Bharata Lila

bʱaːɾɔt̪ɔ lil̪aː / 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 a know-all character. He forms the bridge of communication between the characters inside the play and connects the audience with the characters who live in another time. This makes it a very challenging role : to bind all elements together, elaborate cryptic philosophy yet carry it in such a way that presents him as humorous and most of all, makes him approachable for the audience.

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.

Shot on a Nikon D5100 with Nikkor 50mm prime lens. Audio captured using ATR3350 lavalier microphone through a Zoom H1 recorder. Edited on Final Cut Pro.
Recorded in stereo in the Sahi Jata of Puri during an actual procession of the Jagannatha Temple of Puri. One can hear the amplitude of the notes changing gradually as I move through the group.

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