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Bal Gandharva is a richly mounted, Indian musical, period film on the incredible actor-singer-female impersonator Bal Gandharva (1888-1967), set in the early years of Indian theatre. The film has historic resonances and gives remarkable insights into how today`s Indian cinema and Bollywood musicals derived their song routines, lavish spectacles and melodrama from Indian musical theatre and epics-entirely independent of Hollywood. It is an inspiring portrait of Bal Gandharva, a cross-dressing, singing icon of the sangeet natak (musical theatre) tradition. Women were not allowed to perform onstage then, and Bal Gandharva`s singing and female impersonations in beautiful saris, jewellery and mannerisms were all the rage, and his songs are sung in India even today.
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