Today marks the 35th year of passing of Ragini, a unique combination of grace, chutzpah and sensuous style that graced the Indian screen. (Thanks to Manu for the reminder).
Ragini, of the legendary Travancore Sisters trio, didn’t have much to do as a dancer in Malayalam cinema till our producers suddenly woke up and smelt the coffee. By the time they devised storylines with which the Travancore Sisters’ immense popularity could be translated into box-office money, it was a bit too late. And, they were so hugely committed to their Tamil and Hindi projects that Malayalam just got into the queue a bit too late. And of course, with our two left-feet approach to dance onscreen in Malayalam cinema, to try grabbing a share of the fame from ‘one of our own’ who were now the toast of the Nation was a bit too painful and arduous task for our production houses, if you get my drift.🙂. Her performances and roles would need a more exhaustive approach, but for now, I just thought of putting together the ones that came in. without an effort to hunt them down.
Hope you enjoy these 10 memorable ‘performances’ from her early years, also left me wondering as to how it would have been, if he had productions with Ragini in Malayalam that would have sent Kalpana (1960), Shikari (1963), Naag Rani (1963), Veerapandiya Kattabomman (1959 ) slinking away into the shadows, paled by the grandeur and sheer merriment. If only.
Ragini’s first film in Malayalam was Prasanna (1950), which also had the company of dear sister Padmini – sadly, a legal copy of the film is hard to come by, yet, in the commercial domain. Nair Pidicha Pulival (1958) almost took a decade in coming but hey, I’m not complaining.
Nair Pidicha Pulival (1958)
Song : Velutha Penne Velutha Penne.
The song title is in itself downright corny and racist🙂, addressing your beloved as “Oh, Fair-skinned One” is a bit over-the-top for me. And, with all due respect, Sathyan and romantic movie interludes were mutually exclusive. Satyan full-on ? Romanticism gayab !
Song : Aaru neeyen Maarivilley ?
One of my all-time favorite of hers. I have written in detail about her role and the movie here.
Another fabulous one from the movie.
Annu Ninne kandathil Pinney..
Song : Geethopadesham.
Ragini and Ambika in one of the historic dance sequences. Will leave to tell more on that for another day, but hardly anyone seem to have made full use of Ambika’s dancing prowess in her movies. She was an accomplished classical dancer who hardly got to display her consummate skill onscreen.
Viyarppinte Vila (1961)
Song : Kochukuruvi vaa Vaa
Song : Periyarey..
Palaattu Koman (1962)
Song : Chandanapallakkil
Everytime I see Sathyan in that headgear, I crack up. It looks to me as if Sathyan has somehow ended up donning one of the female artiste’s costumes by mistake, and is trying his level best to hide it up with his overtly romantic gestures🙂.
Puthiya Aakaasham Puthiya Bhoomi (1962)
Song : Thamarathumbi Vaa vaa
A reprise of the Periyarey picturisation.🙂
Atom Bomb (1964)
Song : Naanikkunnilley.
Song : Shibiyennu peraya.
Ragini with baby Sridevi. Precious !
More on the movie here.