Oct 25, 2007

Tamil vs Hindi: 9. Choreographers

Choreography is an important component of Indian movies, since it is vital to most of the songs. South India prides itself for the birth of Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, and Kathakali, whereas North India can boast of Kathak and Bhangra. Over the years, the Western influence has changed the dance style of both Tamil and Hindi movies alike. Now, we rarely have the purest forms of our classical dance; I think it is a fusion of both worlds. There are a few in both movie industries who have stood the test of time and outshone others. Let us see who fares how.
1) Tamil choreographers:
Thankfully, gone are the days of 'Puliyoor' Saroja, and, to some extent, Raghuram, both of whom approached cine-dance as just 'dancing to the tunes'. In the late 80's, Maniratnam showed in his movies what new and innovative choreography and picturization can do to the viewing pleasure. Atleast a couple of songs in each of his movies, since Mouna Raagam, had some great dance numbers. The person whom he teamed up with, Sundaram, was undoubtedly the best of his times. It is very apt that, he and his sons were utilized to maximum possible extent by another master of visually pleasing cinema, Shankar.
The 90's saw Prabhu Deva and Raju Sundaram taking the central stage in choreography. There were others too, such as, Kala and her sister Brindha, who shone occasionally but they paled in comparison with the Sundaram family. Then, in 2000's, Lawrence Raghavendra entered the scene and he has created his own style in choreography.
The main problem with the choreography in Tamil cinema is not with the masters, but those who matter, i.e. the actors and actresses. Barring a handful, most actresses dont dance well. The less said about the actors, the better. Due to this, we often see some great dance scores wasted as item numbers.
2) Hindi choreographers:
Khans rule here too.. there is old-but-still-gold Saroj Khan, Farah Khan (who is undoubtedly the #1 now) and Ahmed Khan. In addition to them, Ganesh Hegde, very stylish and highly talented choreographer, Vaibhavi Merchant (young and very promising master) and Shiamak Davar (selective but delivers unforgettable hits like 'Dhoom 2', 'Bunty aur Babli') and Remo. Unlike their tamil counterparts, these masters are blessed with very good dancers in the hindi cine industry. It is hard to pick lousy dancers over there, which makes their job much easier and the outcome much better.
It also happens that the language/regional barrier is broken quite astoundingly. Saroj Khan won the National award for the Tamil film 'Sringaram' whereas Prabhu Deva won for the Hindi film 'Lakshya'. All of them command respect among each others, and so, I feel that Tamil and Hindi choreographers are quite evenly matched and hence share the honors.
Tamil leads Hindi 4-2, after 9 rounds of competition/comparison.


Me too said...

Unlike South Indians, dancing(like garba, bangra, baraat etc. where both men and women participate) is a part of the North Indian culture.
Like I wrote in one of my ealier posts, in those days when only Kamal did any dancing (and so gracefully!) on the screen, all my Anti-Kamal friends used to ridicule him saying dancing is only for females. Sad that now all those suLukku exercise are termed super dance!!

VM said...

What do you think about the choreographers for Nach Baliye and Jodi Number 1? Who is better ?

mitr_bayarea said...

Hmm..As you pointed out, in Tamil films, only a handful of decent looking actors and actresses can dance well. Although, in the 80's, Kamal stood out as a bacon for his dances (which truly reflected a classical background), Vineeth is one of the few actors whom I think reflects that mode. As for as Hindi goes, I don't want to venture into that territory where skimpily clad costumes are the order of the day.

tt_giant said...

Wellll.... is walking in a circle with the camera steadily revolving in the center considered dancing?

but what a walk.

Raju said...

Aparna, I agree with you about common participation of people in North.
Films of the 80's can hardly boast of good dancing by heroes. It is only marginally better now.
VM, from what I have seen so far, the choreographers of Nach Baliye are more impressive than those of Jodi No. 1. This also has something to do with the quality of the dancers.
Mitr, yeah, Vineeth, who, like Kamal, has learnt classical dance, is a good dancer. But hardly did he get a decent run in Tamil movies.
Deepak, hmmm.. the choreographer for that song is Prabhu Deva.. Though he is famous for extracting the best out of his subjects, only so much he could do with the 'walker'... And, as you said, it turned out to more than suit his style - Mission completed.

tt_giant said...

unga email id enna?

Mythily said...

Raju no post for Halloween day?

Anonymous said...

I think in India, Telugu industry at present, has the best dancers and best dances in films. Each and every marketable actor needs that advantage. Even Vijay uses moves already done by Telugu stars in his films.


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Raju said...

Mythili, enna romba naala aalaiye kaanom? Peyarum maathitteengala?

No celebrating Halloween and all.. so no post on it..
Kajan, somehow I don't find the elegance and grace of the good tamil and hindi dance in telugu. Most of the songs are like 'kuthu songs', I feel.. but I dont dispute your claim that the telugu dancers are good.
Veena, welcome here..

LOL.. Sometimes, we do discuss movies and other funny stuff in the comments section of the blog itself.. You are welcome to actively participate in it..

Nice Guy Eddy said...

During the 90's it was the tamil film industry that had the best music,choreography and dance.Now i think the hindi film industry is slightly ahead.

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