Here is a video clip of a charming scene from the old Telugu movie Narthanasala. The great Pandava brothers and their spouse Draupadi having been cheated out of their kingdom in a game of dice, are required by the winners the Kauravas, to live in exile in a forest for twelve years and to top it, spend another year somewhere incognito, before they can claim their kingdom back. To fulfill the incognito part of their exile, the brothers and their lady, assume various appropriate guises, depending on their hobbies and skills, far removed from the respectivev skills they are renowned for, so as to remain undetected. The disguise of the third of the brothers, the eminent archer Arjuna is especially extraordinary. He turns a curse he received from a celestial lady, Urvasi in the past, ( for having rejected her advances), to his advantage and assumes (for the period of one year of his existence incognito) the form of a neuter-gendered dance teacher, Brihannala, and gets employment in the court of the King of the Virata kingdom. He is assigned the role of teaching the daughter of the king, princess Uttara, to dance. (Uttara the princess eventually marries none other than her talented mentor’s valorous son, Abhimanyu.)
Here is a video clip of NTR enacting effortlessly, and charmingly the role of the Brihannala, the neuter-gendered dance teacher, teaching the princess, enacted by L.Vijaya Lakshmi, to dance.
After an invocation to Ganesa, the song describes Parvathi, dance Tandavam like her spouse, Nataraja, the Cosmic Dancer.
Just after completion of the final one year incognito, the five brothers and Draupadi assume their respective normal roles. Arjuna fighting a battle on behalf of Virata, the benefactor king who gave them shelter for the crucial one year, defeats Kauravas, in great style, on the Vijaya Dasami day. Incidentally today too, is Vijaya Dasami. My greetings to you all for fullfillment of all your enterprises in the coming years.
The music was composed by the eminent music director of yester-years, Sri Susarla Dakshina Murthy. His love for music was so great that long after he dropped out of demand, he would coax other music directors to allow him to play violin in their orchestras, no, not for the money, but, for the opportunity to continue to do something which he loved dearly, that is, to play the instrument. I remember that my elder sister had learnt music for some time under his father, I do not remember the old teacher’s name. I think his name was Dikshitulu or so, I am not sure, I was just out of toddlerhood at that time.
Here is the You Tube video.