Born on 21 November in Burma, her family moved to India during world war II. Along the route her family by luck met Cukoo, the famous dance star of films of her times. With her help Helen got few assignments in films but all were chorus. Later she worked hard, got training in Kathak, Bharatnatyam etc so as to meet the requirements of Film Dancing.
I remember how she beautifully matched the dance skills with Ragini ji in film Shikari.
Tumko dil diya itni shaan se
watching at this song i felt Helen ji did incredible dancing, in many frames she danced better than Ragini ji.
Our dance teacher used to tell us, as to how to perform on stage, In all those things Helen ji was exactly fit! most notable is the facial expression. Face is crucial part, bhaav comes our from smallest twitch of muscles of face. but a look at face should give impression that dancer is enjoying his or her act. Whenever you see Helen ji dancing, that moment we forget everything and transform in dance world, the emotions etc take over.
Helen ji danced in films of many languages. Even in Bhojpuri films. But looking at her face one cannot make it out that she did’nt understand nuances of folk language or folk dance.
Most amazing thing was that she designed her costumes herself, she did her own makeup. She used to purchase accessories from abroad, whenever she got chance she brought all that needed for her costumes, Feathers etc.
One thing as a dance student i noticed that in all her dance she never looked vulgar!! She started the Cabaret dancing on screen, if you don’t believe then watch any dance number earlier to Helen ji. Sensuous yes but not vulgar.
19 नवंबर 1828 को लक्ष्मी बाई रानी झांसी का जन्म बनारस में हुआ था नाम था मणिकर्णिका. इसी नाम पर बनारस में एक घाट भी है. अंग्रेजो के समय after maratha’s defeat मराठो की हार के बाद पेशवा को निष्कासित कर के कानपुर के पास बिठूर में रहने को मिल| मणिकर्णिका के पिता का नाम मोरोपंत तांबे था और मराठा बाजीराव क सेवा में थे. बिठूर में पेशवा के साथ में कई मराठी परिवार भी थे.
In school days i got to read this Amar Chitra Katha on Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi.
मनु जोकि मन मणिकर्णिका का उपनाम था क लालन पालन बिठूर में होने लगा छोटी उम्र से ही मनु तेज तरार थी. 4or 5 साल की उंर में उनकी मां का देहांत हो चुका था. इसलिए भी वह थोड़ी चंचल प्रवृत्ति की हो गई थी और नाना साहब पेशवा तथा अन्य बालकों के साथ में कई स्पर्धा में हिस्सा लेती थी. उसी दौरान अंग्रेजो के जुल्म देखने के बाद उनके मन में अन्याय के प्रति बदला लेने की भावना उठी थी. कालांतर में उनका विवाह झांसी के गंगाधर राव से हो गया वहां पर रानी झांसी लक्ष्मी बाई के नाम से प्रसिद्धि पाई. कुछ वर्षों में उनक पुत्र हुआ उसकी बहुत जल्दी मृत्यु हो गयी. तदोपरांत जैसे कि सभी राज में प्रथा थी पुत्र गोद लिया, नाम रखा इस मौके पर अंग्रेजी शासकों ने पुत्र को उत्तराधिकार मानने से इनकार कर दिया. झांसी राज्य को अंग्रेजी शासन के अंतर्गत निहित करने का षड्यंत्र रचा
किला बंदी के दौरान रानी झांसी वहां से निकलकर सैनिकों को ले कर
और युद्ध कर ग्वालियर पर कब्जा स्थापित कर लिया था ग्वालियर में रानी झांसी ने नाना पेशवा घोषित कर दिया और आगे दूसरे जगह पर अंग्रेज से युद्ध के लिए आगे बढ़ चली.
अंग्रेजी सेना पीछे करते हुए पहुंच गई और घमासान युद्ध हुआ. अंग्रेज ने तलवार सें सर पर वार किया फिर भी रानी लक्ष्मीबाई ने निडरता पूर्वक उस अंग्रेज अफसर को मार दिया और अपनी सेवकों को बोला कि अंग्रेजों के हाथ मेरा मृत शरीर भी न लगने दिया जाए. सेवक ने पूरा किया इच्छा को
ब्रितानी जनरल ह्यूरोज़ ने टिप्पणी की कि रानी लक्ष्मीबाई अपनी सुन्दरता, चालाकी और दृढ़ता के लिये उल्लेखनीय तो थी ही, विद्रोही नेताओं में सबसे अधिक ख़तरनाक भी थी.
