Bala (1976)

 ●  English ● 33 mins

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The film begins with the introduction of Bharata Natyam since its inception. It also explains the various hand gestures, known as Mudra and Bala demonstrates one of them, "Mayura Mudra" ("Peacock Mudra"). Narrated by Satyajit Ray, the film describes Bala's lineage and her debut performance in 1925, at the age of seven, at Kancheepuram at the Kamakshi Amman Temple. A noted Sanskrit scholar and musicologist explains Bala's dancing style and an Indian dancer, Uday Shankar mentions about his association with Bala. The film then showcases Bala's "one of the most acclaimed" performance Krishna Ni Begane Baaro in the background of the ocean. It mentions that Bala got international acclaim through the "The Festival of Arts, Edinburgh" in 1963, where other Indian artists also performed their art like Sitar player Ravi Shankar, classical vocalist M. S. Subbulakshmi and Sarod player Ali Akbar Khan. She performed eight solo recitals at the festival. Mentioning about Bala's achievement, the film showcases her daily routine with her brothers, Mridangam player T. Ranganathan and flautist T. Viswanathan, and her only daughter Lakshmi Knight, also a Bharata Natyam dancer. The final segment of the film showcases Bala's solo performance of a pada varnam, which is based on Carnatic music, known as "raagamaalika" (garland of ragas). For this performance, Bala uses the same pair of anklet she had used for her debut performance at the age of seven.
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Film Type:
Documentary Short
Language:
English
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1
Stereoscopy:
No