Bhavai Folk Theatre

I was lucky enough to see some extraordinary folk theatre on my recent India trip. I’m busy making short films that show some of these performances at the moment. Here’s the first…

‘Baithak ni Bhavai’

Shri Nayak Baldevbhai D. and his troupe from Kalol, Gujarat perform at the Kathakar International Storytellers Festival at the IGCA in Delhi, 31st January 2015.

Bhavai is a folk theatre form popular in Western India, especially Gujarat. Performances begin with an offering to the goddess Amba and appearances by Ganesh and Kali followed by the story. The stories are full of humour and social criticism, often of the caste system. Female characters are played by men. The performances often become ritual offerings involving the audience and, in this case, end with the audience invited to join the performers in a dance.

In this story, the powerful goddess, Kali, is summoned when a maharaja mistreats a woman.