Saturday, January 07, 2012

Contrast in Dance: Role of Dynamism and Grace in Creation of Beauty

There is this dance sequence from the movie ‘Shirdi Ke Sai Baba’ that I came across recently, in which the ‘Lavani’ (a form of traditional Marathi song accompanied with dance) performer is singing and dancing about having forgotten all things worldly, so intense is her love for her lover. 

Throughout, so graceful and sensuous - the performer has done full justice to the song and Asha Bhosle’s voice is at its lilting best! There is a constant dynamic motion as a result of jumps and other visible body movements, interspersed with subtle and slow movement of the hands (dancer’s palms painted pink) and fingers along with facial expressions in lock-step with the subtle movements that add to the grace and accentuate the beauty of the specific sub-sequence. Synchronization with the music (predominantly dholaks and sitar) and keeping up with the tempo of the singing by Asha Bhosle catapults the sequence to a level where it has a near-mesmerizing effect!

In between the subtle movements, some short, sharp gesticulations have a brilliant effect in expressing the meaning of the words in the song. There is absolutely nothing vulgar in the entire sequence and the undulating body-movements of the dancer appear voluptuous yet very, very nuanced and controlled! It is this very blend of subtlety through graceful gestures, moves and a broader, faster - dynamic style in Lavani (and of course the impactful lyrics too) that makes the performance extremely powerful and creates beauty in its entirety!

In this case the singing is also marvelous - notice especially at the very end, the same line sung in three different ways! The way it is sung in the second instance is so different to the first instance with a shift in the tune and the third instance as if extends from the first instance to conclude the song! 


  1. Lavani is most popular form of folk dance from Maharashtra. Unfortunately this folk was not used appropriately and so abused to the extent that it is untouchable for lot of people.
    In Marathi movie first time lavani was used in big way in movie called 'Sangte Aika'. Movie was big hit and after that lavani becomes essential part of every marathi movie to the extent that it became overdose. There were lot movies written around life of Lavani dancer and her love interest. Notable one was 'Pinjara' by V. Shantaram. Like any overdose slowly Lavani started fading out of Marathi movie. Then time came when producers do not to take risk on Lavani. For more than decade there was no good lavani in any of Marthi movie. Then two people entered in Marathi Music industry. Both are apt inplaying any western music but had deep understanding of folks in Maharashtra. These people revive almost every form folks from gondhal to lavani. Last year Marathi has big hit 'Natrang' that was based on life of people acting in Tamasha (Lavani is part of it). Two big stars of Atul Kulkarni and music by Ajay Atul.
    Here are two famous Lavani from Natrang
    I think chikni chameli is not lavani in terms of music or dance steps also Kombadi palali was not Lavani.