Here are some helpful resources for finding information on Indian classical and traditional dances, Indian films (especially classic/South Indian), books and dvds, and related topics. Many of the resources below have been essential in my research for my posts and are the "tricks of my trade".  :)  Rare videos, photographs, and articles await!  2020 Update: I have not updated this page in years, it is one of the last few pages I have not yet had a chance to update.  So, apologies for the many broken links.  On my list to correct!

Blogs and Websites

Newspapers, Journals, Magazines, and Books

  • Dance Section at The Hindu - A top Indian newspaper, it often features articles on classic Indian films and dance.  Randor Guy, who is a walking encyclopedia on old Tamil films, writes an ongoing "Blast from the Past" column that covers forgotten details and rare pictures from old films.  He often mentions and identifies film dances.  Also check out Aranyani Bhargav's dance writings in the "footloose" column.
  • Sruti Magazine, "A Monthly Magazine on Indian Performing Arts" - In print since the early 80s, this publication often features traditional dancers, offers rare information about their life and work I've not found anywhere else, and is one of the few that will cover films artists have worked in (and even has entire articles dedicated to film dance, such as for Kamala or Vyjayanthimala).  The Online Archive section lets you search keywords with snippet results, and many back issues are available to purchase for $5.00 including postage.
  • Attendance: The Dance Annual of India - Produced by dance historian Ashish Mohan Khokar, son of Mohan Khokar.  Appears very valuable but not easy to find copies of in North America.
  • Nartanam "Quarterly Journal of Indian Dance" - I've not had luck locating issues of this Indian publication in North America, but it appears to have nice articles on traditional dance forms and artists with a focus on Kuchipudi.
  • Encyclopaedia of Indian Cinema (Revised Edition) by Ashish Rajadhyaksha and Paul Willeman - An excellent resource that does not privilege Hindi cinema and gives various regional films and history "space in accordance with their relative weight in Indian cinema as a whole."  Covers a wide variety of content: Indian/cinematic history, important film personnel, studios, movements, individual film details from 1912-1996, and much more. 
  • - A wiki based on the Encyclopaedia of Indian Cinema above.

Finding Information

  • Google, Google Books, Google Scholar - The preview function on Google Books opens up a world of books on Indian dance and film.
  • - "The world's largest library catalog."  AWESOME.  If you can get your hands on the advanced version of WorldCat through a university/library, you can perform advanced and expert searches that allow you to search specific journals for keywords (e.g., searching "Dance Magazine" for Uday Shankar all the way back to the 1920s).
  • - "A curated academic search-engine, indexing 4,505 free ejournals in the arts & humanities."
  • IndCat - "Online library catalogues of books, theses, and journal available in major university libraries in India."
  • Proquest Dissertations and Theses - "The world's most comprehensive collection of dissertations and theses."  You'll need to get access through a public or university library, but lots of Indian dance-related scholarly writings await!  This is where I've found much of my desired research.
  • Shodh Ganga - "A reservoir of Indian theses," "provides a platform for research students to deposit their Ph.D. theses and make it available to the entire scholarly community in open access."
  • - "A platform for academics to share research papers," there are quite a few writings about Indian dance for free download.

Academic Research

Video Resources

  • - "An online archive of densely text-annotated video material," it contains some excellent rare Odissi videos,  footage of Ram Gopal, and the full video of Uday Shankar's 1948 dance film Kalpana!
  • YouTube - Too many interesting accounts to list! Tripmonk0 has an especially awesome collection of classical dances and arts; many are rare clips from 80s and 90s television. The Indian Diplomacy folks are posting past documentary films commissioned by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs; awesome Indian dance documentaries like Sanchari, Bamboo Flute, Kuchipudi Revisited, and Bhavantarana can be viewed full-length for free!  
  • - Their dance section contains legal clips from Invis Multimedia's "Symphony Celestial" series which contains excellently-shot videos of various Indian classical dance forms featuring respected dancers complete with English subtitles, explanatory introductions, and an easy-on-the-eyes black background.  Highly recommend: Odissi by Sujata Mohapatra, Bharatanatyam by Anita Ratnam, Satriya by Anita Sharma, Manipuri by Bimbavati Devi, and Mohiniattam by Deepti Omchery Bhalla.
  • -  Has posted its extensive films and newsreel archive from the 20th century online with free, full-length previews.  Contains some FANTASTICALLY RARE video of Indian dance: 1930s devadasi footage, 1960s Balasaraswati footage, and rare clips of Uday Shankar, Simkie, Ram Gopal, and others.  
  • BFI - British Film Institute
  • Colonial Film Database - Moving images of the British Empire.  "Holds detailed information on over 6000 films showing images of life in the British colonies. Over 150 films are available for viewing online."
  • Travel Film Archive - "A collection of travelogues and educational and industrial films that show the world the way it was between 1900 and 1970."  Has a number of videos about India/South Asia with some folk dance content.
  • Net-Film - Basically Russia's version of BritishPathe, Net-Film is an online "professional digital footage archive" of the "Russian Central Studio of Documentary Films, the oldest documentary film studio in Russia."  The archive contains "21,000 items of documentaries, newsreels, arŅhival footages, rough shootings etc." from the late 1800s to today, and the descriptions are available in English.  The archive contains some rare Indian dance and cinema footage!

