Saturday, July 5, 2008

SWSFDFASRICEBDJFT - or random youtube goodness.

The title above is not ridiculous keymash, but rather me trying to accurately describe the following list. The acronym is, as goes, "Songs with a single female dancer focus that are so rewatchable I could easily buy the DVD just for them". And even with that monster of a statement, I'm not sure it accurately portrays the list are some films on it are so good, you would not be buying the DVD just for one dance number and some dance numbers, on the other hand, are not amazing but simply very beloved personal favourites for whatever reason.

But hey, forget about the title and just enjoy these.

Aaja Naachle - from Aaja Naachle

I watched this film with low expectations and while it's certainly not fantastic cinema and has an annoying tendency to side-step conviniently any actual points the story could be saying about art, national identity, progress, or anything for that matter, it's an entertaining enough film. It's okay to be fluffy but the movie is fluffy and full of plotholes to the point of ..absolute pointlessness, and that's kind of sad. Regardless, there is Madhuri Dixit, who while not a favourite of mine, is still an awesome dancer and a gorgeous woman. I will eventually get the DVD for the songs, and some of the cutesy side-characters, and this title song number is just pure Bollywood fanservice: Madhuri, dancing in glorious, unrealistically stunning sets. Plus the song is fantastically catchy.

Sharafat chod di maine - from Sharafat

As I said in my write-up of the movie, it's not a very memorable film aside from Hema Malini's glorious dancing. In this number, the lyrics talk about "leaving behind decency" and the mood is full of angst, as can be witnessed on Dharmendra's pained expression. It tugs at my heart while being a great dance number. I just love it, and have rewatched all songs on the movie so many times.

Pyaar kiya to darna kya - from Mughal-e-Azam

The great thing about being a newbie is bumping into movies and watching them completely without an idea of their history. Mughal-e-Azam was one such film for me. My first oldie, among my first Bollywood DVD purchases, and all I knew was what it said on the cover - 'an eternal classic', apparently. To this day I've never rewatched this epic all the way through, but the song numbers I do keep returning to. Madhubala might never be best known as a great dancer, but certainly "Pyaar kiya to darna kya" will remain a classic number. The opulent sets, the defiant meaning of the lyrics, Madhubala's perfect expressions, the anger of Prithviraj Kapoor's face and the love on Dilip Kumar's. Sigh.

Jhooth naina bole - from Lekin

I know I'm a completely biased Hema Malini fangirl but this is the best dance number I think she's ever done. The Gulzar film is from early 90's, and her role is very limited, mostly composed of this dance number but what a performance it is. Everything about her movements, expressions and presence speaks of maturity and talent as a trained dancer. Sometimes I wish she'd gotten more opportunities to perform like this on-screen. I can watch this a million times and the only thing I get sick of is Lata Mangeshkar's voice. Hema-ji, though? Incredible.

Namak - from Omkara

As I've said before, this Vishal Bharadwaj film is pretty much all around excellent. For whatever reason, "Namak ishk ka" is my favourite picturization in the movie. Bipasha Basu is not an incredible dancer, but something about the earthy tones of the shots and the melodies of the song just make it so fun to rewatch. It's an item number, sure, but it has just the right kind of naughtiness - suggestive but not sleazily so.

Marainthirunthu paarkum - from Thillana Mohambal

A Bharatanatyam dance performed by one of the most legendary dancers to grace the Tamil film screens, Padmini, with another legend, Sivaji Ganesan hiding in the audience. I'm not an expert on BN so I wouldn't know exactly how good Padmini is at her art, but she certainly seems famous enough for it. This movie really introduced me to the classical music and dance traditions of Tamil Nadu, and for that, this number is really special. It might be a slightly filmified version of the classical dance style but nevertheless, it's lovely to watch.


Filmi Girl said...

I love "Pyaar Kiya..." from Mughal-e-Azam but you're right that Madhubala is not a great dancer. She is a great actress, however, and she her face and expression more than make up for her lack of dancing ability.

About "Namak" from Omkara - I find the short cut times really distracting in that picturization. It always makes me feel as if the director had to film the dance in teeny segments and it hurts the flow of the movements.

Some of my favorite single lady dance numbers are -

*Hema's dance for Gabbar Singh in Sholay

* This song with Helen from Jewel Thief those long tracking shots are wonderful. And you notice that she never looks at her feet while dancing on top of that bar. That takes talent! I love everything Helen does, but this picturization is just amazing.

* "Nimbooda Nimbooda" from Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam is another great picturization. I've always found Aish to be a really compelling dancer. (I even liked her songs in Umrao Jaan.)

* And recently, I'm really taken with Rani in this track from Sawaariya -

ajnabi said...

Well, that settles it. I've gotta get Mughal-e-Azam. What a great line-up you've got here!

bollyviewer said...

Thats certainly a nice line-up of dance numbers. I liked Madhuri's dances in Aaja Nachle, too - it was certainly a fun movie. Hema Malini has loads of great dance numbers in movies - you should check out the purely classical ones in Abinetri (1970) and Tere Mere Sapne (1971). By the way, the singer you are tired of in the Lekin song is Asha Bhonsle not Lata Mangeshkar.

veracious said...

filmi_girl - Yeah, her expressiveness in that song is superior to her dancing. Which somehow makes it work.

And yes, Namak is a picturization sunken knee-deep into the plot, which makes the flow a bit awkward. Agreed with Hema's dance in Sholay - Mehbooba Mehbooba almost made it on the list because it just amazed me on the first watch.

ajnabi - Have fun with it! MeA and Jodha-Akbar are probably the most epic Indian movies I've ever witnessed. :)

bollyviewer - I guess I thought it was Lata because she produced Lekin and it mostly featured her voice in songs. Thanks for the Hema recs, I will keep them in mind.

Bharat said...

One beautifully made dance sequence that I would like to add to your list is Manisha Koirala's dance in the film "Bombay". The song was "Kahena Hai Kya, Ke Mai Ek Anjan Se Jo Mile, Chalne Lage... It was just fabulous. Bharat shah at

lapetitediva said...

Madhuri's still got it. I'm a die-hard Sridevi fan, but I would gladly take Madz over the crop of former beauty queens turned failed actresses who keep popping up in Bollywood these days. She's far sexier than all of them combined, and her dancing skills could blow all of them away.

Anonymous said...

you need to add Sowkiyama from Sangamam (which is the more recent version of the sivaji padmini thing you posted)

where the she can singularly NOT dance, but the song look so utterly charming that you can't remember your grudge through.

veracious said...

Rajeshram, that is my favourite song from that movie. I love the whole ARR soundtrack and Sangam is definitely the only song that lives up to the amazing sounds visually as well. The dancing, what we see of it anyway, is lovely. Thanks for mentioning it!

c said...



Anonymous said...

There's an old, old song that you might like, given these picks. Not one but two women, though.

This is a dance-off between Padmini and Vyjyantimala in Vanjikottai Valiban. Both actresses were known for their Bharatanatyam prowess, so this is quite entertaining.