May 27, 2013
|2:30 PM||SIFF Cinema Uptown||Date has passed|
One of the treasures of Indian cinema, this 1948 masterpiece returns to movie screens newly restored by the World Cinema Foundation. The only film made by the legendary dancer and choreographer Uday Shankar (older brother of the late musician, Ravi), who spent five years on this film as its writer, director, choreographer, and star, Kalpana sets up its dazzling blend of reality and imagination from the start, as a screenwriter attempts to interest a film producer in his project. The described story, roughly following Shankar's own struggles to found an academy, is envisioned as a dance; more than 80 whirl through the film, from narrative interludes to nightmarish fantasy sequences. Though this was the first film from the country to feature a dancer as its protagonist, don't expect just another diverting spectacle in the Bollywood tradition that followed. Made at a time that Shankar's own professional fortunes were ebbing, Kalpana emerges as a stirring call for artists to operate free from commercial constraints, and its inventive mix of fiction, autobiography, surrealism, and dance is one-of-a-kind, as unique today as it was 65 years ago.
As both a performer and choreographer, Uday Shankar (older brother of the late musician, Ravi) was one of the pillars of Indian dance, an innovative assimilator of not only India’s wide range of traditional, classical, and folk forms, but of Western techniques as well. In a career that spanned from the 1920s to his death in 1977, he founded many schools and received several of his country’s highest honors.
Sponsored in part by Delta Air Lines
|Principal Cast:||Uday Shankar, Lakshmi Kanta, Usha Kiran, Amala Shankar|
|Running Time:||160 minutes|
|Screenplay:||Uday Shankar, Amritlal Nagar|
|Music:||Traditional Indian Music|
|Filmography:||Debut Feature Film|