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Chhau is one of the unique type of performing arts from the Indian traditional theatre where dance and martial arts are used to tell various mythological stories. It is unique in the sense that it is the only art form in the world that uses wooden or earthen masks to depict the characters, not only by face, but also in performance choreography.
The art form originated from the tribal regions of eastern India and has three different schools of performances. The three types of Chhau are from the three regions of Orissa, Jharkhand, and West Bengal. They are known after the names of their regions: Mayurbhanj (Orissa), Saraikela (Jharkhand), Purulia (West Bengal).
All the three forms use similar stories. The storyline is generally related to war legends like Krishna’s chivalry, Mahisasur Mardani, Parshuram’s anger etc. Basically, the story needs to be loud enough. However, the length and detailing of the themes might vary from one region to another. Similarly, the language is tribal and local to the area of performance.
Mayurbhanj Chhau is performed with long epic stories with great detailing. Same is with Purulia Chhau. But in Saraikela, the stories are smaller. Purulia Chhau is very much ritualistic and the performers are from very poor class, without any patronage, unlike the Saraikela variety which is patronised by the elite class.
Saraikela form is almost same as Mayurbhanj, the only difference is use of masks which is not there in Mayurbhanj.
Chhau is a completely tribal art form and, as a result, the music and dance are tribal and folk. The gestures are loud as are the beats of music that come from two musical instruments, Dhamsa and Jhaanjh, used during the performance.
Costumes used in Chhau are minimal. Make-up is limited to painted faces and bodies. As it is a tribal art form, all the colours and other elements used for make-up are locally made from natural products. Body paint, masks are all naturally made, often by the people from the tribe itself.
Apart from the uniqueness of use of masks, the performers also depict the movements of the animals which makes it the only art form in the world to show it. It shows how traditional societies have preserved the local knowledge of observation of their surroundings.
The whole performance takes place in open area and not on stage. The performing area is big and, at times, performers move around, going from one place to another. The rituals are a big part of the performance and the local people are a part of it.
It takes place at the end of Hindi month of Chaitra and continues for 26 days. At the outset, a bamboo is taken and rituals are performed around it. After these rituals, the bamboo is assumed to be a Shivlinga. The Shivalinga is, then, half buried by the celebrating crowd, in the ground.
After the Shivalinga is buried, the chief priest (or the chief worshipper) enters with his whole body painted with red vermillion as he carries a big earthen pitcher (ghada) on his head. The pitcher, a symbol of Shakti (Uma, Durga, Kaali etc.), is kept near the Shivalinga.
The music grows loud as the priest, with his performance, makes people believe that the Goddess has entered his body. He starts to dance frantically, and soon the crowd joins in celebration.
After this part of ritual is over, Vrindavani (the recitation of Krishna’s chivalary), small anecdotes of war, vigour etc. are performed by a group of performers. The duration of performance depends on the length of story. People enjoy the show till it gets over.
Although, Saraikela and Mayurbhanj Chhau have enjoyed the support of royalty, Purulia variety, as stated earlier, was completely supported by the people themselves who struggled but kept the art form alive.
At present, it enjoys the support of the state. Recently, in 2010, Chhau was inscribed in the UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Every child who grew up in the 90s and the early 00s has certainly grown up around Tom and Jerry, the adorable, infamous cat-chases-mouse cartoon. The idea of naughtiness and playing mischief had the standards that this particular series set for children and defined how much wreckage was funny enough.
The show's creators, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera initially named their characters Jasper and Jinx. They did not plan for the fame that Tom and Jerry brought them when they released a movie by the name of "Puss Gets the Boot". This movie featured a certain cat and mouse who were a notorious pair, named Jasper and Jinx. When the movie became a hit, the names of the characters were changed and the show shot to fame.
Tom and Jerry became a go-to cartoon for children in the early 00s, and it was one of those shows with a firm foundation, that had already been in the running for decades. The original template had been planned nearly 80 years ago, and the makers did not change it. The music that was played in the many episodes, made a breakthrough in its own way. It is the most easily recognizable melody with utterly nostalgic associations.
Today, Tom and Jerry is still a household name in homes where children love cartoons Image credit: wikimedia commons
A set of supporting characters were defined for the show, to occasionally take the focus off the original pair. There was a large, black woman named Mammy Two Shoes and a bulldog who took Jerry's side. Mammy Two Shoes was discontinued because her character portrayed racist tendencies. A tall white woman replaced her, who was kinder and loved mice. Either of the women's faces was never revealed.
Today, Tom and Jerry is still a household name in homes where children love cartoons. There are a host of other shows besides this that aim to replicate the same aspects of the cartoon but do not come close at all. Despite the immense amount of violence in the show, it is a beloved pastime of parents and children alike.
Keywords: Tom and Jerry, Cartoon, Hanna and Barbera, Television
One of India's leading private museums, the Museum of Art & Photography (MAP) Bengaluru, has released new primary research conducted by the ReReeti Foundation, on audience behaviour in India's cultural sector. While more than half of the respondents thought the arts and culture are essential, they rarely manage to make time for it. The majority (60.6 per cent), mostly young people under 30, felt Indian museums could present more engaging content, and most perceived culture as anthropological/ sociological. Of the diverse categories included, music emerged as the most popular cultural activity.
