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Alkazi Theatre Archives

A Bibliographic Listing From The Archive

R.C. Dhere’s Bharatiya Rangabhoomichya Shodhat

Book: Bharatiya Rangabhoomichya Shodhat
Author: R.C. Dhere
Published by: Padmagandha Prakashan, Pune, 1996

R. C. Dhere explains the nature of Indian Theatre by analysing the possible origins of folk forms and explores the interrelationships and exchanges between folk and elite culture in postcolonial India. The book examines the trajectory of Indian theatre from the works of Vishnudas Bhave, Kirloskar’s ‘Saubhadra’ (1883) to Satish Alekar’s ‘Mahanirvan’ (1974) and draws analysis using the themes of bhakti, nature of ‘folk’ forms like powada, bharud, kuravanji, dashavtar, lalit, relationship between myth and drama, to name a few.

Analysing the codes of embodied elements of the folk in the elite theatre and citing the example of a ‘vidushak’ (jester) in Sanskrit plays and their comparison to a monkey, Dhere writes, “What is special about the Indian socio-cultural context is that, the elements emerging from folk traditions, which are then adapted to create an ingenious form in the elite culture, retain traces of its origins in the evolved form, simultaneously preserving the essence of folk tradition. It is often observed that a particular folk tradition, the emergent form, and the semi-temporal, semi-ingenious form formed at different stages of its evolution exist at the same time. As soon as this phenomenon comes into view with its internal relationship, we can easily unravel the many socio-cultural intricacies and codes of centuries and millennia” (p. 105, translation from Marathi to English by ATA).

Apart from the analysis on the nature of Indian Theatre, this book also offers its readers historical information and analysis of various ‘folk’ forms from India and brings together primary sources on the history of Marathi theatre. The book ‘Bharatiya Rangabhoomichya Shodhat’ (In Search of Indian Theatre) was reprinted by Padmagandha Prakashan in 2014.

R.C. Dhere’s Bharatiya Rangabhoomichya Shodhat