Saturday, 11 June 2011

Prahalad nataka: A form of traditional theatre from southern district of Orissa

By Priya Pryadarshini, Bhanja Bihar, Berhampur 
Ganjam is the hub of classical and traditional beauty. Be it in the terms of song, dance, drama or theatrical show, Ganjam has a unique position in all these regards. Among all ‘Prahalad Nataka’ stands tall in all respective quarters of the culture. The tale is based on the incarnation of Lord Vishnu, ‘Nursingha’. Prahalad the great devotee of Lord Vishnu goes against the will of his father and worships Vishnu. Hiranyakashyap the father of Prahalad declares himself as the God and rebels against the almighty for which he gets punished.
The play is developed from the stories of mythological books like ‘Bhagat Gita’, ‘Vishnu Purana’ and ‘Nursingha Purana’. The act is full of emotions varying from courage to anger.
Source: flickr
King Ramakrushna Chotray of Jalanta was the first to initiate the production of this act. He called the famous dramatist and musician Gaurahar Parcha of Paralakhamundi who scripted the play for the first time. It was the first enacted in the region of Jalanta. It is primarily an Odiya play. Yet, the neighboring Telugu speaking regions do translate it into their own language and do perform it in their own areas. It is a play which has classical music as its main element.
In Ganjam the play is also called as ‘Rajanataka’. It continues for three to seven nights. The play though not edited in the form of episode or serial number has got a special way of presenting style. The presenter first starts the act by reciting the ‘Gurudeva’, ‘Ganesh’ and ‘Sarada Vandana’. After that the summary of the script is presented. Next the characters are called on the stage and the presentation goes on.
‘Prahalad Nataka’ is famous because of its presentation style and subject matter. Mostly the dance format is used for description of each character that also speaks of the emotions like devotion and pride.

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