Charubala: joy and Jhumur, sorrow and song
Abhijit Chakraborty • Purulia, West Bengal

Charubala: joy and Jhumur, sorrow and song

In Senabana village of West Bengal's Purulia district, 65-year-old Charubala Kalindi, who has danced as a nachni for decades, still whips up a high-energy performance along with her rasik and their troupe

July 19, 2019 | Abhijit Chakraborty
Cycles, costumes, colour
Purusottam Thakur • Gariaband, Chhattisgarh
Performing Ramkatha in a changed Ayodhya
Joydip Mitra • Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh

Performing Ramkatha in a changed Ayodhya

During the Dussehra month, the ragtag Ramkatha Singing Party dashes off from stage to stage, before returning to their day jobs, even as the retelling of the epic is engulfed by contemporary politics

October 19, 2018 | Joydip Mitra

Heckled, harassed, still dancing
Vinaya Kurtkoti • Pune, Maharashtra

Heckled, harassed, still dancing

For the female dancers in Mangala Bansode’s tamasha troupe in rural Maharashtra, work brings a steady income, but also entails sexual harassment, gruelling schedules, no privacy, and even childbirth on the move

August 29, 2018 | Vinaya Kurtkoti

A rich night of Dashavatar improvisations
Indrajit Khambe • Sindhudurg, Maharashtra

A rich night of Dashavatar improvisations

In Dashavatar performances – a centuries-old theatre form of south Maharashtra and north Goa – plays of several hours, with only male actors, most of them farmers and labourers, keep audiences riveted till dawn

May 8, 2018 | Indrajit Khambe

Possessed by his art, a Bahurupi transforms
Sinchita Maji • Birbhum, West Bengal

Possessed by his art, a Bahurupi transforms

Raju Chowdhury of West Bengal's Bishaypur village is a storyteller, a feverish singer, an impersonator. His income is modest, the work is hard. This film features his stunning dance as the imaginary Tara sundori

March 23, 2018 | Sinchita Maji

Pulling the last of the strings
Rahul Maganti • Prakasam, Andhra Pradesh

Pulling the last of the strings

Puppeteers in Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh are struggling to keep their art form alive – with its rich tradition and history – despite no help from the state and the takeover of ‘entertainment’ by television

March 21, 2018 | Rahul Maganti

The art and the agony of Subhash Shinde
Sanket Jain • Kolhapur, Maharashtra

The art and the agony of Subhash Shinde

PARI volunteer Sanket Jain aims to traverse 300 villages across India and, among other stories, produce this feature: a photograph of a rural scene or event and a sketch of that photograph. This is the fifth in the series on PARI. 

February 19, 2018 | Sanket Jain

Tamasha: transformed but still travelling
Vinaya Kurtkoti and Shatakshi Gawade • Satara, Maharashtra

Tamasha: transformed but still travelling

Changes in technology, in audience tastes, shrinking performance spaces – have all impacted the tamasha. Troupe owners have mixed feelings – is the tamasha in danger or will Mangala Bansode's art form survive?

December 7, 2017 | Vinaya Kurtkoti and Shatakshi Gawade
‘Tamasha is like a jail that I want to stay in’
Vinaya Kurtkoti and Shatakshi Gawade • Satara, Maharashtra

‘Tamasha is like a jail that I want to stay in’

The tamasha remains popular in rural Maharashtra, where many see it as a more stable form of livelihood than agricultural labour, though profits are lean and the schedule is gruelling. One of the biggest troupes is run by Mangala Bansode, who received a National Award in the Creative Arts category yesterday, October 9

October 10, 2017 | Vinaya Kurtkoti and Shatakshi Gawade
Dancing to the dollu in Hesaraghatta
Vishaka George • Bangalore Urban, Karnataka

Dancing to the dollu in Hesaraghatta

Young women on the outskirts of Bengaluru excel at a Kannada drum-and-dance form long thought to be a skill for burly men. In the video here, watch the group perform with extraordinary energy and rhythm

November 14, 2017 | Vishaka George
Bahurupi: a family of many faces
Ankan Roy & Sagarika Basu • Birbhum, West Bengal

Bahurupi: a family of many faces

Bahurupi artists in West Bengal easily metamorphose into different characters during a performance, but are finding it hard to change their work roles with changing times

January 20, 2017 | Ankan Roy & Sagarika Basu
The dance of the false-legged horse
Aparna Karthikeyan • Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu

The dance of the false-legged horse

Poikkal Kuthirai dancers of Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, struggle to make a living from their ancient folk art form

October 13, 2016 | Aparna Karthikeyan
The Bhils of Alirajpur
Rohit Jain • Alirajpur, Madhya Pradesh

The Bhils of Alirajpur

Across the villages of Alirajpur, many of them now denuded and barren and with few livelihood options, the Bhils struggle to retain their farming and cultural practices

July 14, 2016 | Rohit Jain
Drums, bagpipes and Choliya dance
Yashashwini Raghunandan & Ekta Mittal • Bageshwar, Uttarakhand

Drums, bagpipes and Choliya dance

Choliya troupes in Uttarakhand integrate Scottish bagpipes into rural Indian music

April 2, 2016 | Yashashwini Raghunandan & Ekta Mittal

Pung
Anubha Bhonsle & Sunzu Bachaspatimayum • Thoubal, Manipur

Pung

This traditional drum of Manipur's Meitei community is central to their culture, and to spectacular music and dance

December 31, 2015 | Anubha Bhonsle & Sunzu Bachaspatimayum

Storytelling the Kattaikkuttu way
Namita Waikar • Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu

Storytelling the Kattaikkuttu way

Student artists in a unique school of education and theatre art in Tamil Nadu

November 13, 2015 | Namita Waikar

Hanging by a thread
Urvashi Sarkar • New Delhi, Delhi

Hanging by a thread

Delhi’s old colony ​of puppeteers ​is in a state of flux​,​ with threat​s​ to ​the ​land, housing and social structures​

December 18, 2014 | Urvashi Sarkar

Kali dances - Navarasam
Aparna Karthikeyan • Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Kali dances - Karagattam
Aparna Karthikeyan • Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu
Kali dances – Thappattam
Aparna Karthikeyan • Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu

Kali dances – Thappattam

Watch Kali Veerapadran – perhaps the only male dancer who has mastered the classical dance form Bharatanatyam, as well as three ancient Tamil folk dance forms – in a riveting performance

July 20, 2014 | Aparna Karthikeyan
Kali dances - Oyilaatam
Aparna Karthikeyan • Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu
Kali: the dancer and his dreams
Aparna Karthikeyan • Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu

Kali: the dancer and his dreams

'I want to set up a dance school, I want to earn money, I want to look after my mother, I want to dance'

July 16, 2014 | Aparna Karthikeyan