?Cinema, TV dealt a blow to nautanki?
Radha Rani, who joined a Nautanki group at the age of nine years to earn bread and butter for the family, has seen many ups and downs in her life. Why has Nautanki sank into oblivion? None other than this seasoned artiste has the answer to this question who left the flashy stage performances some 20 years back.
Radha Rani, who joined a Nautanki group at the age of nine years to earn bread and butter for the family, has seen many ups and downs in her life.
Why has Nautanki sank into oblivion? None other than this seasoned artiste has the answer to this question who left the flashy stage performances some 20 years back.
In a bid to provide the nuances of the dying art of Nautanki to the budding talents of the city, she is in town to conduct a 15-day workshop at NCZCC.
One cannot expect a nine-year-old to be led by sheer interest to join Nautanki," she said. Of course, she too fell victim to the circumstances at home. "After the sudden death of my father, our family was shrouded with uncertainties and instability.
With no other immediate option at hand, I stepped into an unfamiliar realm of Nautanki. Thus I joined the group of Lalban Nambardar of Kanpur," said Radha Rani. She belongs to kasba Bisalpur in district Pilibhit.
There was no looking back after that as she performed with the group in several cities across the country. "I spent the major period in Purnia, Bihar where I dedicated almost 16 years of my life as a Nautanki artiste. In the year 1956, I established my own group which was named as 'The great national theatre company Radha Rani'. But the name was changed to 'Radha Theatre' afterwards," she said.
"Advent of cinema and television dealt a heavy blow to our live performances which earlier attracted the attention of thousands. People started showing aversion to this art and frankly speaking, the vulgarity in this traditional art form started then onwards. People started joining other fields and Nautanki gradually headed towards slow extinction," she said.
Radha Rani stood for the Assembly elections thrice but she failed to register victory. "I was always criticised for my profession. 'Arey ye nachne gaane wali kya karegi' was often the comment for me and it was disheartening. Through the earnings from my performances, I managed to donate more than one lakh rupees in the national defence fund of the government in 1962 when the country was suffering from India-China war. Likewise I kept helping others according to my abilities," she added. "Nautanki is not an easy art. One has to coordinate three art forms together--singing, dancing and acting. And now people have started showing lesser interest in it. There is also more display of obscenity," she added.
Radha Rani runs her own school where she teaches students the different art forms, including singing, dancing and acting. Fifteen children are learning under her tutelage under the guru-shishya parampara. "It is a good sign but everything depends on the young generation as to how much energy they put in to revive this art form," said this versatile artiste.