Tuesday, June 27, 2006

the tabla kicks in

In the final, climactic song of Pakeezah (Kamal Amrohi, 1971), the courtesan Sahibjaan (Meena Kumari) is invited to perform at her aristocratic (former) lover's mansion on his wedding night. He doesn't respond to the symbolic choreography of her performance, and Sahibjaan breaks a lamp and dances on the pieces of broken glass. Instead of the uncompromising floor, we have a soft white canvas on which her bloody footprints are projected. The diegetic music continues furiously, adding to the spectacle of her exorcism-through-dance.

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