Download Our App

Follow us

Home » Dance » 12 Movies A Classical Dancer Must Watch

12 Movies A Classical Dancer Must Watch

Movies often depicts the reality. Movies are made with true inspirations, stories and are great source to motivate. Classical dance in movies was always played an integral part. We can see classical dance was an essential part of every late era films, and dancers cum actors like Vaijanatimala Bali and Padmini were the torch bearers of dance in movies. However, as the time faded dance movies slightly moved away from the silver screen.

There were many movies being made on dance some were subjected and in some dance was just sourced to give bounty points for the heroine’s characters. However, today we pick some of the Indian Movies from different languages which with Indian dance articulated new reforms, stigmas associated with societies. These movies cover from caste system politics in performing arts to Devadasi traditions, gender roles of a dancer to dancer’s struggle, non-inclination towards Indian art form to challenges life put for pursuing art. Let’s see some of the well-known main stream dance movies with social contexts as follows.

1. Kalpana

Kalpana is a 1948 Hindi film featuring a dance-drama, written and directed by noted dancer, Uday Shankar. It is his only film. The story revolves around a young dancer’s dream of setting up a dance academy, a reflection of Shankar’s own academy, which he founded at Almora. It starred Uday Shankar and his wife Amala Shankar as leads and 17-year-old actress Padmini, making her screen debut.Kalpana was the first film to present an Indian classical dancer in the leading role, and was entirely shot as a dance ballet and a fantasy.

2. Dance like a man

Dance like a man deals with the dogma of being a man in the forties of indian society. Though the story revolves around the dancer couple and their family, but at the emotions of the movie lies in the emotional and social dance. Jairaj did dance to the tune of his father, his dancer and intelligent wife and to the tune of this society. Dance Like A Man is an English social drama starring Shobana, Arif Zakaria, Anoushka Shankar, Samir Soni, Mohan and directed by Pamela Rooks. Jairaj and Ratna, two dancers past their prime, are forced to confront their troubled past while looking their daughter Lata as their hope.

3. Naache Mayuri 

Naache Mayuri is a 1986 dance biographical Hindi film directed by T. Rama Rao. It is a remake of the Telugu film, Mayuri (1984), about classical dancer-actress Sudha Chandran who stars as herself in both films. Mayuri is a real story of Bharatanatyam dancer Sudha Chandran, who lost her leg in an accident on her way to Trichy to Chennai on June 1981. The story depicts how she received an artificial Jaipur Foot and eventually learned to dance again, triumphing over her fate, and ultimately becoming very successful in her life. This movie is a true inspiration for  challenging the situations life throws at us and still lead it with passion.

4. Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje

Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje, a 1955 Bollywood film directed by V. Shantaram. It stars Shantaram’s wife Sandhya and dancer Gopi Krishna in lead roles. Mangal, a dance maestro, pairs Neela with his son Girdhar for a dance competition. But his plan fails when they both end up falling in love with each other and eventually ignore their dance routine.

One of the earlier Technicolor films made in India, the film won the All India Certificate of Merit for Best Feature Film, the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi, and the Filmfare Best Movie Award. The film was declared a “Super Hit” at Box office India.

5. Sringaram

Sringaram is a 2007 Indian Tamil period-drama film directed by debutante Sharada Ramanathan, a cultural activist. Co-written by novelist Indra Soundar Rajan and produced by Padmini Ravi, herself a dancer,it stars Aditi Rao Hydari, in her feature film debut, in the lead role alongside Manoj K. Jayan, Hamsa Moily and Y. Gee. Mahendra. The film depicts the life of a Devadasi during the 1920s.Sringaram became highly critically acclaimed, winning three prizes at the 53rd National Film Awards and two Tamil Nadu State Film Awards besides several screenings at various international film festivals, much before its theatrical release on 5 October 2007.

6. Swarnakamalam

Swarnakamalam  is a 1988 Telugu dance film, written and directed by Kasinathuni Viswanath. The film starred Venkatesh, Bhanupriya, and Sharon Lowen in the lead roles. The song sequences were choreographed by Kelucharan Mohapatra with soundtrack by Ilayaraja. A young lady born in a family of classical dancers, hates to dance. But, the guy next door won’t let her give up the art. The rest of the movie revolves around their differences. Casting was done by K. Viswanath, including American dancer Sharon Lowen who portrayed herself as a veteran Odissi artist.