Very early I came to know about the name Manu, who later became was Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi. In Kanpur, as a child we used to go to Bithoor, specially at Maharaj Ghat, on the auspicious days such as Khichdi-MakarSankaranti and on Kartik Poornima to have bath in holy river Ganga. Bithoor has a prominent place among the pilgrimage stations. But for me it was a family connection. One of my ancestor(great grand father) who became a Sanyasi, used to live at the Ghat-Maharaj Ghat- said to be built by Peshwa, who was locally referred to as a maharaj? thus the name Maharaj Ghat was attached to this Ghat in Bithoor. earlier i had written blog on bithoor – splendour of bithoor and another blog on Baji Rao Mastani
Earlier a diesel loco or train chugged between Kanpur railway station and Bithoor. which was correctly called as Brahmavart (picture at left)
One the way is a station named as Mandhana(pic below) this was a junction. from here the rail track takes a turn towards right and goes upto bithoor. the other rail track leads to Kannauj or Mathura etc. But this rail track runs parallel to the GT Road- Grand Trunk Road. (Mandhana is my in law’s place)
Recently a memorial for Nana Saheb peshwa is built in Bithoor
Strange is this poster depicting the photo of actor who played role of Rani Laxmibai in the TV serial
Rani Jhansi in Kalighat Painting
1857 :: Flag of Rani Laxmi Bai of Jhansi During 1857 War Having Lord Hanuman Lifting Mountain
During Childhood i used to watch our elders, grandparents performing Pooja. There were few dedicated places in homes. In some houses there used to be room called as pooja room. in others only a section of room or almirah are designated as pooja corners. On the walls of rooms were hanging many beautifull calendars depicting Lord Shiva, Parwati, Shri Ram and Sita. Most common was Ram Durbar. there many more of Ganga Avataran, Maa Sarswati etc. Sache Darbar ki jai echoed few times. there was this calendar depicting Shri Ram Sita, Laxman, Hanuman etc full of many men in Ayodhya Darbar of Raja Ram. That was in 1970s & 80s. But as i am living in 2018 with social media all around me, strangely i am turning my head all around to see if i can find any of those beautifull calenders? Sadly i have none of those pictures. Since almost all of those calendars were on paper, they degraded/ torn and later were immersed in flowing rivers.
Now a days in the age of science and social media we have lost such heritage of Art.
Usually, we had this pooja called Satyanarayan ki Katha. That time this picture was placed on a small table decorated with plantain leaves, and table top is decorated with flowers, grains-Rice, a pot filled with water, and covered by Mango leaves. A purohit or pandit ji would come and start a never ending katha(story) that time it was never ending as felt by a child? But eventually it would end and we get to eat fruits, Panjeeri etc. But in between eyes would b full of tears from the smoke coming out from pire of fire of Yajna (Yagya)
there was time when mythology inspired the Art of painting. Many miniature paintings were mostly inspired by Mythology. miniature paintings were not for common man during medieval times. It was an art for rich, kings and nobles or businessmen. In Bengal School of Arts few artists painted miniature inspired painting. They had local subjects and craft is from Folk traditions.
Paintings of Raja Ravi Verma were inspired from mythology too, but the technic of Oil paintings was European.
This painting(above), I think is of Raja Ravi Verma style. Though Painting is beautifull but the subject is very saddening. The sage shown here is disowning the girl child born only due to him. As a rishi he was supposed to do Tapasya(learning with hardships) but he lost control and had an sexual alliance with this apsara Menaka. This unsafe sexual act bore a child. that might or must have been accepted by both parents. unfortunately she was orphaned. Later renamed as Shakuntala. That rishi(sage) was solely responsible for birth of that girl child. I dont know whether God punished him or not?
This above is a beautifully framed picture of Shri Ram Durbar or panchayat as mentioned in that photo. Earlier such photo frames were common features in our homes, hanging in tilted form from a nail in walls.
