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‘popular’ Performance Live Forms

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Wadkar’s denial of being part of Tamasha film pointssuggests towards the notions of immorality that were associated with ‘popular’ performancetive forms including tamasha and lavani which was being extended to the cinematic discourse. While she later became the part of the film and portrayed the role of Bayabai, the lavani performer and love interest of Ram Joshi in the film, the reason sheto this changed of her initial decision is not explicitly stated in her personal account; her working with Baburao Painter and V. Shantaram under the banner of Rajkamal Kalamandir could be one.

The initial denial of working in a tamasha-oriented film considered as immoral and lecherous reinforces the codes of upper caste and middle class morality which wasere part of the Marathi public discourse. Rege further points out that the 1940s was also the period when Bombay State imposed a ban on the tamasha and lavani which was considered as obscene and immoral. So while the tamasha based films were on the rise there was a decline of the real tamasha and lavani performers, there was appropriation of their cultural form, and their representation and sexuality as they had no control over the image of the tamasha performer within the film in which they were objectified and overtly sexualised. This in fact impacted the real Tamasha and lavani performers such as sangeet bharees facing the threat of closure; the re-casting of Tamasha and lavani performers through the cinematic representation further added to the overt sexualisation and stigmatisation of the lavani performers.

Sanjay Narwekar in Marathi Cinema: In Retrospect suggests that regarding the film Lok Shahir Ram Josh (1947) that the supposed form of the biographical was a mere excuse to interject the vibrant lavanis and sawal-jawabs which became the rage of audiences in Maharashtra. This refers to the objectification of lavani and tamasha through its separation from the narrative and genre of the film. While there was a shift in the narrative tendencies of the Marathi cinema with its shift towards the ‘rural’ themed films, there were also attempt to engender the Marathi middle-class public. This was through the intersection of the literary sphere and cinematic sphere – while the Studio era of Marathi cinema was also closely associated with the writers such as Narayan Hari Apte, later there were literary figures such as P.K. Atre, G.D. Madgulkar and P.L. Deshpande etc. It was through the realist narrative, sentimentality of films such as Prapanch (1961) that upper caste, middle-class morality was asserted. ThisIt was through the writings of these literary figures about the Marathi-world view which was entrenched in Marathi social realm such as devotional songs, tamasha etc (Ingle, 2017). Through Sangte Aika (1959) and Sawal Mazha Aika (1964) the sub-genre of tamasha films which centralised the tamasha and lavani performers’ lives was consolidated within the Marathi ‘gramin chitrapat’ or rural cinema, consisting oftituting of the rural narratives as well as rural performance formstives such as tamasha, sawal-jawab, lavani etc., which marked the construction of the rural audiences as different from urban-middle class audiences.

It is in the decade of 1970s and 1980s that ‘rural’ cinema was re-cast in terms of what Hrishikesh Ingle refers to as the ‘mofussil’ spectacle embodied through the films of Dada Kondke (Ingle, 2015, p.). Its narrative content involved the ‘sexualised female figure of heroine who was mostly a tamasha performer, Kondke’s articulation of the double-meaning dialogues and the song-dance sequence incorporating the rural through lyrics and visualisation’ (Ingle, 2017, p. 213). This caricatured theatrics, the double-entendre lines as well as the tamasha and lavani sequences then produced the spectacle of rustic rurality through cinema. The ‘mofussil’ spectacle popularised through Kondke re-imagined the regional social spaces for exhibition from cities like Pune and Bombay to small-towns, and working class localities in the cities. Along with this the popularity of Kondke’s films wasere also credited to the touring talkies which went onto the interiors of western Maharashtra, Marathwada and Vidarbha circulatingwhich circulated the films in the villages circuits (Ingle, 2017). The aesthetics of Kondke’s films wasere derived from the working class, vernacular stage performance and the lacked of cinematic lineages; Kondke’s background of labour class and involvement in the circuits of stage performances i.e. loknatya, (urban form of rural tamasha) informed this cinema.

Through ‘mofussil’ spectacle, Marathi cinema engendered ‘region’ and ‘public’ in terms of the rural and lower caste-class, migrant workers. The formation of this Marathi cinema also marked the shift fromof the middle-classes to thosefrom the viewing Marathi films in cinema halls, which were occupied by the working classes and, migrant workers. The low-brow humour and sexual nature of the content also seemed to lead to the loss of the norms of middle-class and upper caste respectability and morality from the Marathi cinema, which was no longer deemed worthy of watching. There was a constant criticism of the Marathi cinema of this decade which was considered as bawdry and provocative catering to illiterate, slum-dwellers indicating the erosion of the Marathi middle-class public culture. At this moment the middle-class sought relief in Jabbar Patel’s Samna (1974), Jait Re Jait (1977), Singhasan (1979) and Umbartha (1982) and later Mukta (1994) which was part of the emergence of New Indian Cinema in the 1970s that found its echoes in the Marathi regional cinema, through the work of Jabbar Patel and its engagement with the question of representation, aesthetics and politics.

The release of Umbartha (1982) was witnessed by a packed Prabhat cinema hall in Pune. The middle-classes and, upper castes who avoided Marathi films at the time, seemed to have rusheding to the cinema halls where it was playing. The entire cinema hall There was also bookeding of the entire cinema hall by a local college in Pune . This gives the idea that the middle-classes were interested in the ‘realist’ cinema while detesting the ‘mofussil’ spectacle which was associated with the migrant, working, illiterate classes. This again was an attempt to shift the tendencies of Marathi cinema towards middle-class public culture. However, with the loss of government funding through NFDC, the ‘realist’ cinema movement came to an end.

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‘Popular’ Performance Live Forms. (2019, April 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 20, 2021, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/popular-performance-live-forms/
“‘Popular’ Performance Live Forms.” GradesFixer, 10 Apr. 2019, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/popular-performance-live-forms/
‘Popular’ Performance Live Forms. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/popular-performance-live-forms/> [Accessed 20 Jan. 2021].
‘Popular’ Performance Live Forms [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2019 Apr 10 [cited 2021 Jan 20]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/popular-performance-live-forms/
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