One of the key ingredients of a Tamil movie is the song sequences and if you have a great dancers sequence within the songs. When it comes to the Indian cinema industry, there is no lack of talent for creating great dance sequences and one of them would be the great Prabhu Deva who is also known as South India’s Michael Jackson. Image source: Wikipedia
Read these first:-
- Telugu Song 101: RRR’s Oscar Winning Naatu Naatu – Best Dance Movement
- Nostalgic Tamil Song 101: Sad Kamal Haasan’s Solo Dance In MSV’s Simla Special 1982
- My Favourite Tamil Song 101: Azhagae Sugama – The Pain of Separation
- Nostalgic Tamil Song 101: Sivaji Ganesan As The Hardworking Babu & The Beautiful Idho Endhan Deivam 1971
- Nostalgic Tamil Song 101: Calling the Young Lovely Lord Kannan by Ilaiyaraaja 1977
In the good old days of MGR or Sivaji Ganesan movies, you will not see any background dancers unless it is a dancing sequence in the grand palace & in front of the king. Then slowly we started to get background dancers introduced on a grand scale in the 1970s & 1980s when Rajinikanth & Kamal Hassan was the top stars in the Tamil movie industry. Even so, there was very little creativity expected from these background dancers who basically make the numbers & highlight the attention to the main stars.
Then Prabhu Deva entered the scene in the late 1990s and the way the background dancing style totally changed. Now we have a story within the dance, interesting moves & gestures and in some cases, grand costumes. The background dancers now actively interact with the key characters plays a very crucial part in the song sequence & often contribute to the whole vibe of the song. That formula has brilliantly been used in many movies and has been copied by dance choreographers with their own styles.
Let’s run through some of the creative, funny dance movements by the background dancers in some of the Tamil movies, especially in the golden years of the 2000s.
Dancers Sequence 1
- Song Title: Pudhu Malar Thottu
- Movie: Poovellam Un Vaasam
- Music By: Vidyasagar
- Year: 2001
This movie starred Ajith & Jyothika and this song is another great composition by Vidyasagar and is well choreographed. Whilst one can talk all day long about the song composition which is the star of this movie, what makes this song sequence interesting are the background dancers & their Rajasthan-based costumes. They also make use of the dancers as the frames for the camera which makes the whole scene more candid.
Their movement & simple gestures like rubbing their faces, stationary leg movements or moving their shoulders to follow the rhythm of the song are very fluid. The use of vocals, heavy drums in the background & the fast-paced composition make it a great song for dance.
Dancers Sequence 2
- Song Title: Adi Nenthikitten
- Movie: Star
- Music By: A.R Rahman
- Year: 2001
I will rate this song sequence as one of the best scenes well utilising the background dancers and doing a lot of the funny gestures if you know where to look.
They even had the dancers painted in black at the very start & both the main characters blend in well with the background dancers with some very funny effects. The use of the temple grounds as the background for this scene is also well done. Interestingly this is the only original song composed by AR Rahman for this movie whilst the rest were reused from the Hindi movie that he composed.
A.R. Rahman in his early years had one of the best brilliant compositions that used digital technology to the maximum which is why you can hear this composition in crystal clarity even after all these years. This song also marks the entry of the male background singer, Karthik who becomes a regular singer for AR Rahman & Harris Jayaraj.
There are no male background dancers except one lone guy and the female dancers in various colours of sarees namely red, black, white & yellow is well used for the male & female lead characters, each taking their turn interacting although some of the dance moves seem corky & poorly executed by the lead characters.
Dancers Sequence 3
- Song Title: Ichhuthha Ichuthha
- Movie: Run
- Music By: Vidyasagar
- Year: 2002
This dance sequence in the movie Run starring Madhavan & Meera Jasmine has a similar style, dancers, movements & costumes as in the Pudhu Malar Thottu song in the 2001 movie, Poovellam Un Vaasam. It is not surprising considering that Vidyasagar also composed the music score for this movie.
Even so, the fact that it is not boring to watch this song sequence shows how well the dance sequences were choreographed to meet the pace & style of the song. Nice inclusion of the kabaddi match as part of the dance sequence & the dancers interacting among themselves forms part of the dance sequence.
The movie Run not only had a great storyline especially in the scenes of Madhavan with his brother-in-law played by the late Raghuvaran but also all of the songs by Vidyasagar in this movie were a big hit.
Dancers Sequence 4
- Song Title: Love Pannu
- Movie: 12B
- Music By: Haris Jayaraj
- Year: 2001
This movie starred Shaam & Jyothika and was released in the first year of Harris Jayaraj started his mark in the South Indian music industry with great hits in the same year namely Minnale starring Madhavan.
The background dancing does not have any fancy costumes but rather kept to the simple daily clothes that are worn by the masses but employs effective dance moves such as running casually, moving their hips and facial gestures. You even have a policeman chasing a criminal away in the middle. The use of the weather elements like rain, wind & snow was interestingly & well-interluded as part of the dance movement.
To be continued…