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Why the janta love and imitate folk dances in Indian Cinema

Feb 26, 2018

Why the janta love and imitate folk dances in Indian Cinema
Why the janta love and imitate folk dances in Indian Cinema | Credit: NDTV Website

Indian Cinema has its distinct impact across the world and has crossed geographical boundaries in popularity. Among the typical ingredients in a Hindi film are the folk dances which are an essential part that is especially enjoyed among the masses. These dances have been present since the early years of Bollywood films and have been adapted in television shows in various forms such as dance competitions, serials and comedy programs. The dances are popular among the masses during festive seasons, weddings and other celebrations across the country and even among immigrant Indian populations abroad.

Different States Different Folk Dance Forms

Due to the variety of states and diverse culture, India has a beautiful selection of folk dances that have been incorporated into films since the early era of cinema. Among these are Bhangra, Giddha Guajarati Garba and Dandiya, Rajasthani Ghoomar dance styles, Lavani from Maharashtra, tribal folk dance, Goan fisherman folk dance, Kerala folk dance forms, Kashmiri Rauf and several others.

Folk Dance Adopted Over the Years

Any avid connoisseur of Hindi cinema from its early days to present is aware that the folk dance never goes out of style. It was shown in early black and white Hindi cinema such as Madhumati,(1958) Chad Gayo Papi Bichua, Shree 420 (1957) Ramaya Vastavayaiah, and later in colour films; Bobby (1973) Na Maangoon Sona Chandi, Hum Dil De Chuke Hain Sanam (1999) Nimbooda and Dholi Taaro, Mission Kashmir (2000) Bhumboro, and in the recent Ghoomar song from the film Padmavat (2018). There are innumerable examples of folk dances depicted in Hindi cinema that are popularly loved by the desi masses and among the affluent community.

Though India has advanced in technology and cultural habits, the traditional folk dances still have its place, same as saris, Indian food and customs and traditions. Modern freestyle dancing originating from the western culture is also followed but the folk dance can never go extinct in Indian cinema. These dances are colourful, vibrant and captivating and its multiple forms offer many choices to film makers to adapt and present it in spectacular detail on the big screen.

No matter how clichéd it may be, even if it interrupts the narration, these folk dances are accepted by the majority as part of the film. Whether it is a hot scorching Lavani performed by popular actress Katrina Kaif, or a classical themed song in Lagaan “Radha Kaise Na Jale” or Madhubala’s “Pyar Kiya toh Darna Kya” in Mughal-E-Azam, folk dances are part of many mainstream Bollywood films.

There are many examples of these dances becoming hugely popular even before the film is released. Song and dance is Bollywood culture, even if it barely has a connection to the main storyline. It is something that brings in profits through music sales, an artistic aspect and inherent to Hindi film making methods.

Bollywood folk dances are happily included in big fat Indian weddings and popular dance competitions shown on television currently. The love for these classical and semi classical dance forms are a reality that most of us are aware of, whether we like it or not.