31 October 2012 1:24 AM, PDT | DearCinema.com | See recent DearCinema.com news »

When a colossus in the field of cinema crosses paths with a colossus in the field of dance, it makes for a historically significant moment. And so it was in 1976 that the worlds of Satyajit Ray and Tanjore Balasaraswati briefly came together, when the former was commissioned by the Ncpa and the Government of Tamil Nadu to make a documentary film, Bala, on the latter.

The film, at little over half hour in length, offers a peek into the craft of one of the most acclaimed Bharatanatyam exponents ever. For the most part, Ray is a bystander who is interested in objectively recording the world of the dancer rather than defining it in subjective ways for the viewer. (The notable exception to this approach is discussed in this piece.) With his rich, baritone voice he is the physically absent narrator who looks out of the window at the world beyond »

- Nivedita Ramakrishnan

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