Vintage photos of Late Padma Shri. Shanta Rao

I came to know about Late Shanta Rao, the legendary Bharatanatyam dancer, after reading Dr. Sunil Kothari’s column (click here to read the in depth article) and Ashish Mohan Khokar’s dance history column (click here to read the article). By all accounts, it seems that she was a great dancer, who learned the art form from Guru Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai. But, that did not stop her from learning other dance forms, including the beautiful Kandyan dance in Sri Lanka. ICCR published her biography titled “Dances of the Golden Hall” in 1979, which says how popular she must have been.

The Dev Anand and Waheeda Rehman starrer “The Guide” mentions her name in a crucial scene where, Raju motivates Rosie to take up dance as a career.

Click here to see the scene.

Today, I chanced upon some vintage photos of her. An awesome treat to see these photos and a great way to start the week. They are courtesy of LIFE magazine google image archives (Thanks to Ashish Mohan Khokar for confirming the identity of the LIFE images) and New York Digital Library. Here are the images to see and enjoy. Click on the first image to start the slideshow and if you want to see a larger image, right click and open in a new window.

ENJOY the photos and the article links!!!

One response to “Vintage photos of Late Padma Shri. Shanta Rao

  1. Reply from Ashish Mohan Khokar:

    DANCING IN THE GOLDEN HALL by Ashoke Chatterjee, NID (Nantional Insititute of Design) Ahemdabad, teacher-director.

    Shanta Rao’s main imp. comes from the fact that she was:
    among the first Mohiniattam dancers from outside Kerala hailing from high society background
    and remained soloist in both forms, Mohini and BN, till end (many others took to group work to survive…) she didnt. She was strong willed, individualistic and a pioneer.

    Thanks Ashish ji,

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