Author: Vyjayantimala Bali
Publisher: Stellar Publishers
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9788190455916
It all began on a European tour with her parents when she performed before the Pope in 1939, and earned his benediction. She was barely seven. Defying age, time and space, she is still dancing in the new millennium.
Over these decades, her august audience comprised kings and queens, presidents and prime ministers, the high and mighty. Truly, a roving cultural ambassador of India, taking its traditional heritage and goodwill to distant lands, she performed at Sarah Bernhard Theatre in Paris for UNESCO, Scala Theatre in London, and Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow in the late 1950s. And she had the unique honour as the first Indian dancer to give a Bharatanatyam recital at the General Assembly of United Nations, to commemorate the 21st Anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights, in 1969, receiving a standing ovation of the think-tanks of over 120 nations. Yet again, she was the first Indian artiste to dance at the International Opera House at Sydney, besides recitals at the Adelaide Festival, Royal Opera Ballet Festival, Stockholm, and Holland Festival at Rotterdam, Middle East and Far East.
The acclaim for her performances stemmed from the most rigorous training she’s had under distinguished gurus of the purest classical styles. Her flawless tech¬nique and remarkably individual interpretation created a benchmark. With such emotional concentration and spiritual dedication, no way did she compromise in her diligent pursuit of traditional art form, even when there was a sudden shift in her life – from the concert stage to the screen. As the celluloid world drew her into its fold, she shot into fame with her very first film in Tamil, Vazkhai. Within a decade, she emerged as the reigning super star in the mainstream cinema, playing covetous leading roles in Nagin, Madhumati, Devdas, Sadhana, Gunga Jumna and Amrapali. She was commended as a ‘stunning perfectionist’ in realistic portrayals. And her rendition in Sangam, indeed, was the confluence of her creative talent that propelled her to heights of dizzy renown.
She became the ‘southern sensation’ with ‘twinkle toes’, for never had an actress from South made it as a national star, more so, for her considerable legacy to Indian Cinema as an accomplished dancer. It was rare for an actress to be a supple dancer with classical training. An amazing feat, working on two parallel tracks, as critics and connoisseurs applauded her research work to revive the ancient and forgotten temple dance forms, like Nava Sandhi. Never once did her Bharatanatyam swerve from the most scrupulous purity of Tanjore style.
Dancing, acting, golfing, marriage, motherhood…and then came another shift – entering the portals of Parliament – becoming a veritable crusader to champion the cause of the underprivileged. Bonding… to a life that continued to pose challenges to keep performing at every given stage, weathering many a storm, she personifies grace and beauty that is timeless. Precisely the stuff legends are made of…!
The virtue of Vyjayantimala’s Bharatanatyam art lies in the fidelity to an austere tradition. The exposition is sedate and exclusive in terms of classical purity.
Of all the dancers who have been pursuing a screen career along with their art, Vyjayantimala has paid the most attention to austerity of technique, command over rhythmic footwork, and noble angularity of line…Her brilliant style of dancing reflects a commendable sense of originality. It proves that the scope for striking new ground in this art is unlimited.
-The Times of India
Vyjayantimala infuses grace and loveliness into all of her movements, combines gesture to gesture by a roundness of transition that makes her every movement mellifluous and flowerlike…This indeed is the ideal that we have cherished of the great beauty of this dance.
With her vivacity and suppleness, Vyjayantimala enlivens Bharatanatyam with a rhythm and tempo so characteristic of her personality. Here is a dancer, whose skill is tempered with beauty and who uses the technique in a manner so as to create a pleasing effect... She excels in shapely statuesque postures.
-The Hindustan Times
Vyjayantimala’s creative and original productions bear the imprint of her characteristic purity and grace of line and form. Her footwork and rhythmic cadences are superb… She has convincingly proved that she is the greatest exponent of Bharatanatyam.
-The Indian Express
With the sheer purity of her movement, dignity of her personality, and a keen sense of balance, Vyjayantimala charms the audience.
Vyjayantimala, the dancer is extremely beautiful, a person with feminine beauty as represented in Indian statue, with the delicacy of features, the figure, the expressions and absolute mastery of the technique of pure dance.
-La Revolution, Paris
Her budding grace and exceptional rhythmic precision are certainly impres¬sive. She has the wonderful ability to freeze her limbs ever so gracefully from a whirling activity to a marmoreal pose.
-The Times, London
The Indian dance of Bharatanatyam, as performed by Vyjayantimala at the Opera House in Sydney was subtle and spell bounding.
-The Sydney Morning Herald
Vyjayantimala has the grace of the Fawn and the charm of the Dove. A classical woman in a dance of the Spirit.
-The Hong Kong Standard
1. I was a very hurt child...
2. Bahar created history...
3. Art is divine...
4. I had to marry the man I wanted to marry...
5. Politicians make better actors...
Awards & Recognition