A Living Portrait of India
|India Heritage:Performing Arts:Dance|
Kerala Tamil Nadu Orissa Karnataka Assam Andhra Pradesh Kashmir Gujarat
Punjab Bihar Himachal Pradesh Madhya Pradesh Uttar Pradesh
Maharashtra West Bengal Goa
This is a complete form of entertainment in itself, containing the elements of music, dance, song, dialogue, local features, stock characters such as the sutradhar (the narrator, even the manipulator) and the vidushak (jester, clown), and plots that the audience is familiar with. The subject matter is invariably mythological episodes and renowned love stories that are linked to contemporary concerns by the sutradhar. The vidushak takes the liberty that all of his ilk can - that of lampooning local leaders and prevalent social practices. The complexity of the clown character lies in his ability to remain within his social and cultural context without being absorbed by it. The message to be conveyed can be easily done so behind the veil of garish makeup and couched in humor. For instance, the clown figure Vidusaka of the staged Mahabharat does not exist in the epic itself. This bald dwarf is important for purposes of dissemination through this very direct medium. Nonetheless, folk theatre often enough did not abandon the sublimity of its roots that were firmly entrenched in classicism. The grand dance- dramas are as much folk theatre as are the rural entertainers that convey their message despite their boisterousness.