Music and Dance in Indian Term Paper

Pages: 8 (2575 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: History - Asian  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] As censorship doesn't allow the actors to kiss (or worse...!) it is dance that expresses what it's all about.

Very obvious pelvis movements are quite common and the overall impression is not really elegant. But really fast! No wonder: after about 2 or 3 dance steps the scene is cut - no problem for the actors to hop around like mad. There are also many costume changes through a dance number. Unlike western film musicals where song and dance are more or less a part of the story, this effort is not always made in Indian productions. Just a few seconds ago the lovers were standing alone by a temple - the next moment they find themselves in the park of a palace, surrounded by about 30 people who help them with singing and dancing.

The songs comment the story of the film or give the hero and heroine an opportunity to confess their love. And if the beautiful young women suddenly gets into the rain and the wet sari is sticking tightly to her body - well, there's nothing left to wish for. Unashamedly romantic and freely 'copying' from other, often Western, sources, the soundtracks are a mix of every conceivable kind of musical influence, such as the "James Bond-Samba" 'Piya Tu Ab To Aaja' (with the unforgettable refrain 'Monica my daarrrleeeng'), the Spanish influenced 'Chura Liya Hai Tum Ne' or the wonderful tearjerker 'Pyar Diwana Hota Hai', the Curry Western "Yeh Dosti Hum Nahin' - complete with mouth organ and banjo - or the 'Aap Jaise Koi', a 1970s disco hit if there ever was one.(Bollywood Dreams: An Exploration of the Motion Picture Industry and Its Culture in India by Jonathan Torgovnik, Nasreen Munni Kabir Phaidon Press Inc.; (May 2003))

Dance is an integral part of a Hindi film. It signifies romance, glamour, joy and celebration. Rare is the Hindi film without a dance or two or sometimes more, often shot against the backdrop of elaborate sets, with a cast of several junior artists who showcase the talents of the main dancer. No actor or actress can hope to make it big in the world of Indian cinema without some inherent dancing talent -- many careers have been made almost totally on the basis of such skills. Audience wants drama and emotion in their films, but they also want song and dance. Many good dancers have made their mark in Hindi films, but the undoubted queen of the dancing girls is Helen, who held sway for over two decades on the silver screen.

Though primarily a "cabaret" dancer -- introduced in the plot to provide glamour and perhaps to seduce the hero away from the straight and narrow -- she carved a unique niche in the annals of Hindi cinema, often proving to be more popular than the lead actress herself. Characters were written around her and in the 1960s and 70s, no film-maker could hope to have a hit without a Helen dance number. This exhibition pays tribute to that remarkable actress and screen goddess by showcasting some of her best known numbers and also provides a glimpse into the world of Hindi film dance.

And dancing is not only a women's thing. Where did you ever see men who could shake their hips as macho-like and cool as these? Nearly every character of a film can get a sing and/or dance scene: the little girl and the soldier, the modest mother and the bold brother.

Ridiculed at home for the archetypal song-and-dance sequences and "lacking in intellect," Bollywood films are now ironically finding an audience abroad. While expatriate Indians in the United Kingdom, the United States, the Gulf and in east Asian countries have always been a ready market for films from India, the sudden interest in Bollywood movies and other films based on Indian themes among the non-Indian communities has come as an "extremely pleasant surprise," say people associated with the industry.

Indian films have become far more popular in the west now than at any time in the past. Over the last few years, Indian films have become technically brilliant. We had the creative talent in the country before, but the technology was not there. Now with the combination of the two, they offer a great cinematic spectacle.As a result of the emerging interest in films from India, movies in Indian languages and on Indian themes are now being increasingly financed by foreign agencies. Hindi films, while ridiculed at home by a section of the audience for their song-and-dance sequences, have found popularity in the west for the same ingredients. Hindi songs are extremely popular in many countries.(Salaam Bollywood by Bhawana Somaaya Spantech & Lancer; (November 19, 1999)) Sometime ago, there had been a suggestion among film makers in India to delete the songs to shorten the film for the western audience, which was a wrong idea. It was a mistake to do away with the songs earlier. Now the lyrical songs have contributed immensely to the popularity of Hindi films abroad. Moreover, the emphasis is now on the urban milieu rather than on the cliched rural poverty in the storyline, helping the foreign audience identify with the characters of the film.(Vasudev, Aruna. The New Indian Cinema. Delhi: Macmillan India Ltd., 1986)The superlative choreography and technical finesse in the Hindi films of the 1990s seem to have brought back the great Hollywood musicials of the 1940s and 50s, which are now to be found in the present-day films churned out by the American film industry.

Bibliography

http://worldfilm.about.com/cs/booksbolly/

National Identity in Indian Popular Cinema 1947-1987 (Texas Film Studies) by Sumita S. Chakravarty Univ of Texas Pr; (December 1993)

Encyclopedia of Indian Cinema by Ashish Rajadhyaksha (Editor), Paul Willemen (Editor) British Film Inst; Revised edition (September 1999)

Cinema of Interruptions: Action Genres in Contemporary Indian Cinema by Lalitha Gopalan British Film Inst; (July 1, 2002)

Bollywood: Popular Indian Cinema by Lalit Mohan Joshi (Editor), Lait Joshi Dakini Books, Inc.; (September 15, 2002)

Bollywood Dreams: An Exploration of the Motion Picture Industry and Its Culture in India by Jonathan Torgovnik, Nasreen Munni Kabir Phaidon Press Inc.; (May 2003)

Salaam Bollywood by Bhawana Somaaya Spantech & Lancer; (November 19, 1999)

http://www.rnw.nl/culture/html/global010405.html

http://www.samachar.com/film/featarchives/reindex.html

Banerjee, Shampa and Anil Srivastava. One Hundred Indian Feature Films: An Annotated Filmography. New York & London: Garland Publishing, 1988

Vasudev, Aruna. The New Indian Cinema. Delhi: Macmillan India Ltd., 1986 [END OF PREVIEW]

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