Wesleyan University

Hari Krishnan "Celluloid Classicism: Intertwined Histories of the South Indian Dance Revival and Early South Indian Cinema" 09/29/2014


This lecture focuses on the complex mobility of dance and cinema in South India to recast the making of modern Bharatanatyam (South Indian classical dance) - the period of the so-called "dance revival" - from the vantage point of early 20th century Tamil South Indian cinematic history. Staged performances of Bharatanatyam were deeply and irrevocably affected by cinema in the early part of the 20th century, and representations of dance in cinema were constructed in dialogue with the new morality and aesthetics of the reinvented dance. Krishnan focuses on two inter-related historical issues that mark the complex and overlapping relationship between dance and early Tamil cinema to argue for a new, critical reading of dance history in South India that takes seriously the shared registers upon which Bharatanatyam and Tamil film were mutually invented between the 1930s and 1950s.

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