A very famous scene in the Bengali film 'Abohoman' shows Ananya Chatterjee, the actor who plays the role of Binodini( A Tagorean character)wink at the camera during what is supposed to be a sophisticated and artistic rendition. The sheer brilliance of her spontaneity leaves both film maker and his wife impacted in different ways. Much later, as the film maker's wife Mamata Shankar reveals to her son that all her sophistication has robbed her of her spontaneity and much as she is a fine actress and a good dancer, she could never ever dream of doing something like that.
A bit like life perhaps, the need to make everything a bit of art often robs it of the ultimate sophistication of simplicity and spontaneity. I am somehow reminded of William Darlymple's book 'Nine Lives' and the exploration of the Devdasi tradition which has often been given different colours, different connotations. But what one hears from one such Devdasi called Rani, suddenly hits one very hard.
When Darlymple asks her whether her auspicious status made any difference to her clients when they came to be entertained . ‘No,’ she said. ‘There is no devotional feeling in bed. Fucking is fucking. There I am just another woman. Just another whore.’
Dancing, religion, life, pretty much the same..it all boils down to the basics and that is where it is extremely beautiful.
( Picture courtesy Google)