The Smile of Tyagaraja, a Journey into Bharata Natyam, 2003

Documentary by Anine de Grood, travellogue of one month study with Saskia Kersenboom in Tamilnadu.

This documentary follows living traces of the Cultural Heritage of Karnatic music and dance in the Kaveri delta. Traditionally, these performing arts were part of rituals in Hindu temples and at royal courts. What has remained in the Tamil countryside after their major shift to urban centers, secular stages, and a global diaspora?

Anine Singh-de Grood joins her teacher Saskia Kersenboom on a journey to places of origin of today’s popular Bharata Natyam, a dance form that was known until recently as Sadir, Dasi Attam, or Chinna Melam. During one month in Tiruvarur, living next door to the ancient Shiva temple of Shri Tyagarajasvami, training in dance takes them to routines of daily worship, historic sites like the houses where famous music composers were born as well as to the royal court in Thanjavur and its grand Brihadishvara temple.

The film seeks to answer the question: how far can a foreigner familiarize herself with an alien culture?

For more information please visit Anine Singh-de Grood’s website:


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