Prahallada Nataka

Prahallada Nataka

prahallāda nātaka / ପ୍ରହଲ୍ଲାଦ ନାଟକ


Prahallada Nataka is a 200-year old folk theatre from Ganjam in Odisha. Created by Ramakrusna Chhotaraya, the erstwhile king of Jalantara (a princely kingdom in the southern regions of Odisha), it tells the story of Vishnu's man-lion incarnation Nrusingha, the asura king Hiranyakasyapa and his son Prahallada. Since it is a king pouring out his imagination, Prahallada Nataka turns out to rather grand in its construction- the costume is unusual, the music has a strong classical base, the moves are regal and dramatic, the dialogues are magnanimous and there is a general air of grandeur. For old-school village audiences, this is something that they have never seen, something that stands out from the monotony of daily life. Perhaps that is what makes it so fascinating.

Name / Prahallada Nataka
Also / Raja Nata
Origin /
Early 19th century
Place of origin / Jalantara, Ganjam, Odisha
Creator /
Ramakrusna Chhotaraya
Type /
Musical theatre
Topic / Vishnu's Nrusingha avatara
Condition / Endangered
Characters / Raja (Hiranyakasyapa), Lilabati, Prahallada, sutradhara and multiple others

Documentation

In a a massive project crowdfunded by the Odia Twitter community, spanning more than six months, two complete performances of Prahallada Nataka were created. This came out to be more than 100 hours of footage. The entire footage shall be released online for free along with subtitles and research material.
One of my dream projects, it was brought to life by the two other members of the core team beside me - Debendra Pattanayak sir and Arjun Samantaray. Filmmaker Abinash Padhan also helped us immensely in the shoot. Professor John Emigh guided me, provided his own research and at the end, introduced the form in the beginning of the first episode.

Archival Metadata
Date /
 1 March 2018
Location /
 Baghela, Ganjam

Here is an account of how this enormous documentation project happened. 

Artistes

Sri Lakshmi Nrusingha Natya Sansada
Burupada, Block : Hinjilicut, Ganjam, Odisha

Image

A. Rajendra Patro
as Raja
Contact : +91 9938342849

Rajendra has been performing as Raja since the last few decades. He is one of the most popular performers for the challenging role today, and not without reason - his flawless singing, energetic dance and his own little nuances here and there all make the play much more enjoyable.

Image

Santosh Satpathy
as Lilabati

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Simanchala Malika
as Prahallada

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Pintu Bisoi
as Duari & other

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Sannyasi Maharana
sutradhara

Kalia Gouda
mukhabina

Tukuna Swain
mardala

Simanchala Patro
gini

Pitambara Sahu
gini