27 May 2011

Modern Marathi theatre is based on Yakshagana ?

Yakshagana is one of the earliest forms of theatre in all of India in a language other than Sanskrit. We influence each other there is no point in squabbling.

--Encyclopedia of World Drama

Karki Yakshagana group which toured Maharashtra in the mid-19th century has the credit of inspiring Marathi theatre. In 1842, Karki Mela (group) performed before the Rajasaheb of Sangli (Maharashtra State), who encouraged court artists to learn from the group acting and singing. This laid basis for Marathi Professional theatre.

The first play in Marathi "Sita Swayamvar" was staged first in Sangli 1843 by Vishnudas Bhave.

--Encyclopaedia of Marathi Literature

Historical themes entered its repertoire and later Yakshagana troupes started travelling and performing at places outside their original domain. One such mela (troupe) journeyed as far north as Pune and, incidentally, formed an impetus for the beginning of modern Marathi theatre.
--Sangeetha Nataka Academy Website

--Eencyclopaedia of Indian Literature

"Influenced by Yakshagana, the traditional dance drama of rural Karnataka, the Marathi drama achieved a clear regional form by the middle of the 19th century. "

I am not making any claims (Yakshagana being old is an obvious one)! I am merely reproducing some of the references. This should not leave doubt in any ones minds.


  1. Anonymous9:07 am

    nice post. Shree Balipa narayana bhagavatha once told that yakshagana has derived some of its characteristics from the some marathi song&dance performed in temples in the past - Murali

  2. @Anonymous Yes, Yakshagana might have borrowed things from other prevalent arts during its growth as it is incorporating melodies from classical music. Prabhakara Joshi mentioned in the interview that the Yakshagana costume resembles Pandarapura Krishna's dress. After listening to 1938 Yakshagana recording I am of the opinion that what we call Yakshagana has changed been different at different times although some of its central ideas remained somewhat closer to what it was. Definitely there was more folk influence than anything else earlier,which is very good.

  3. This is amazing I really wanna take yakshagana 2 a next level


Please leave a note about what you think about this write up. Thanks.