Vyjayanthimala - dance champion of Indian cinema
After seeing a beautiful vintage magazine photo of Vyjayanthimala on Memsaabstory yesterday (SEE THE PHOTO HERE), I had to find out more about her. So, naturally I went to Wikipedia first (though Im sure much more can be learned about her from many of the Indian Cinema blogs I've listed on the sidebar.)
Besides being the heroine in one of the all time greatest tragic love stories of Hindi Cinema, Devdas, I also discovered that she was quite a legend in her time for incorporating classical dance into more popular films of the era. Her skill inspired several directors to write extended "dance-off" scenes into their films. It seems that the dance/duel was a running theme in her career. From Wikipedia: "Besides film, Vyjayanthimala's main concentration was in Bharata Natyam a form of Indian classical dance. She is an accomplished dancer and introduced a lot of semi-classical dance in Bollywood. After quitting movies Vyjayanthimala Bali continued with her dance career."
I have collected three scenes below to serve as examples of her formidable, and ever so graceful dancing ability.
According to wikipedia, "A scene clipping from the film, [Amrapali] was used in the Dhoom Tana song dance sequence in film Om Shanti Om (2007), wherein Deepika Padukone dances as Vyjayanthimala, who was digitally removed from the frames, as Deepika was playing the role an actor of the 1970s.
Below is another dance off with Vyjayanthimala .. this time vs. Padmini!
Aaye Haaye Dilruba - Helen Vs Vyjayanthimala (and Geeta Dutt Vs Asha) from the film Dr Vidya 1962
The owner of the youtube post above writes "This is a competition song between the characters played by Vyjayanthimala and Helen in the movie Dr Vidya where both compete to show that they're the better dancer (the fight scene before is also part of the video). The rarely seen video is a great example of the skills of these probably one of the best dancers in the history of Film Industry. It is also a good duel between the voices of the elegant Geeta Dutt and Asha Bhosle who do the playback singing for Helen and Vyjayanthimala respectively."
Vyjayanthimala will turn 75 on August 13, 2011!!