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Bhavai- Folk Drama

Jya Jya Vase Gujarati – Tya Tya Vase Gujarat
The culture and the traditions are both alive and being forever experimented in the State of Gujarat. Blend with vibrant colours of yester years to modernity, it still has its roots deeply leading to revival of traditional past.
The Stage in Gujarat is vibrant with its own traditional ‘Bhavai’ – a unique stage art form, performed with ‘Bhava’, meaning expression revealing emotions. It’s real meaning is made up of two words - Bhava and Aai. Bhava means universe and aai is mother, together it means mother of the universe, Amba. Exclusively performed by male members in various costumes and character forms . A long wind brass instrument called ‘Bhungal’ is played during the performance to call performing characters to the scene. Drums, cymbals and Sarangi are other instruments made use of. Bhavai is mostly held in open space. Women are mere audience to the ‘Bhavai’ performance as this folk dance play is strictly performed by males in women’s role too.
Traditionally, most popular theme of ‘Ramleela’ was performed earlier at places in Gujarat based on Ramayana and Mahabharata which was on pre-existing mythological or historical themes that were familiar to the audience of bygone era.
Bhavai-Folk Drama
Dance
Garba and Raas
Hallisaka

However, Bhavai has gained popularity with change of time as medium of entertainment. It is a kind of ritual offering made to Goddess Amba. In the courtyard of the Ambaji temple near Mount Abu the Navratri festival is celebrated with Bhavai performances. Amba is the presiding deity of Bhavai.


Bhavai plays in Gujarat, also convey social messages through its play based on Humour form, which reflect on social stigmas i.e. injustice, criticism, caste differences or just about any topic that calls for a concern. The chief of the Bhavai Troupe is the ‘Nayak’ and he remains on the stage directing the course of action with commentary and intervention alongwith the Jester. The script unfolds through dialogues, songs, speeches in prose and verse with a lot of singing and dancing. The main humour is of ‘Ranglo’ and ‘Ranglee’ which attract the audience.


Bhavai evolved into one of Gujarat’s energitic folk music and drama.


Gujarat has a cultural mix as per it’s various regions. As such, Tippani Nritya, Siddi dance, Padhar Nritya, Dangi Nritya and other local tribal dances are major dance forms in celebration.


Sanedo is yet another striking resemblance to Bhavai with topics that can be anything from Romance, Youth or Satire. Sung at Navratri festivals and weddings, it’s origin is from Patan in Gujarat. The dance theme is also adopted in all Gujarat cities and is gaining popularity as it reaches far and wide in Britain and US.


Gujarat is popular for Gujarati drama and films. The stage shows are gaining more popularity among Gujaratis all over the world. Street plays, one act plays etc are being held in Gujarat with ever rising concerns of day to day chores.


Gujarat Rajya Sangeet and Natak Academy promotes the Stage artists with Awards and performances held to commemorate some of the finest artists of Gujarat.


Sanskrit plays were very popular and were staged in ancient times all over India. Gujarat is once again poised for the Sanskrit Plays and set up platforms to strengthen the activities soon.


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