“The Knowledge Library”

Knowledge for All, without Barriers…

An Initiative by: Kausik Chakraborty.
09/02/2023 12:36 PM

“The Knowledge Library”

Knowledge for All, without Barriers……….
An Initiative by: Kausik Chakraborty.

The Knowledge Library

List of Important Theatre Form of India

List of Important Theatre Form of India are Given Below:


  • It is a unique combination of dance, music, and acting.
  • In this theatre form, music is provided with surnai, Nagaara, and dhol.
  • Actors of Bhand Pather are mainly from the farming community.
  • It is secular in outlook, although it is performed by Muslims.

NAUTANKI (Uttar Pradesh)

  • The plays are themed around historical, social and folk tales and delivered through dance and music.


  • It is a dance drama enactment of the adolescent love stories of Krishna and Radha.

BHAVAI (Gujarat)

  • The instruments used in Bhavai are bhungal, tabla, flute, pakhaawaj, rabaab, sarangi, manjeera, etc.
  • The theme of the play is generally romantic.

JATRA (Bengal)

  • Fairs in honour of gods, or religious rituals and ceremonies have within their framework musical plays are known as Jatra.
  • Krishna Jatra became popular due to Chaitanya’s influence.
  • The earlier form of Jatra has been musical.

MAACH (Madhya Pradesh)

  • In this theatre, form songs are given prominence in between the dialogues.
  • The unique feature of this form is the dialogues, which are delivered in the form of couplets known as Rangat Dohas.

BHOANA (Assam)

  • It is a presentation of Ankia Naat.
  • Sutradhar (Narrator) narrates the play and sings verses from holy texts.
  • Songs and music are also a part of it.

TAMAASHA (Maharashtra)

  • It has evolved from folk forms such as Gondhal, Jagran and Kirtan.
  • The unique feature of Tamasha is the presence of female actors, who play even the male roles.

DASAVATAR (Maharashtra and North Goa)

  • The performers personify the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu-the god of preservation and creativity.
  • The ten incarnations are Matsya (fish), Kurma (tortoise), Varaha (boar), Narsimha (lion-man), Vaman (dwarf), Parashuram, Rama, Krishna (or Balram), Buddha and Kalki.


  • It is a cycle of eight plays performed for eight consecutive days.
  • The plays are Avataram, Kaliamandana, Rasa krida, kamasavadha, Swayamvaram, Bana Yudham, Vivida Vadham, and Swargarohana.


  • It is usually performed only in the Kali temples of Kerala, as an oblation to the Goddess.
  • The seven characters in Mudiyettu: Shiva, Narada, Darika, Danavendra, Bhadrakali, Kooli and Koimbidar (Nandikeshvara) are all heavily made-up.

YAKSHAGANA (Karnataka)

  • Traditional theatre form of Karnataka, is based on mythological stories and Puranas.
  • The most popular episodes are from the Mahabharata i.e. Draupadi swayamvar, Subhadra vivah, Abhimanyu vadh, Karna-Arjun yuddh and from Ramayana i.e. Raajyaabhishek, Lav-kush Yuddh, Baali-Sugreeva yuddha and Panchavati.
  • Originated in the royals courts of the Vijaynagar empire and was performed by a particular community known as Jakkula Varu.


  • The most popular form of folk drama of Tamil Nadu, literally means “street play”.
  • It is mostly performed at the time of annual temple festivals of Mariamman (Rain goddess) to achieve rich harvest.
  • At the core of the extensive repertoire of Therukoothu there is a cycle of eight plays based on the life of Draupadi.
  • Kattiakaran, the Sutradhara of the Therukoothu performance, gives the gist of the play to the audience and Komali entertains the audience with his buffoonery.

THEYYAM (Kerala)

  • It is an open theatre.
  • It is performed in front of the local temples to mainly honour the spirit of the ancestors besides gods.


  • It is performed in the style of an opera and depicts incidents from the life of Krishna.
  • Sutradhar or narrator is accompanied by a group of musicians known as Gayan-Bayan Mandali.
  • Use of masks to depict special expressions.

RAMLILA (Uttar Pradesh)

  • It is an enactment of Ramayana using songs, dances, and dialogue during the time of Dussehra.
  • Performed by the Male actors.

BHUTA (Karnataka)

  • The traditional practice of worshipping the dead ancestors.

RAMMAN (Uttarakhand)

  • Dedicated to Bhumiyal Devta, the local deity.
  • People of the Bhandari caste wear the sacred mask symbolizing Narasimha.
  • Included in the UNESCO’s representative list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.


  • In this form, there are two narrators- Gayaka, who is the chief singer and Palia, who is a co-narrator.

GARODAS (Gujarat)

  • It uses painted pictures to narrate stories of romance and valor.

SWANG (Punjab and Haryana)

  • They are mainly musical dramas, sung through verses, accompanied by the music of ektara, harmonium, sarangi, dholak, and khartal.
  • Originally the theatre form Swang, was mainly music-based. Gradually, prose too, played its role in the dialogues.
  • The softness of emotions, accomplishment of rasa alongwith the development of character can be seen in this theatre form.
  • The two important styles of Swang are from Rohtak and Haathras.
  • In the style belonging to Rohtak, the language used is Haryanvi (Bangru) and in Haathras, it is Brajbhasha.


  • Means bow-song.
  • Stories of Ramayana are narrated using bow-shaped instruments.


  • one of the oldest traditional theatre forms of Kerala, is based on Sanskrit theatre traditions.
  • The characters of this theatre form are: Chakyaar or actor, Naambiyaar, the instrumentalists and Naangyaar, those taking on women’s roles.
  • The Sutradhar or narrator and the Vidushak or jesters are the protagonists.
  • It is the Vidushak alone who delivers the dialogues. Emphasis on hand gestures and eye movements makes this dance and theatre form unique.

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