7. Sagara Sangamam

Sagara Sangamam is a 1983 Telugu musical dance film directed by K. Viswanath and produced by Edida Nageswara Rao, starring Kamal Haasan, Jayaprada, Sarath Babu, S. P. Sailaja and Chakri Toleti.the story revolvs around the character Balakrishna, a trained Kuchipudi dancer, gets an opportunity to compete in a classical dance festival. However, two days prior to his performance, his mother passes away which leaves him devastated. Upon release, the film received positive reviews and became a box office hit. The film has received two National Film Awards, three Filmfare Awards South, and the Nandi Award for Best Feature Film (Bronze). The film was dubbed into Tamil and Malayalam and released as Salangai Oli and Sagara Sangamam respectively. Kamal Hassan had lent his voice for all three versions. The film was screened at the International Film Festival of India in 1984, retrospective in 2011 and Celebrating Dance in Indian cinema section in 2014.

8. Ananda Bhairavi 

Ananda Bhairavi is a 1983 bilingual film, simultaneously shot in Kannada and Telugu languages, directed by Jandhyala. It starred Girish Karnad, Malavika Sarkar, Rajesh Kumar and “Natyacharya” Bhagavathula Venkata Rama Sarma as Male classical dancer in this film. The film was premiered at International Film Festival of India.The film received very positive reviews and has garnered the Nandi Awards for Best Feature Film and Best direction. This is a movie which gives you an idea about the origin of Kuchipudi dance. It is about the people who considered a girl performing “Kuchipudi” dance an embarrassment and about a man who is fighting tooth and nail to pass on the heritage of “Kuchipudi”. He finally manages to find a girl who he trains in “Kuchipudi”. As girls learning Kuchipudi was not accepted in that era he gets outcast from his caste, place and also the religious places.

9. Saptapadi

Saptapadi is a 1981 Telugu drama film written and directed by Kashinathuni Vishwanath. The film garnered the Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration.The film is not only about dance but talks about an individual’s journey breaking away from the shackles from the conservatism to finding a path of understanding, encompassing and enlightenment. Somayajulu, an orthodox high-priest of a village temple weds his grand-daughter Hema to Gaurinatha, also a priest by profession, without realising that she is in love with Murali, a Harijan. Hema is a professional dancer who gives performances along with her father’s troupe, while Murali plays flute in the troupe. Gaurinatha marries Hema, but only succeeds to see the goddess he worships, in Hema. He learns the truth from Hema and decides to unite her with Murali. After much deliberations, Yajulu not only gives consent, but actively carries it out in the face of stiff resistance from the village.

10. Vanaprastham

Vanaprastham a 1999 Indian-French-German co-production Malayalam language drama film directed by Shaji N. Karun. It stars Mohanlal, Suhasini, Mattannur Sankarankutty Marar, Kalamandalam Gopi, and Venmani Haridas. The film’s music is composed by Zakir Hussain. The film follows the tale of a lower-caste Kathakali artist Kunhikuttan (Mohanlal) during the 1940s era in Travancore. Subhadra (Suhasini), a member of an aristocratic family, falls in love with the character Arjuna played by Kunhikuttan. She views Kunhikuttan and the character he plays as separate individuals. Their affair eventually leads to the birth of a son, who is hidden away by Subhadra from Kunhikuttan for almost a lifetime.

11. Sankarabharanam

Sankarabharanam is a 1980 Indian Telugu-language musical drama film written, and directed by K. Viswanath. Produced by Edida Nageswara Rao under the production company Poornodaya Art Creations, Sankarabharanam starred J. V. Somayajulu, Manju Bhargavi, Chandramohan and Rajyalakshmi. Sankara Shastri is a devout and famous classical singer who finds a fan in Tulsi, a prostitute’s daughter who is a classical dancer. Tulsi wants to devote herself to his service and offer her art but her mother wants her to become a prostitute. The soundtrack was composed by K. V. Mahadevan, and remained a chartbuster. The film throws light on the chasm between Classical and Western Music based on the perspective of people from two different generations. The film was screened at the 8th International Film Festival of India.

12. Siri Siri Muvva

Siri Siri Muvva is a 1976 Telugu drama film written and directed by K. Viswanath, It stars Jayapradha and Chandra Mohan. K. Vishwanath later remade the film with his leading lady Jayapradha, as Sargam in 1979. Hyma, a mute girl with a passion for dance, escapes her evil stepmother with help from her lover. In the city, after facing many trials and tribulations, they finally make success out of their lives. The film was screened at the International Film Festival of India, and Moscow International Film Festival, and has received two National Film Award.

This is our list of inspirational movies, and we are sure there are many more movies which have motivated you. Share those movies with us in the comments. What’s your favorite dance movie?


Leave a Comment

7k network
Breath and Rahiman

Interesting And Unique Dance Productions

Two unusual and unique dance productions “Breath” and “Rahiman” were presented at the Prabodhankar Thackeray auditorium last week by talented

error: Content is protected !!