feminism, race, transnationalism

Volume 20, Number 1

“The Mythical Courtesan”

Enjoy this video clip from Raitu bidda (1939) discussed in Rumya Putcha’s Paula J. Giddings award winning article “The Mythical Courtesan: Womanhood and Dance in Transnational India.” Here we see the only remaining dance clip of Sundaramma in Raitu bidda (1939).

The author explains: “In fact, most circulating versions of the films she sang or danced in, including the most readily available through the online archival project Indiancine.ma, are missing scenes that feature her. The only circulating film in which some of her scenes are not cut out entirely is Mala pilla. This makes sense, to a degree, since her role is crucial to the trajectory of the love story. In the case of Raitu bidda, erasing a scene that featured Sundaramma also meant cutting out Ragaviah. In other words, to expunge the courtesan from the archive also meant deleting the Brahman guru.”

You won’t find the scene that the author features in her article but you can still enjoy Sundaramma’s artistry!