India is one of the few countries rich in its variety of folk theatre heritage. A variety of forms co-exist along the length and breadth of the country, immersed in the rural music and dance styles, local dialects and the legends and mythologies of the region. But through the past century, these folk forms have witnessed enormous changes in society, affecting the purity of their own art form and the integrity of their style.
Nautanki a form of theatre largely hailing from the northern states of the country is one such form still struggling to retain its originality against the odds of changing times and demands.
Where once people of all the neighbouring areas would flock to their performances, ready to be a part of these night long performances - to the times where Hindi film songs replaced the existing lyrics, and slowly television caused the dwindling of audience and earning for the Nautanki troupes - to the present times here this form of art has lost its beauty of Shayari and the spirit of music and has been replaced by distorted and vulgar dance and cheap comedy.
Yet the performers of Nautanki have been consistent, and their struggles continue, day-by-day, trying to recreate within the expectations and demands of the new era, yet keeping the originality of the form. Though the story of this play is based on the actual journey, the characters and incidences have been recreated through the directors and playwrights own imaginations.
Through our performance, we have tried to explore this journey of the nautanki artists, their struggles in the face of changing times and society, and their determination to keep their art alive.