Chhau on this
Not many may have heard of chhau, a folk dance form from the Purulia district in West Bengal, that was also on the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2010.art and culture Updated: Sep 16, 2012 13:54 IST
Not many may have heard of chhau, a folk dance form from the Purulia district in West Bengal, that was also on the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2010. At the launch of author Shubha Srinivasan’s new book Masked Identities, now is your chance to watch a chhau troupe perform the folk dance.
Chhau originated as a martial art form, which explains the acrobatic movements performed in war costumes and masks. Since Shubha’s new book depicts the current state of India’s cultural heritage and has a case study on chhau, the performance is apt for the occasion.
It will be led by Padmashri Nepali Mahato and his son Subrato Mahato of the Adabana Tarun Sangha Chhau Dance society. Chhau stories comprise Indian mythology, folklore and the Puranas. Various episodes from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata are included as well.
“We will be enacting two mythological episodes: Mahisasur Badh (killing), which features the epic battle between Mahisasur and goddess Durga; and Kirat Arjuna, that depicts Shiva and Parvati testing Arjun’s courage,” says Subrato.
The fast-paced performance with unique martial arts elements is accompanied by instruments such as the dhol, nagara and shehnai that help set the tone. “The drum beats add to the tempo of the performance. Since we are visiting Mumbai for the first time, we want to put up our best show. We want to spread our culture and dance,” says Subrato.