Naqaal is a folk art form of north India. In all villages of Punjab & Uttar Pradesh it is very popular & preferred
way for entertainment. It not only enjoyable but provides a new aspect to deal with many issues. It presents subtly and sarcastically
the seamy shadow spread on our life. The common man is generally at the center of attention & preferred while making a
theme of performance. Generally Mirasis, Naqaals and Bhands community people perform this art with specialized skills.
The artists travel in-group from place to place. Generally, a Naqaal group comprises of many dancers, singers, clowns
and musicians. The one who is responsible for group is the leader, Ustad. Various legends are an important subject of performance.
With it many semi-historical kind of tales like Dulla Bhatti, Sohni Mahiwal, Kima Malki, Hodi and Koklan are also form the
popular repertoire of the Naqaals that are performed.
At the time of performance, Bhands present their roles, which are farcical in nature, more complex & difficult. They
are quick-witted and having well adjustable skills developed in them. Their profession is passed on from generation to generation.
They are born experts in entertaining others with jokes suited best to that occasion. Sometimes, they make mimicry of landlords
who live in luxury themselves but at the same time deprive their employees to live even a simple life.
As many stories are presented through Naqaals, a very popular tale of this region is also performed very often. This is
about a rich person who employed a servant on the only condition that he would not converse with the help of simple sentences
but only through singing. And for every time of breaking these rule he would be fined. In such way, days were passing. On
one day his master`s house was on fire so, the servant hurriedly came and started dancing and singing in front of his master
to give him the information about the accident. But in the meantime, the house was completely burned. The master reprimanded
the servant for behaving so silly on such serious occasion. But, the servant reminded him about the rules of his service contract
and do advocacy of his side by saying that he did not want to risk his job. The master hit his own head & regretted.
On many occasions, Bhands and mimics entertain people. Some of them are on weddings, births and other festive occasion.
But it is also true that sometimes there is a streak of obscenity and vulgarity in their presentation.
It is a famous folk theatre form of Punjab but distinctly separate from that of Swang. These forms have much in common
with other forms of folk theatre in India particularly from the region of the North, and are considered as descendants of
the desi form of Sanskrit theatre. Naqaal is considered as an accepted main folk art form, and generally performed by the
tribe of naqaals. The word Naqaal is having Arabic origin in its theme and the content of the plays is considerably influenced
by stories from the Middle East. However, the original form is classical kind of performance & at least 150 years old
art. There is a storyteller character in all the plays of Naqaals.
Various issues are openly discussed in Naqaal. Naqaal can be used extensively as a communication mean. It has an immense
capacity as it deals with current and popular topics. Sometimes, even contradictory subjects are woven into the play.
Naqaal artists are hereditary gaining this profession. Though they originally belonged to the tribe of Bhands, they later
became a part of the Mirasi tribe. From the Mirasis, they learnt to sing and dance & other necessary skills. The subject
matter of these plays is also changing, and they include popular kisse and waran (epic, romantic and heroic poems). They also
began to entertain royalty people. Merchants and rich landlords also loved it & prefer for entertainment. But, today this
patronage has disappeared & Naqaals have a hard time in surviving. Most of these artists have become agricultural laborers
and servants & only perform this art form occasionally.
Basically, Naqaal is the art of imitation. In Naqaal, the artists try to imitate life in a manner that provokes violent
laughter among the audience. Naqaals not only entertain but do the role of instructing also. Naqaal artists exhibit their
art through crisp conversation kind of dialogues.
Khyal, a folk arts form, popular simultaneously in many States of India. About the origin of Khyal there is no fixed answer.
There exists uncertainty with some confusion. But it is an accepted fact that in Uttar Pradesh at Agra, it was performed as
a prime dance form. There are different styles, each known by the name of the city, the acting style, the community or the
author. In short by the specialty they have. Some popular Khyals are Jaipuri Khyal, the Abhinaya Khyal, Gadhaspa Khyal, and
Ali baksh Khyal. Subtleties demarcate these variations.
The atmosphere that is created during festival is encourages the religious undertones of an event. Performances of Khyal
start with invocation, which begins with hymns to the respected deities. Generally, these plays are mythological referring
the various events in Puranas. Though exploring the historical aspects, it is presented creatively. Therefore, very rich in
terms of content and also marked by presence of elements like romance, brave deeds, and sentiment, beliefs etc. Instruments
like the nakkara or the dholak drum, cymbals, and the harmonium give the music.
It is said that the clown is as always an integral part of a show. The cast played by males is directed on stage, by the
ustaad. Ustaad is the director producer responsible for the play throughout. He always remains on stage & helps to all
artists, he even prompt script if time demands.
Raslila is also known as Braj Raslila. It is originated from Braj area in Agra Region of Uttar Pradesh. It is a theatrical
form performed now in many States of India. This performance is reveals around the life of Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna is worshiped,
as people strongly believe that He is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
Described in the Bhagwat Purana, Shri Krishna had danced & enjoyed with the gopikas in the Ras, which was performed
on the banks of the river Yamuna at Vrindavan. Though Lord Krishna is also involved in dancing, at the mid of the dance he
disappears, to show his unnatural anger. This sudden disappearance of Him is very agonizing to the Gopikas who enacted his
lilas, which latter on with time came to known as the Raslilas. This form is famous in all regions of Uttar Pradesh.
