Bharata Lila

Bharata Lila

bhārata liḷā / ଭାରତ ଲୀଳା


Bharata Lila is an interactive folk theatre unique to the Ganjam district of Odisha.

Superbly popular with rural audiences, the presentation is powerful enough to keep people watching for over 12 hours. The focus of the drama is to tell the story of Arjuna and Subhadra's romance, masterfully employing folk music and dance to do so. The main character is that of the duari, Arjuna's doorkeeper and the know-all. He forms the bridge of communication between the characters inside the play and connects the audience with the characters who live in another world.

This makes it a very challenging role : to bind all elements together, elaborate cryptic philosophy yet carry it all in such a manner that he can be viewed as humorous and approachable for the audience. He is the teacher who students aren't afraid to ask questions. This is why Bharata Lila is a very engaging act; the casual conversation dynamic between the audience and the duari that can fluidly travel from the deep corners of sastric knowledge and citations from ancient literature to simple-hearted rustic humour and wit, unbound by restrictions.

Name / Bhārata Liḷā
Also / Duari Nata, Subhadra Parinaya
Origin /
Early 19th century
Place of origin / Ganjam, Odisha
Creator /
Dinabandhu Dasa
Type /
Narrative theatre
Topic / Arjuna and Subhadra's marriage
Condition / Endangered
Characters / Duari, Arjuna, Subhadra, Satyabhama

Documentation

In this video, I interview one of the foremost duaris of Bharata Lila- Guru Rankanidhi Behera from Gudiapali, Ganjam. He talks about the origin of Bharata Lila, its history, music, storytelling, characterisation and demonstrates a short selection at the end.

Archival Metadata
Date /
2 January 2018
Location /
Satrughneswara Deula
Bhubaneswar
Interviewee / Rankanidhi Behera
Equipment / Nikon D5100
Nikkor 50mm prime
ATR3350 lav mic
Zoom H1 recorder
Final Cut Pro

Special thanks to Mr. Manoj Tripathy for finding information about the interviewee and putting me in touch with him.

Artistes

Sri Jagannatha Natya Sangha, Bharata Lila
Gudiapali, Block : Kabisurjyanagar, Ganjam, Odisha

Image

Guru Rankanidhi Behera
as Duari
Contact : +91 9861007241

Rankanidhi started his training under veteran Guru Kirtana Gouda when he was only in the fourth year of school. Since 1963, he has played almost all the parts of the play, touring extensively throughout Ganjam. He has trained multiple disciples in the art and has been performing for the last five decades.
He was awarded the Odisha Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 2013.

Image

Bidyadhar Pradhan
as Arjuna

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Priyanka Nayak
as Subhadra

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Prabhasini Nayak
as Satyabhama

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Trinath Sethi
as jester

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Prafulla Behera
harmonium

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Bhimasen Mahankud
percussion

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Tuna Behera
vocal

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Bhaskar Behera
vocal