Later when i saw a fat old magazine(Kalyan) kept in the almirah in the pooja room, i was surprised to see many such beautifull paintings on our Indian traditions.
This depicts the establishment of Lord Shiva when Shri Ram reached the shore of Sea, and was named as Rameshwaram. Lord of Ram!!
Dancing Celestial India (Uttar Pradesh). Early 12th century. Sandstone. H. 331/2 in. (85.1 cm) Promised Gift of Florence and Herbert Irving (L 1993.88.2) Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC. The contours and richly ornamented surfaces of this celestial attendant to the gods exemplify a stylistic shift away from earlier Gupta-influenced forms. Here the linear play of surface decoration and dramatic contours replace the earlier emphasis on seamless volume and subtle balance. The sculptor has twisted the figure into an extraordinary pose that captures the essence of her dance and seems absolutely believable until one imagines actually trying to turn this way. The jewelry sways and emphasizes her movements, both in the way the necklaces and sashes follow the curves of her body and in the upward thrust of the spiked tips of her crown. The crisp carving of her adornments makes a pleasing contrast with the smooth and rounded surfaces of her flesh. Images of dancing semidivine attendants often appear on the outer walls of Hindu temples. They are placed near the figures of gods to honor the deity, just as actual female dancers honored the gods’ images within the temple.
But in our Indian classical Dance or so to say in other Indian dances there are various pose, Mudras those may seem impossible for west minds? But In many pose/Mudras certain amount of training goes into, before perfecting it. Specially in BharatNatyam, Oddissi dances?
Such are few common pose in or dance and Indian milieu? putting the red crimson red called Sindoor on forehead, that is symbol of Married women? But the way it is executed in dancing movement is something is captured the imagination of many artists. Even dancers also execute this movement with grace. Thus sculptors also put their expertise. Somtimes it is putting eye liner, or putting flower in hair plaits? or decorating head forehead etc. all such movements take shapes in various forms of arts.
Museums have now become multi utility spaces? Museum now hold Talks, Debates, Movies, Documentary screening, Study tours, Walk through History, Researches, Cataloging, Publications, Archaeological important material, Anthropological research, Exhibitions, even Live Lecture demonstration!! i think list is still not complete? So vast is the scope of museums now a days in world?
Earlier when museums were thought it was just as an art gallery exhibiting, preserving few historical things, mostly excavated or collected paintings, sculptures etc.
Only few people used to visit such places, exhibiting Egyptian mummy, animal specimens.
I had visited few: Lucknow Zoo, there was a small structure housing few Egyptian mummy and few of old vintage portraits. Then i saw Salar Jung Museum on my visit to Hyderabad in 1977 when my father took us on LTC. It is one of the largest museums in the world. largest one-man collection of antiques in the world. one cannot completely see and be satisfied by one day visit. One clock was famous there, at hour clock rang bell. A horse parade sort of thing happens in clock, with lot of other mysterious things. So everyone inside the museum kept an eye on their clock so that at the decided time they rush to see the clock.
Another striking Big sculpture i saw in white marble, in front it had a woman and at back side of a man. To show this huge mirrors were kept behind that statue.
I could see Mysore palace also it had a beautifull gallery of paintings of Raja Ravi Verma (Ravan Jatau yudh and Lady with the lamp) and few other artifacts. In Mumbai I saw the Prince of Wales Museum (now it is renamed as chatrapati shivaji museum https://www.csmvs.in ) there i saw a gallery named as museum of natural history? most striking was the King Cobra, i shivered while standing in front of it. It’s hood stood upto few feet above and seemed that it will just strike. So i shifted little bit from its front. Then there was Jehangir Art Gallery on same road, i think?
