Folk Theatre PANDWANI Based on the epic Mahabharata

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Author: Niranjan Mahawar
Publisher: Abhinav Publications, New Delhi
(Pp 134, ISBN 81-7017-539-9, Rs 1,200)

Pandwani is a folk ballad form performed predominantly in Chhattisgarh. It depicts the story of the Pandavas, the leading characters in the epic Mahabharata.

The author relents that Pradhan and Dewar Pandwani are losing their popularity because they are only in ballad form and the rendering is quite monotonous. The old people still enjoy the old pendant because of its tribal myths and folk elements. (p32)

Folk Theatre PANDWANI Based on the epic Mahabharata had its genesis in a chance meeting of the author with Teejan Bai- an exponent of Pandavani, a traditional performing art form, from Chhattisgarh, in which she enacts tales from the Mahabharata, with musical accompaniments.

The author traces the origin of the present mono theatre form of Pandwani based on the text of Sabal Singh Chauhan but not on the oral tradition of Pradhans but still is called Pandwani. The contribution of Jhaduram Dewangan, another great performer, finds an adequate space in the narration. The book provides a deep insight into the oral theatre form predominantly popular in Chattisgarh.

The author has been documenting tribal and folk arts, folk theatre forms, folklore, tribal myths and other aspects of tribal and folk ways. The book is the result of research, based on personal interaction with the known performers of this folk theatre and field studies and collecting materials from various sources, over a period of about many years, it presents an understanding and interpretation of the various forms of Pandwani.

– GS Jolly

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