Indian Dance Practicalities, Learning, Instruction

  • Mudrapedia - A "encyclopedia of Kathakali hand gestures (mudras)."  Has companion website that is much harder to navigate. 
  • Online Bharatanatyam - One woman's online BN "course," it provides helpful video demonstrations of adavus and hand gestures along with names and explanations; see the index for a full listing.
  • Kuchipudi Art Academy - The website of Guru Vempati Chinna Satyam's school.  It is clunky and hard to navigate, but does have some basic information on Kuchipudi dance grammar.

Archives and Museums

  • NFAI - National Film Archive of India - Has a clunky but useful search feature for its films catalog with an often extensive cast and crew listing; quite a few South Indian titles dating back to the early 1930s.
  • Indian National Film Awards (NFA) Brochure Archive - See my post about the archive for more information/highlights.
  • Mohan Khokar Dance Archives of India -Invaluable collection but not yet digitized.  Read my glowing assessment!  Ashish Mohan Khokar is always friendly and helpful!
  • Victoria and Albert Museum - South Asian Dance 
  • Osianama
  • NewspaperSG (National Library Singapore) - Digital archive of Singapore and Malaya newspapers from 1831-2009.  Contains rare articles and photos of many Indian dancers, especially those that toured the region, viewable for free with watermark overlays!
  • University of London SOAS - "Collection of archives, manuscripts and rare printed books relating to Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific."
  • Trove, National Library of Australia - While it can be used as a search engine supplement geared towards Australians, Trove's freely viewable digitised newspapers holdings feature many rare Australian newspaper articles and images about Indian dancers and Indian films. 
  • British Newspaper Archive - Unlike the Singapore and Australia archives above, this one is not free (though it does offer a small trial) and only allows you to see snippets in the search results much like Google Books snippet view.  If you want to see full articles you must pay for a package.  
  • Online Archive of California - "Provides free public access to detailed descriptions of primary resource collections maintained by more than 200 contributing institutions including libraries, special collections, archives, historical societies, and museums throughout California and collections maintained by the 10 University of California (UC) campuses." Rare photos and materials about Indian dancers (including those who toured California), dancers with interests in India, and historical photographs of India are found as listings in the finding aids. A small number of items are viewable online.
  • Museum of the Moving Image - Moving Image Source


  • Interesting discussions about carnatic music and classical dance (side note: Folks there had some great info about some of my Kamala and Vyjayanthimala videos here and here)
  • The Hub ( - Some good discussions about old Tamil films, music, and other related topics

Finding Indian Dance Books

Online DVD/VCD Retailers I Have Tried and Recommend

  • > MaEBag - Malayalam, many old and hard-to-find titles
  • > Induna - Hindi, excellent Bengali collection new and old
  • > Ayngaran - Tamil, new releases emphasis (but expensive...)
  • > Kannada Store - Kannada titles, new and old
  • > Kalakendra - Classical dance and arts
  • > BhavaniDVD - Heavily Telugu (but also has other southern/Hindi films), new releases emphasis 
  • No longer in service (cwy!): 
    • Nehaflix - Hindi (but apparently reincarnated as "Khan Store by Nehaflix"?)
    • AnyTamil - Tamil and beyond, oldies

DVD/Media Forums

  • > - Discussions about Indian film media specifics (DVDs and DVD image scans, retailers, etc.)


  1. An update - The Hindu dance section has become obscure everyday. They changed the link without any notice and not all dance writings show up under the new link:

    1. Aha! Thanks for the information; I've updated the link.


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