Actually that day I walked from Gateway of India to masjid bander(?) I don’t know for how long i walked. On the way I saw Prince of Wales Museum, Jehangir Art Gallery, VT Station on my right side. I passed by it, but i could not notice that there is a big railway station inside that building? on the way there was National Gallery of Modern Art? (i thought only one NGMA existed in India, as one is in New Delhi, near India Gate? i did one Art appreciation course at NGMA New Delhi in 1994-95. Then later in life I visited National Museum at New Delhi it is a life time opportunity to see this museum. It houses treasures of our Indian Heritage. I also got chance to visit Bhopal. I took a trip to see the Shiv Temple at Bhojpal? later i also got chance to visit Indira Gandhi rashtriya manav sangrahalaya इन्दिरा गांधी राष्ट्रीय मानव संग्रहालय I have had heard names of BB Karanth? Vibha Mishra? This is an open air museum housing types of houses, other things used by tribal community. spread over a large portion of land, one really needs strength to walk around.. In Bhopal Bharat Bhawan is also there i saw many paintings of renowned painters. Works of Mrinalini MUKHERJI ji
While studying i could know about few other places such as a library at Rampur started by Nawabs of Rampur. Famous for music traditions, i heard, it had lots of manuscripts of musical importance. Then there was one Khuda Bux library of Patna?
One of the dream place that i wish to visit is Saraswathi Mahal of Tanjore. it is said to house big treasure and truly named as Saraswati, in name of Goddess of learning. On looking at the treasure in National museum Nwd Delhi I could guess about the treasure, the saraswati mahal could be having. So beautifull Tanjore paintings were there in Delhi.
On Doordarshan, i got to know about Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum. He talked about how he collected many specimens of historical importance, most important was Mastani Mahal, That was built by Pehswa Baji Rao for Mastani ji. Kelkar museum has the portion of that mastani mahal.
I also read somewhere that when Prince Albert had to visit India then in Jaipur a building was named as Albert hall jaipur
following are some of the Gems of Sculpture, Art Architecture etc from India. just scroll down. See and appreciate great Art of India, and largely kept preserved due to Museums, Gallery and pvt collections. Many of such diamonds of our Art had been looted outside of India.
Sarang Dev wrote Sangeet Ratnakar. Sarang Dev compiled knowledge known (or available) prior to him such as Nāţyaśāstra, Dattilam, Bŗhaddēśī, Sarasvatī-hŗdayālańkāra-hāra and ideas of Abhinavagupta on Nāţyaśāstra. He wrote about ancient scholars such as Bharata, Matanga, Dattila and Narada paying homage.
Strange is that how in that age where mode of communication were supposed to be none as compared to present times. He managed to study works of Abhinavagupta who lived in Kashmir? SarangDev though belonged to family of Kashmiri Brahmins but still while living in Devagiri he studied Abhinavgupta. This shows how big was our knowledge base and was scattered across the geographical boundaries from Plateau of Pamir to Kanyakumari or Kucth or Patliputra in Magadh.
SarangDev(1175–1247) (शार्ङ्गदेव) was working in court of Singhana I of Devagiri of Yadaya dynasty(13th century). Amazing thing is that he was working as an Accountant, but he perused his passion Music!!
If these yadavas were claimed to be from Kannad background, Kannada language was used in their courts but along with Sanskrit and Marathi then the works of SarangDev in Sanskrit might have got appreciation of rulers also. As He was on payroll of yadava kings and if he wrote something that does not suited to the ruler, how can we imagine that work (Sangeet Ratnakar) could still survived? Thus this work on Sangeet Ratnakar might have got sanction of Ruler Singhana II. Incidenlty the Yadava rulers were also said to have built Jain Cave temples at Ellora?
Sangeet Ratnakar classifies sangeet into two kinds: Marga-sangita and Desi-sangīita. Marga refers to the classical techniques taught by Bharata in Natya Shastra. Desi Sangita refers to regional improvisations that may not follow the classical rules and structure for the music and performance arts. Many of our elder musicians who were hard core classical musicians followed Marga Sangeet.
but if regional traditions is to be belived then question comes as if the Maand singing as was prevalent in Rajasthan would be called classical or Deshi Sangeet? Maand Kokila Allah Jilai Bai of Bikaner sang most famous Maand Kesariya Balam, Padharo Mhare Desh
According to Sarngadeva’s verses 27-30 of the section 1.1, song is everywhere, in the cry of a baby, in the beats of nature, in the pulse of life, in every human act of Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha.
The sections 3 through 8 of the first chapter describe nada(sound), svara(tone), Sruti (microinterval) gramas(primary scales), murcchanas(derivativescales), Varna (Color), Jati(Mode), Alankara (Embellishment), giti (Singing styles), meters and other musical concepts.