Origin of Nachya
In the 18th century, the region of Chhattisgarh came in contact with Vidarbha and its popular folk entertainment form called Gammat, which means fun. Gammat was brought into the region and it inspired the birth of a local entertainment form that came to be known as Nachya. In Chhattisgarh itself, there was a community of musicians who were known as Ganda. They would form a troupe of six to seven persons, one or two of whom would don female attire and perform dances while the others would accompany that with musical instruments. The male dancers in female outfit were known as Nachkar, literally dance performers. The group would visit social gatherings such as marriage ceremonies, and entertain the guests with their crude dance styles and humour which were liked by the peasant community. Mimicry was their forte and through their dance, music, speech, dialogues and mime, they would entertain their audience of people gathered at the various social functions. This practice also played an instrumental role in the evolution of the Nachya dance drama entertainment form.
Enactment of Nachya
Initially, the Nachya entertainment form was an all-male affair. However, under the insistence of the patron landlords of the region, girls were also included as dancers in the Nachya troupe. But even today, most of the Nachya performing troupes have men enacting in female roles.
The performers of Nachya select a story for enactment and whilst rehearsing the situations, dialogues are conjured. The Nachya performance is totally extempore in the sense that there is no prepared definitive script. Humour and satire form the intrinsic essence of a Nachya performance, their very objective being the revelation of real social incongruities. Therefore, Nachya takes real life situations into enactment, taking keen interest in portraying and picturing the contemporary life of agricultural community.
The Nachya play commences with a devotional song sung invoking the blessings of Lord Ganesha, Goddess Saraswati and other deities venerated by the local folk, post which the proper play begins. Thus opens a rich fare of humour and amusement for the audience.
In Nachya, there are further two types of theatre - the completely humorous Gammat skit and the Jokkad Pari performance. In Gammat, the themes incorporated are generally woven around innocent villagers, their ignorance of the world beyond and the peasant’s attitude towards the urban dwellers. Gammat involves satirical commentary on the villagers who desert their homes and settle in the city, and are eventually continually laughed at in both the societies. As for the Jokkad Pari, also called Nachkoudi, a handsome boy dressed in the attire of a Pari or fairy, is depicted, symbolising a beautiful and good woman. The Jokkads, generally in a pair, holding oil torches in their hands, enter the performing arena first. They are followed by the musicians who sit in the left corner of the stage. The Jokkad is an entertainer, who sings and dances. Witty and full of life, he converses with Pari in an amusing way. The Pari, smeared in layers of make-up, enters the scene through the audience. She always balances a ‘lota’ or water jug on her head, behaving like a demure housewife. The Jokkad and Pari indulge in a witty banter, building up an amusing and entertaining sequence for the audience.
Folk Theatre In India
Culture of Chhattisgarh
Indian Folk Dances
Folk Musical Instruments
(Last Updated on : 23-06-2016)
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