Theater forms India – Traditional Theater – There are many festival celebrated in different regions of India. During these occasions various kind of traditional theaters, prayers, rituals offerings, gatherings are presented almost throughout the year.
Koodiyattam (Kuttiyattam) is the only serving art form of the ancient Sanskrit Theater. About 5000 years ago, Bharat Muni wrote “Natya Shastra” and described about drama, dance, music etc. Natya Shastra is also known as root of the fine arts in India.
1. Ankiya – Assam
Ankiya is a traditional theatre from Assam. Shankardev and his student Mahadev started it in 16th century. It is performed on the tales of Lord Krishna. Ankiya has a special feature which is uses of mask for the expression of feelings.
It is the ancient traditional theatre form of Vaishnava. It is based on the tales of Lord Vishnu.
3. Ramlila – Uttar Pradesh
A dramatic folk based on the life of Rama according to the ancient Hindu epic Ramayana and Ramcharitmanasa, mainly belongs to Uttar Pradesh. It is performed during the festival of Navaratri in India. Ramlila is performed on music, dance, dialogues etc.
4. Raslila – Gujarat
Raslila belongs to Gujarat, performed on the love stories of Radha Krishna.
5. Bhuta – Karnataka
Bhuta mainly found in Karnataka. Worshiping of ancestors is the main part of it.
6. Bhavai – Gujarat
Bhavai is a traditional folk theatre famous in Gujarat and Rajasthan. It is a series of small drama stories. The main actor of Bhavai theatre is known as “Nayaka”.
7. Jatra – East India
Jatra belongs to East India mainly. Vaishnava Saint Chaitanya started this folk theatre. Hu used Jatra to expand the moral of Krishna in Bangal. Further it is divided in many parts like Rama Jatra, Shiva Jatra etc. It is Performed on Hindu mythological tales.
8. Macha – Madhya Pradesh
Macha is a folk theatre belongs to Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh, performed on mythological tales. It has a special feature which is “Sanvad”, also known as “Rangat Doha”.
9. Nautanki – North India
Nautanki is the famous theatre form of North India. Nautanki is based on historical and contemporary social issues, performed with music and dance. Evidence of Nautanki also found in Abul Fazal’s Ain-I-Akbari.
10. Ojhapali – Assam
Ojhapali is Celebrated in Assam, mainly belongs to the festival of Goddess Mansa and Goddess Naga.
It has three main parts,
(a) Baniya Khand
(b) Bhatiyali Khand
(c) Dav Khand
11. Powada – Maharashtra
Powada is performed in Maharashtra region, based on the stories of Chatrapati Shivaji.
12. Swang – Punjab & Haryana
Swant belongs to Punjab and Haryana. It is a musical theatre performed with the help of musical instruments like Dholaka, Harmonium, Ektara etc.
13. Tamasha – Maharashtra
Tamasha is a traditional theater form of Maharashtra, performed with singing and dancing by local or travelling theater groups.
There are two types of Tamasha
(a) Dholki Bhaari
(b) Sangeet Bhaari
14. Yakshagana – Karnataka
Yakshagana is mainly found in Karnataka and Kerala. Yakshagana combines dance, music, dialogues, costume, makeup, etc that make its style unique. It is traditionally presented from dusk to down.
15. Burra Katha – Andhra Pradesh & Telangana
Burra means Tambura (a musical instrument) and Katha means Story. Burra Katha is an oral story telling technique famous in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The group has one main performer and two co-performers. It consists of prayers, solo drama, dance, songs etc. Topic will be either Hindu mythological story or a contemporary social issue.
16. Theyyam – Kerala
Theyyam is performed in the houses as ancestors worship with elaborate rites and rituals. Genarally it is performed in fornt of the village shrine. Theyyam is a popular rituals from Kerala. Evidence of Theyyam also found in Sangam Sahitya (500 BC).
17. Krishnattam – Kerala
Krishnattam is a dance drama and temple art belongs to Kerala. It presents the story of Krishna in a series of eight plays and was created by Manaveda (1585 – 1658AD).
The eight plays are
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