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Facial Expressions in Indian dance and movies

Updated on February 6, 2011
Expressing Fear (Bhaya).The famous Indian dancer LAkshmi Gopalan
Expressing Fear (Bhaya).The famous Indian dancer LAkshmi Gopalan | Source

Facial expressinos

In any performing art, facial expressions are most important.It is much true in case of drama and dance.I simple effort is made here to tell how it is met with in Indian dance and movies.

Basic emotions and Rasas

In Indian prosody(the science of analysing poetry) and Natyshastra(The science of dance)Ancient Indian Gurus have recognised that there are nine basic emotions(Sthaayi Bhaavas)in our experience. Each of these,rises to the level of perfection when developed in the art, and that fully developed state is called RASA .There are thus nine rasas(emotions sublimated into artistic enjoyment) prevailing. A work of art, or poetry ,if created by a talented artist/poet, develops related rasa in the heart of the viewer or reader.

Those nine rasas are the following-

1 Shringara-(love)-created by the emotion of Rathi feeling

2. Hasya(Humour)-created by the feeling of humour

3 Karuna(Pity)- created by the basic emotion of sarrow.(shoka)

4.Veera(valour)-created by the basic emotion of eagerness(utsah)

5.Roudra(Extreme anger)-created by anger.

6.Adbhutha(miraculous)-created by the feeling of wonder.(vismaya)

7.Bhayanaka (terrific)-created by the feeling of fear.(Bhaya)

8. Shantha (peace) created by the feeling of calmness(shama)

9.Bhibatsa(perversion)- created by the feeling of nastiness(Jugupsa)

       Indian dance powerfully expreeses these feelings in facial and body expressions. How it is done, is shown here by the asctions of some   famous Indian artists and film  actresses

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Expression of Grief (shoka) in Bharatanatyam by Indian dancer Mrs.Rangashree Expreesion of grief by Kavya Madhavan,Malayalam film actressExpression of Feeling of Humour by Kavya Madhavan.Feeling of fear 9Bhaya) expressed by Kavya MadhavanExpression peace engraved on the face of Lord Gommateshwara,the tallest monolithic statue of Jain idol,Shravanabelagola,Karnataka
Expression of Grief (shoka) in Bharatanatyam by Indian dancer Mrs.Rangashree
Expression of Grief (shoka) in Bharatanatyam by Indian dancer Mrs.Rangashree | Source
 Expreesion of grief by Kavya Madhavan,Malayalam film actress
Expreesion of grief by Kavya Madhavan,Malayalam film actress
Expression of Feeling of Humour by Kavya Madhavan.
Expression of Feeling of Humour by Kavya Madhavan.
Feeling of fear 9Bhaya) expressed by Kavya Madhavan
Feeling of fear 9Bhaya) expressed by Kavya Madhavan
Expression peace engraved on the face of Lord Gommateshwara,the tallest monolithic statue of Jain idol,Shravanabelagola,Karnataka
Expression peace engraved on the face of Lord Gommateshwara,the tallest monolithic statue of Jain idol,Shravanabelagola,Karnataka | Source
Expressing Shoka (grief).Artist: Mrs.Pallavi Krishnan.
Expressing Shoka (grief).Artist: Mrs.Pallavi Krishnan. | Source

Bharathanatyam performance of Mrs.Rajashree Warrier

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    • radhikasree profile image

      Radhika Sreekanth 

      5 years ago from Mumbai,India

      Nice hub! Facial expression or 'bhava' can truly reflect on the emotions or feelings one has. These dancers and the actress have delivered the same in a powerful manner to the audience. Thanks for SHARING.

      Voted up, beautiful and interesting.

    • Miss Mellie profile image

      M.S. Ross 

      7 years ago

      Never knew that specific facial expressions were an integral part of Indian dance. Voted interesting! Thanks for the follow.

    • prasadjain profile imageAUTHOR

      Dr.S.P.PADMA PRASAD 

      7 years ago from Tumkur

      Thank you njumanura.To Srilankans, it is easier than the west to understand Indians, as we share many common cultural points.

    • njmanura profile image

      Dr Manura Nanayakkara 

      7 years ago from Sri Lanka

      Nice hub, in As a sri lankan we really enjoy indian dance and movies

    • prasadjain profile imageAUTHOR

      Dr.S.P.PADMA PRASAD 

      7 years ago from Tumkur

      Thank you Mr. Shivaprakash and Sasikrishna.i wish to improve this hub by adding some more expressions.

    • profile image

      sasikrishna 

      7 years ago

      Really great information about dance and bhava.. Thank you sir.

    • profile image

      Shivprakash 

      7 years ago

      Good explanation of feelings expressionin a simple and brief language.Some more photoes would be better.

    • prasadjain profile imageAUTHOR

      Dr.S.P.PADMA PRASAD 

      7 years ago from Tumkur

      It is true that dance is the expression made by using the whole body. But, it is also true that in indian dance, facial expressions make a lot. Special concentration is given to train dancers in expressing emotions in face.In this article, I have tried tio show only facial expressions, not the whole of dance.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I guess dance is about body language to some extent it makes sense that emotions expressed in the face would be pertinent.

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