National School of Drama in its recent play Saiyan Bhaye Kotwal featured Tamasha, a representative theater form of the people of Maharashtra.
Tamasha is a happy, artistic blend of dance and music, marked by robustness and vigour of the spoken, word. Lavani sangeet and <g data-gr-id="30">nritya</g> are the core of its artistic expression.
It has three clearly marked movements called Ganga, <g data-gr-id="37">Gwalain</g> Swang and <g data-gr-id="38">Vaga</g> around which the action is centred.
The theme of the Tamasha which the group choose to present revolves around a Hawaldar, who, though honest and efficient in the discharge of his duties, consistently fails to secure promotion.
After being baulked in his efforts to succeed through honest means, he learns his lesson the hard way. Taking recourse to a more practical, albeit questionable stratagem, he turns the tables on the corrupt Kotwal and the stupid King.
The play, like all <g data-gr-id="39">Tamashas</g>, has a certain immediacy which is universally appealing. Though not fully developed, the chief figure of the Hawaldar is truly representative of common man in contemporary society and voices his frustrated aspirations and helplessness, in an unjust and inequitable social order.
The show was the imitation of the regular form of Tamasha, in which the first mention is of Lord Ganesha. This is invariably followed by the episode depicting Lord Krishna sporting with the <g data-gr-id="31">gwalans</g> or milkmaids.
Allusions to contemporary events and personalities figure prominently in the dialogues between Lord Krishna and the milkmaids.
This scene is marked by exchanges of wit and repartee, rich music and colourful dancing. The third movement unfolds the theme, which though built on traditional stories of kings and queens, reaches out to include a wide spectrum of contemporary social political and administrative problems, and provides, through the dialogue, an intelligent and often caustic commentary on subjects close to the everyday life of the audience, thereby securing close audience participation in the action.
The content of the songs have contemporary references and very often border on the risqué. They are naughty without being vulgar.
Excellent teamwork, histrionic versatility, ready wit and the ability to improvise – all help in the total artistic achievement.