The Dark Mother
October 26, 2008

My exploration of Indian culture via YouTube continues to unearth some musical gems.

In this post I’m featuring several clips showing fictionalised devotions to the Goddess Kali – a primal Hindu deity of fearsome aspect who is familiar to many non-Hindus as the goddess of death and destruction – a not entirely accurate representation of her function within the pantheon.

Kali is one of the consorts of Shiva, and is also closely associated with Durga, who is variously considered her offspring or avatar.

First up is a clip from the film Kannathal, showing a distressed Kali devotee apparently beseeching the the deity for assistance; I may be misreading the imagery, but the goddess does not seem to be entirely convinced. The music, however, is extraordinary:

Next up is a wonderful song-and-dance number from the 2006 film Chingaari, a complex tale of love, death, vengeance and – interestingly – the abuse of power by the Hindu priesthood:

Finally we have another of the massed song-and-dance performances that Bollywood does so well. This time an all-female effort from the film Raja Kaliamman, which includes a frenzied guest appearance by trishula-weilding Durga.