The report is based on a survey of 500 people, which included school and college students, professionals across sectors, homemakers and senior citizens. The first initiative of its kind in the cultural space, the report shares valuable insights into the behaviour and expectations of Indian audiences engaging with a broad range of cultural activities. As part of MAP's mission to foster meaningful connections between communities and the cultural sector globally, which includes its innovative digital programme Museums Without Borders, the report shares a wealth of insights that can help museums across the country understand their audiences better. As much as 60.6 per cent said Indian museums are not experimental enough, and can do more to create engaging content that is also relevant to surrounding communities.As much as 60.6 per cent said Indian museums are not experimental enough, and can do more to create engaging content that is also relevant to surrounding communities.
As much as 60.6 per cent said Indian museums are not experimental enough, and can do more to create engaging content that is also relevant to surrounding communities. | Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Speaking on the recent report, Kamini Sawhney, Director, Museum of Art & Photography (MAP), said, "MAP is focused on changing the notion of a museum in India, by enabling more relevant and inclusive programming, both online and in our space in Bengaluru. The audience research commissioned by MAP, and conducted by the ReReeti Foundation, provides valuable, and actionable insights which we hope will help museums across the country better understand their consumer base, improve decision making and deepen social impact." As much as 62.3 per cent college students and 47.6 per cent professionals/homemakers perceive culture as anthropological and sociological. Music was the most popular cultural event likely to be attended, followed by heritage tours and plays/comedy shows for Indian audiences.
Over 70 per cent of college students visit museums with family and friends; working professionals, homemakers and senior citizens also predominantly visit with groups/ spouses (indicating a need to focus on increased group programming/facilitation). As much as 68 per cent of people were optimistic about going outdoors for activities and events in 2021. As much as 60.6 per cent said Indian museums are not experimental enough, and can do more to create engaging content that is also relevant to surrounding communities.(IANS/MBI)
Keywords: Art, Culture, India, Museum, Music
What is the best way to save Goa from deforestation?
Drinking feni, may well be the answer, says the secretary of the Goa Cashew Feni Distillers and Bottlers Association Hansel Vaz, who on Thursday said, that sipping the state's unique alcoholic drink and making it popular would directly aid the greening of Goa's hills and other barren landscapes.
"To get more cashews, we need to plant more trees. I always say, by drinking feni you will save Goa, because we will be planting more cashew trees and we will have greener hills. The beauty of cashew is you do not need fertile land. You can grow it on a hill which can provide no nutrition. We will be able to grow more trees, if we can sell feni properly," Vaz said. Vaz's comments come at a time when the hillsides of the coastal state have witnessed significant deforestation for real estate development and for infrastructure projects. Feni is manufactured by fermenting and double distilling juice from the cashew apple.
Best way to keep Goa green is to grab yourself a glass of feni. | IANS
Addressing a press conference in Panaji, Vaz also said that the promotion of feni was also in sync with the Prime Minister's vision for India to go "vocal for local". "There is no conglomerate, multinational company owning the drink. So every time we sell feni, it is a direct cash injection into Goa. If you sell a feni cocktail in Calangute (a popular beach village), it makes a direct impact in Valpoi and Bicholim, because this money is going down there," the Association official said at a press conference in Panaji.
The Association held the media briefing to announce a road map ahead for the feni industry, especially vis a vis streamlining aspects related to production, standardisation and marketing of the brew to make it popular in other Indian states and abroad.
The efforts to streamline the state "heritage drink" comes a month after the Goa government notified a formal policy, 'Goa Feni Policy 2021', which covers 26 different varieties of feni distilled in the state. "There were many barriers related to feni, which the policy has now addressed," treasurer of the Association Tukaram Haldankar said. One such hurdle was the previous government classification, which described feni as "country liquor", which would deter tourists from purchasing the drink. The reclassification of feni as a state "heritage drink" has lent dignity to the brew which has been manufactured locally in Goa since the 16th century.
But there is more the government can do, along with the state's traditional distillers and manufacturers to promote feni, Haldankar said. | Photo by Ishvani Hans on Unsplash
But there is more the government can do, along with the state's traditional distillers and manufacturers to promote feni, Haldankar said. "We request the government to allow the sale of feni in duty free stores in airports and cruise liner terminals. The government should also support us through the department of Tourism, so that feni can be promoted in its programmes. iIf you go to Scotland, they promote Scotch. Goa should promote its feni to Goa," Haldankar said, adding that traditional distillers should also be given subsidies and other measures should be taken to standardise feni, which he said, "would require further subsidies and financial assistance from the government".
"It should be a standard product like scotch, champagne," Haldankar said. "Like Mexico's tequila, Russian vodka and Japan's sake, we need to export our feni across the country and the world and the local distillers should also benefit economically," president of the Association Gurudutt Bhakta also said. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: deforestation,cashew,distillers,association,government, goa, feni, India