Kalpana (1948)

 ●  Hindi ● 2 hrs 40 mins

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The narrative of the surreal fantasy is embedded within a framing story of a writer telling a story to a film producer, who eventually declines to make the movie. The writer tells of Udayan (Shankar) and Kamini (Kanta) and the young man’s dream of establishing an art centre, Kalakendra (a fictional equivalent of Shankar’s India Cultural Centre at Almora) in the Himalayas.

Cast: Lakshmi Kanta, Uday Shankar

Crew: Uday Shankar (Director), K Ramnoth (Director of Photography), Vishnudas Shirali (Music Director)

Genres: Drama, Musical

Release Dates: 01 Jan 1948 (India)

Hindi Name: कल्पना

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Did you know? The director of this movie, Uday Anand taught dance to Guru Dutt. Read More
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as Kamini
Supporting Actress
Supporting Actress
Supporting Actress




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Director of Photography


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Film Type:
Colour Info:
Black & White
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Frame Rate:
24 fps
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This film has recently been restored by World Cinema Foundation, helmed by Martin Scorsese.

The director of this movie, Uday Anand taught dance to Guru Dutt.

This was India's first ballet film, (Music: Vishnudas Shirali, Dialogue: Amrit Lal Nagar, Lyrics Sumitra Nandan Pant).

For many years, the unusual film was seen as exemplifying a successful fusion of Indian modernism and the cinema. Shankar, who had danced with Pavlova, was lauded by James Joyce in a letter to his daughter: ‘He moves on the stage like a semi-divine being. Believe me, there are still some beautiful things left in this poor old world.’

The choreography was specifically designed for the camera, with semi-expressionist angles and chiaroscuro effects, and became a model for later dance spectaculars like 'Chandralekha' (also made at Gemini and shot by Ramnoth, 1948) and the dream sequence in Raj Kapoor’s 'Awara'' (1951).

A 122’ version was shown in the US although one reviewer noted that the Indian government seemed reluctant to let it be seen abroad.

Shot in the Gemini Studios in Madras, this ode to creative imagination mobilises the vocabulary of traditional dancing, which doubles as a metaphor for the dreams invested in the newly independent India.