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100 Years of Indian Cinema - Dance of the Wind

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What is it that stands out for us in these 100 years of Indian cinema, art, women, creativity, sensitivity, entertainment, have these come of age? and precious not only for a pause in time..but for all times.

 We take a look at five films here, films that cover a wide spectrum and belong to different genres, films that a wide range of people will be able to relate to. Come take a peek..

We start with  Rajan Khosa's "Dance of the Wind"



  “When to himself his form appears unreal, as do on waking all the forms he sees in dreams; when he has ceased to hear the many, he may discern the ONE - the inner sound which kills the outer....For then the soul will hear, and will remember.  And then to the inner ear will speak the voice of the silence...And now thy `Self’ is lost in SELF, `thyself’ unto THYSELF, merged in that SELF from which though first didst radiate...Behold! thou has become the Light, thou hast become the Sound, thou art thy Master and thy God.  Thou art THYSELF the object of thy search: the VOICE unbroken, that resounds throughout eternities, exempt from change, from sin exempt, the seven sounds in one, the VOICE OF THE SILENCE.  Om tat Sat". – Blavatsky(The founder Theosophical Society)



An old lady sleeps in a small cot, it is a soft warm afternoon where the Neem leaves from the nearby trees and the sun makes one lazy in its warmth. Strains of music creep up the little balcony and wrap the sleeping lady, trance like she wakes up and walks towards the balcony and sits in a lone chair. There is a small girl in tattered clothes, a beautiful voice standing with a fakir. Somewhere inside the house there is another woman who is woken from her reverie by the song, she stands by the window, mesmerized by the voice. The older woman, opens a little ‘ganth’ from her hands, like an offering to the Gods she delicately places it in the small balcony stand in front of her. The little thread whirls through the summer afternoon, through the Neem leaves and lands at the girl’s feet. Somewhere a guru dies, a shisya too, a voice is lost and a journey begins.


When director Rajan Khosa, directs ‘Dance of the Wind’ the film travels from the mere showcasing of the guru shishya parampara and rests softly on the illusion of finding music in rituals. Be it the thread that bids a shishya to the guru or the parampara that one is addicted to. First there is music, then there is love and then there is the Guru. And music and the search for oneself in it transcends everything else. 


On a peripheral level the film talks about the dying tradition of Guru and Shishya parampara( culture) that is such an integral part of Indian classical music. A system where the teacher is more than mere teacher, he/she tries to inculcate an understanding and culture of music. The tradition is of course a dying one and in that the film showcasing it is not only important but special too.  


Arvind Parekh, a sitar teacher in Mumbai and trustee of the ITC Sangeet Research Academy in Kolkata, had once said in an interview. “We are desperate to find the good gurus. Gurus who know, have the ability to analyze and articulate what they know, who can demonstrate their knowledge and have the ability to make a student…where are the teachers?”


The film in that sense is also a partial search for the lost guru, as much as it is a search for Pallavi’s lost voice. Pallavi, played by Kitu Gidwani is a young Indian musician, who studies classical music with her mother, who is her guru too. Her mother dies suddenly one day and the daughter who is a more or less established singer on a commercial level not only loses her voice, but her sanity too. The fact that she is not capable of being her mother’s ideal shishya wherein she is bequeathed the sacred thread disturbs her, more so in her mother’s absence and the mysterious presence of a little girl with a magical voice. Following the voice eventually leads her to the guru, her mother had lost and mourned for years because her commercial interests as a singer had miffed him. In him Pallavi learns to respect and find her own voice and reject the formalities of bonds as much as she understand the importance of the journey of finding oneself and their own voice. In that she shall perhaps become the better singer. In the end when the old guru burns the holy thread, she is released from every formality and the need to prove things, a new journey begins. 


The film moves on many levels, the need for the guru, the need for riyaaz( daily practice), to know a raga and to feel it, to understand and touch it with one’s love to caress the soft notes, to know where to linger and where to turn are things that only a guru teaches and not something one learns from books or finds in academic degrees. 


Though based mostly on music, the film talks about dedication, about relationships, about sadhana, about the need to find oneself. It is also an interesting journey of a mother and a daughter both complete in themselves and yet incomplete without the other. 


Replete with beautiful aesthetics, of lovely soft lighting and an old world charm by ace cinematographer Piyush Shah and music by Shubha Mudgal.  ‘Dance of the Wind’ is a film that is mesmerizing at different levels provided one watches it with a certain amount of aesthetic sense and love for music. There is a poignancy here, a silence, a musical purity and a it if you will. 


"Dance of the Wind" 

    Year of release : 1997

Swara Mandal or Dance of the Wind is an 1997 Hindi film written and directed by Rajan Khosa, it was the feature film debut of the director. It starred Kitu Gidwani and Bhaveen Gosain in lead roles.




About the Author : Maitreyee B Chowdhury is a creative writer and poet. She is author of two books, 'Reflections on My India' and 'Uttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen: Bengali Cinema's First Couple'.

Image Soure : 

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what an unusual choice to begin with...lovely! looking forward to more! [Lina]

Loved your review!

anita.a's picture

A good movie to start with. Haven't watched this but want to, after reading this! Thanks.

Waiting to see the review/ analysis of more woman oriented movies from the black and white era too. :)


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