Hindi cinema has featured some great exponents of classical dancing during the golden age. When one thinks of classical dancers to have graced the cinema scene, images of Vyjyanthimala, Padmini, Raagini etc flow in.
This post examines the graceful dancing abilities of Kumkum, who has several classical pieces picturised on her, and some non-classical hits. Kumkum was an excellent actress too.
Born Mehrun nisa from Hussainabad in Bihar, she was trained in Kathak
Nainan Me Kajra Laga Ke (Madhuban me Radhika – Kohinoor)
It is quite difficult to maintain grace while being swift in dance, and she was excellent at that.
One of the critical aspects of Kathak dancing is abhinaya. abhinaya is the dancer’s ability to interpret words set to music, and the presentation of meaning through gesture. This is clearly evident in her on-screen performances as a dancer, as seen the headpage poster above, where she is seen performing abhinaya for “Kajra Lagake”.
Madhuban Me Radhika – Kohinoor-Naushad
We start with the obvious choice, Madhuban Me Radhika, a milestone song in Hindi cinema, with Kumkum as the Rajnarthaki. The above image is the abhinaya of “Ghunghta Mukh pas daalke“.
Kanha Ja Re – Tel Malish Boot Polish-Chitragupta
A superb score by Chitragupta in Kedar, this song has a lot of close-ups and there are several moments of delight. It has some interesting lyrics by Prem Dhawan, “Log kahe tu tan ka kaala, main janoon tu man ka kaala”. Watch the facial expression for “Man Ka Kala“, the knowing gesture and smile.
Jaya Jaya He Jadagambe – Ganga Ki Lehren-Chitragupta
Zulmi Hamari Sawariya – Mr.X in Bombay-Laxmikant Pyarelal
Daga Daga Vai Vai – Kali Topi Lal Rumaal – Chitragupta
Diya na Bujhe Ri – Naushad-Son of India
Rang Rangeela – Khayyam-Barood
This song was a real surprise for me when I heard it for the first time. as I had not heard this aspect of Khayyam’s music. Based on Punjabi folk, it has a lilting tune and the song rests squarely on the actress’s shoulders and she has pulled it off very well. The above image is the abhinaya for “Nainon Ki Do Bhanwre Oopar“.
I certainly enjoyed posting this, I hope that my readers enjoy it too, and I am sure there are many more songs that used her dancing skills!