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Females Dancers Display Sexuality, Priyanka Patel

The movie Guide has many dance scenes because the main character Rosie is a dancer. Through her dance, she is able to bring out her sexuality and openly express herself. In the snake dance, Rosie is in a public setting and it is the first time that she actually performs. Raju is astonished by her dance and it appears that he is mesmerized. As mentioned in class, female dancers were often thought of as prostitutes. Even though Rosie is not a prostitute, Marco does not like how Rosie dances because her mother is a courtesan and dancing is looked down upon. As Rosie becomes Miss. Nalini, her dancing is appreciated and she is not displayed as a sex object. There is a lot of sexuality in Rosie’s dance but it is not that obvious. However, below is a song performed in the movie Umrao Jaan from 1981. The main character (played by Rekha who is one of the actresses in the film Silsila) is a courtesan  and in this song “In Aankhon ki Masti,” she dances in front of men and her boss who is a lady. In the beginning of the song she is just sitting however after she begins to dance. Rekha is performing a traditional dance. In the beginning of the song, the camera spans her entire body. Her facial expressions are very seductive. Her dance is very similar to Rosie’s dance style however the t audience watching them are different. Rosie’s dance is watched openly by the public whereas this dance by Rekha is performed in a brothel.

Filed by ppatel24 at February 14th, 2013 under Uncategorized

I think that looking back on this style of dance is really interesting given the clip that Professor Anjaria showed us illustrating the typical “item number,” namely this clip from Omkara:

We’ve spent a bit of time in class now talking about the development of the Bollywood style and industry. Here, I see a transition from truly traditional dance styles, to the evolution of the “Bollywood” dance style in and of itself. The valuing of actresses with traditional Indian dance training, as we saw in both Guide and Silsila, to the prevalence of the supermodel turned Bollywood actress. We saw the same transition in Western musical theater, too. From films like Singing in the Rain and Mary Poppins whose actresses were trained first and foremost as serious classical dancers, to the evolution of the “Broadway” style that talented actresses and singers now pick up on the fly to be competitive in a ‘triple threat’ industry. While I like and appreciate the choreography of both styles to a certain degree, I hope that sometime soon (in addition to song sequences like Dard E Disco from Om Shanti Om that poke fun at the objectification of women by highlighting a man instead), we might see a return to the valuing of traditional dance. As we see in this clip, Rekha’s sexuality shines through clear and strong, so I don’t think that this would be a step back for the industry from a marketing standpoint. But I just really love the more traditional style and wish it were highlighted the same way this new Bollywood fusion style has been in recent years.

Comment by lime — May 14, 2013 @ 1:34 pm

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