This colourful and glossy art form gives a special attention on music and dancing movements. As Gopikas play a vital role
in the performance, the story explores the relationship of Lord Krishna with his consort Radha. The dance is primarily consists
of Lord Krishna`s charming childhood actions. This art is closely related with Mathura.
This dance form is a real and extensive of folk-art of this region. The pleasant music and stylished movements are used
to describe the cherished divine love of Radha and Krishna through dance performance. The dance and song are basically an
enacted expression to show the legends connected closely with the childhood, adolescence and early youth of Krishna with cow
maids and cowherds of Mathura.
This is an excellent example of a dance that is highly rich in terms of footwork, mime and music. And therefore, it requires
great skill and innovative techniques. It is said that there are only few exceptions to this dance, which can compete favourably
with these lilas in India.
Nowadays, Raslila is performed in a group by a mandala or a ring with the accompaniment of songs (Bhajans) that are relating
to Krishna legends and the music of drums. With these cymbals and flutes are also used. Many steps of this dance are of complex
pattern & even some are similar with those of the Kathak, a classical dance.
The specialty of Lila-dances is characterized by the fact that they perform as per the pure nritta sequences & quick
footwork movements. With it spinning, acting, pirouetting, stamping of the foot, supples arm movements and mimicry with music
is generated through vocal and instrumental at the same time.
Performed with Radha, Krishna and gop-gopis, the actor-dancers gives expression of the various mood and sentiments by
gestures, acting and mime. Their bodies move freely & gracefully bending forwards, backwards and sideways at a time of
dancing. As their bodies are more flexible comparing to others, only young boys are seen mostly in its participation. At the
beginning, all participants form a single file open circle and then they close it with holding one another`s hand and perform
the dance in a group, solo, or as a duet.
It is said that the Raslila dance form in its present form & appearance is ascribed to Swami Haridas and Shri Narayan
Bhatt. In some parts, only young Brahmin boys of are 13 to 14 years are seen to perform the Raslila. But the charming childhood
pranks of Shri Krishna is remains the central theme of these dramas throughout its performance.
Ramlila is considered as a traditional art form reputed in folk culture of Uttar Pradesh. It primarily deals with the
life of Lord Rama in Ramayana. Like Lord Krishna, Rama is another incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Ramlila is basically an enactment
of the myth.
And usually, presented in a sequence of play with a story in varying days from 7 to 31. It is considered as a dance form
having spiritual connectivity. So, a performance of Ramlila creates a festive atmosphere with peaceful waves. Even at this
time, observance of religious rites is also possible. Not only in dancing steps but also in costumes, jewelry, masks, headgear,
make-up and decoration this dance performance is rich.
Ramlila is generally performed during the festival Dussehra. This festival is celebrated for the victory of goodness represented
by Rama over Ravana representing evil forces. The original art form of Ramlila was unique but with the time, many local variations
of Ramlila are added in different parts of the State. These changes are seen primarily with changes in terms of dialogues
and music of dance. This art form is performed almost in all villages during the Dussehra festival.
In brief description, Ramalila is celebrated for ten days that ends on Dussehra festival, which falls on the tenth day
of the bright half of Ashvin month coming in September-October. Ramalila is also evolved from old literature, it is based
on the epic story of the Ramayana.
Many Scholars also consider Ramalila as a dance-drama. Mostly it is staged at various places in the cities, towns and
villages of Uttar Pradesh with great devotion as a ritual. At the time of actual performance, the Ramayana is constantly recited
with its verses accompanied by dance and pleasant music. It is an amazing mixture of dance, music, mime, Abhinaya and poetry
that is represented in front of enthusiastic and religious audiences.
The basic of Ramlila theme is a struggle between the forces of good and evil, and the eventual victory of the former over
the latter is sure with course of time. Rama symbolizes the best in humanity and Ravana is the evil force in the surrounding.
The story of this performance is that the Ravana, a ten-headed evil abducted Sita, the consort of Rama. He did this with
the help of anther demon named Maricha. King of Lanka, Ravana forcing Sita to be his wife, but she refused & always busy
in thinking of her husband Rama & his courage. As Rama comes to know about his wife, he sent he first requests to Ravana
to return Sita. But the wick natured Ravana refused. Rama fought a fierce battle with him and ultimately routed and killed
Ravana with his associates and regained Sita.
The celebration of Ramlila in Ramanagar at Varanasi held annually is very special & popular. This Lila is enacted
on a huge area of about three square miles across the Ganges for thirty days. It is considered as a spectacular performance
enjoyed by thousands of people every day for a period of one month. This large audience seats in a semicircle form. Together
they enjoy the thrilling performance punctuated with fights, bouts, sword dances, and acrobatics, etc. The local Maharaja
does the function and offers worship to Lord Rama daily with belief & respect. It is said that it was started over 125
years ago by that time supreme Maharaja Udit Narain Singh of Varanasi. It is ritualistic in nature.
In some other states like Punjab, it is also performed. The two great books named Maharishi Valmiki`s `Ramayan` and Tulsi
Das Ji`s `Ram Charitra Manas` formed the theme of which a distinct folk drama, Ramlila was based. A huge stage is created
for the performance and artists wear adorably & artfully.
All contents are provided by Muzik Info Inc.