Humorous Classical Indian Dances from Films!

Sunday, January 16, 2011
Ridiculous, humorous, or simply silly, all the Indian classical-inspired dances I've listed below are very entertaining to watch but don't quite fit anywhere else in my series- hence, a whole post dedicated to the funny! Enjoy. :)

 Tamil Padam (Tamil, 2010) - A spoof film that parodies conventions and tropes of Tamil cinema, Tamizh Padam contains a very funny scene in which the main character performs "Bharatanatyam" to impress his love interest.  Of special interest are the "cricket move," "banana peel move," and the end making fun of the images dancers make in powder with their feet. 

Chandan Ka Palna (Hindi, 1967) - Nir Ta Ta Dhang - Two goofy middle-aged men try their hand at Kathak in this humorous number. Apparently the dancers are Mehmood and comedian Dhumal, and the song is sung by Mohammad Rafi and Manna Dey - what fun they must have had recording it! According to this review of the film at the Old Films and Me blog, Mehmood plays a Bengali character who loves Indian classical music and does some Bengali moves during the dance. My favorite part is the end where Mehmood emerges victorious as the winner! Poor Dhumal...

Mannadhi Mannan (Tamil, 1960) - Can you imagine!  MGR pitted against the inimitable Padmini in a dance competition?  MGR certainly gives his all (starting around 1:25) in trying to perform some semblance of Kathak, and the way he is edited makes it even more giggle-worthy.  Padmini dances brilliantly as always!  A humorous and enjoyable number.  It even contains the "images made with the feet" technique mocked by the Tamil Padam song above. 

Miruthanga Chakravarthy (Tamil, 1983) - OK, this one is cheating since there isn't any dance in it, but it still relates: an aged Shivaji Ganesan and his competitor enact a wide variety of pained expressions replete with pouted lips as they beat their mridangam drums senseless for nearly eight minutes in what is quite possibly the mother of all drum competitions. Sivaji's facial expressions are priceless.  Unfortunately he has some sort of health problem at the end...

Krishna Nee Kunidaaga (Kannada, 1989) - Aaduvenu Nimagagi - Vinod Raj (once known as the "Dance King" of Kannada cinema) performs an incredibly enthusiastic classical-inspired-disco-hybrid dance in this song. The choreography is so entertaining that it finds a place on this list!

Starts 4:25

Aditya 369 (Telugu, 1991) - Suramodhamu - The science fiction Telugu movie Aditya 369 contains an ancient fantasy court sequence with a classical dance competition.  On a serious note, I absolutely love the way the woman in the red and white costume dances (and she's contrasted nicely by the other dancer in pink who is much too bouncy and untalented... and she shows her cleavage, which of course signals her as bad!).  The funny part starts around 4:10 in which Balakrishna inspires the group to rock and roll.

Starts 15:50

Varalaru (Tamil, 2006)- Innisai - No, this song isn't on here only because Tamil superstar Ajith attempts filmi Bharatanatyam. It's certainly one reason (although he does a decent job of it, muscles and all), but the second half of this song contains a very silly court scene in which performers try to impress the princess.  Quite entertaining, especially the kuthu dude.

Starts 1:35:34

Aan Pavam (Tamil, 1985) - Kathal Kasakuthuya - A whole song where a group of men dance classical-inspired moves to the lyrics "Kadhal Kasakuthuya" (love is bitter)! Classic.

Jeans (Tamil, 1998) - Kannodu Kaanpathellaam - The special effects in this song are a complete WTF culminating with the Bharatanatyam-dancing skeleton at the end- an occurrence so bizarre that it certainly belongs on the list.  Look out for Lakshmi of Julie fame!

Bharatanatyam by Anjana Banerjee - Another cheat, this is a video I happened onto on YouTube of the dancer Anjana Banerjee performing "Bharatanatyam" on Doordarshan TV.  Quite possibly the laziest Bharatanatyam dancer ever?  (Update: In 2012 I posted about the surprise find of her dancing decently in a Bengali film).


  1. Thank you so much! I really needed that. Will return to this wonderful collection whenever I find myself taking things too seriously.

  2. Fun list, Minai. Actually the funniest thing about MGR vs. Padmini is that MGR was declared the winner in the movie and became Padmini's dance guru. :)

    And that clip with Mehmood is amusing, but I think the funniest Mehmood "classical" dance is his "bharatanatyam" routine in the dream sequence from Gumnaan (see especially the part beginning at 3:55 or so)...

  3. Christine - Hello there! Didn't know that you were still visiting my blog, happy to see you around! So glad you enjoyed the post- I thought it was time for something lighthearted and silly. We all need a laugh sometimes when the going gets tough. :)

    Richard - I had not seen that Gumnaan song before! Thanks for sharing- it's brilliant! I've not seen that many songs of Helen's, but I've never seen her dance such a south indian style (the small part near the end) before! It sort of shocks my system a bit! ;) Even when she's been in south songs I've always seen her do more cabaret or nondescript moves. This is fabulous! Thanks for sharing- Mehmood is a very funny guy- I love how he tries to do the half-seated posture in his lungi thingy. :)

  4. Hi Minai

    LOL! Mridanga Chakravarty was intended to be a serious take on respecting elders and tradition, but you know what they say about being unintentionally funny :) This movie is the benchmark for all of us Tamils, and probably the world, on "overacting"!

  5. Hi cram - Haha, overacting indeed! I'm glad to hear confirmation that the song was received as being completely hilarious- your comment makes it even more so knowing the filmmaker's intentions! :D


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