts I'm really excited about, but I've just been simply overwhelmed with all this new information I've been getting... but stay tuned! :)
    With the copyright stuff, yes I think you are absolutely right- since all it takes on YouTube is for someone to make a claim (substantiated or not) and then the onus is on the uploader to dispute it (or not even have the chance to dispute sometimes if multiple claims are made), it is true that the laws on the books really don't matter, which is sad. I was thinking more about Kalpana and how if it really is technically out of copyright, then if I ever in my lifetime get a hold of it I wouldn't feel guilty about setting it free. :) Needs more legal research though, me thinks.

    gaddeswarup - thank you very much! I hope I'm able to keep blogging about and finding things for a long time too! Indian film dances and dance history are such a rich topic that I don't think I'll ever run out of ideas. :)

  6. Talking of old-timers Zohra Segal, one of the dance partners of Uday Shankar is 100 today.

  7. Just in

  8. gaddeswarup - Zohra Segal is a 100 today! Wow, that would mean she was around 96 when she was interviewed for the Simkie documentary. Amazing.
    And a BIG THANK YOU for the news of the Kalpana release! Just did a post on it. :) What wonderful news.

  9. Congrats! But you are the best, Minai. :) Keep up the good work. -cram (Have shared the asian age story on my Facebook wall.)

  10. cram - You are too kind. :) And a big thank YOU back to you for letting me know about Kamala finds and being so kind as to keep your eye out for films from my wishlist! :)


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