I see a fair number of Bollywood movies (and this is not one, it is a dramatic story set in India, not a musical-format movie). In the Bollywood entertainment I love the singing and dancing, but also am aware that the dancing is at least in part derived from more exciting and powerful Indian dance forms. As much as I enjoy things as they are, I also often wish for the stronger medicine of the undiluted form as for me (non-Indian) the Indian-ness of Indian entertainment is part of what I am after.
Well -- here it is -- the real thing. In the course of telling a good story about a family where the parents are traditional dancers (the husband, who is less good, in defiance of his rich father's disapproval of this profession for a man), the movie allows us to witness well-filmed mind-blowingly fantastic performances by Shobana, who plays the mother and who is a stunningly talented dancer.
The kind of traditional dancing we see is called Bharata Natyam, and I easily found good information about it from a Google search, which you are better off doing yourself than having me try to summarize it.
The story, in brief: the fiancé of a modern Indian girl comes to visit her and her parents. The parents live in the museum-like house of the grandfather, who is now deceased (father's father).
During the visit a few things are going on: the girl is preparing, or being prepared by her mother, to give a big-deal dance performance, and we learn about her conflict about fulfilling her mother's dreams; and questions about the parents' history, and the reasons they stopped dancing, are bubbling to the surface. Artistic climaxes occur in grand performances by both the mother (in one of the flashbacks through which we gradually learn more of the family story) and the daughter. Dramatic climaxes I will leave to the viewer to experience when s/he sees this exceptional movie.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?