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Sanskrit or Classical Theatre

Bharata’s ‘Natya Shastra’ is the earliest detailed treatise and handbook on dramatic art. The ancient Indian philosopher-poet, Asvaghosa, is considered as the first Sanskrit dramatic author who composed ‘Sariputraprakarana’ in nine acts. Traditionally ten types of Sanskrit plays are identified. Sanskrit plays always have a happy ending and tragedies and controversies are rarely depicted.

Gujarati, Urdu and Hindi Theatres

The foundation for the modern Gujarati and Urdu-Hindi Theatre was laid by the Parsi dramatic companies laidin mid-1850s. Bharatendu Harishchandra was the pioneer of the Hindi drama movement with his best-known plays are ‘Satya Harishchandra’, ‘Andher Nagari’ and ‘Bharat Durdasha’. The city of Hyderabad gained much fame as an important centre of Urdu theatre, which flourished on the theme of humour.
‘Adrak Ke Panje’ is acclaimed by the ‘Guinness Book of World Records’ as the longest one-man show, having run from 1965 to 2001.

Bengali Theatre

Bengali Theatre was established with the staging of Bengali translation of two English comedies by Goloknath Das in Calcutta in 1795. Dwarkanath Tagore and Jyotirindranath Tagore were responsible for building and running a private theatre called the ‘Jorasanko Theatre’. Girish Chandra Ghosh, one of the first great men of Bengali theatre, wrote a series of historical plays like Siraj-ud-daula and Mir Kasim on the theme of British oppression, using historical figures and situations to convey a contemporary message. In the post-Independence period the Bengali theatre witnessed a marked change in style with the coming on to scene of great playwrights like Badal Sarkar, Mohit Chatterjee, Arun Mukherjee and others.

Shekhawati Wall Paintings

Shekhawati havelis of Rajasthan are renowned for their wall paintings. These havelis were profusely painted with frescos depicting gods and kings, flowers and arabesques and scenes from everyday life.

Mewar Paintings

Mewar was in the forefront in all fields of creative art and architecture under illustrious rulers like Maharana Kumbha and Maharana Sanga. Multi-painting sets of ‘Ramayana’, ‘Gita-Govinda’, ‘Sur Sagar’, ‘Arsh Ramayana’ and ‘Rasikapriya’ were prepared in an unmistakably bold, colourful and well defined style.

Marwar Paintings

Marwar Paintings have typical bold lines and blazing colours and show well-built heroic males wearing prominent whiskers and huge turbans along with colourfully attired dainty damsels. Extensive series of paintings illustrating ‘Shiva Purana’, ‘Natacharitra’, ‘Durgacharitra’, ‘Panchatantra’ and the ‘Kama Sutra’ were produced under his patronage.

Bundi or Hadoti Paintings

Bundi or Hadoti School of paintings​ began under Rao Chattar Sal (1631-1659 A.D.). A typical Bundi-Kota miniature has graceful women with round faces, receding foreheads and shins, strong noses, full cheeks, lotus petal eyes, sharp eyebrows and well-formed bodies.

Mughal Painting

Mughal Paintings were greatly inspired by influences from Persia in its themes, colours and form and were known for their subtlety and naturalism. All Mughal rulers were great admirers of painting, with the exception of Aurangzeb. Mir Sayyid Ali and Abdus Samad were two great painters in the courts of Humayun and Akbar. Mughal painting came under the Western influence towards the beginning of the 17th century.

Rajput Paintings

Rajput paintings flourished under the patronage of the Hindu Rajput rulers of Rajputana and Punjab Himalayas during the period 16th century to the middle of the 19th century. The Rajput paintings can be classified under two broad groups: the ‘Rajasthani style’ and the ‘Pahari style’.

Pahari Paintings

A typical Pahari Painting consists of several figures, skilfully grouped and full of movement, and each is distinct in terms of clothing, hairstyle and pigmentation. The early Pahari paintings of the mid-17th century were in the Basholi style and were characterised by faces with receding foreheads and great expressive eyes, shaped like lotus petals. The birth of ‘Guler-Kangra’ style of paintings took place in 18th century.

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