Must Watch: A Video To Revive 200-Year-Old Prahallada Nataka

Bhubaneswar: Speaking of Odisha’s folk culture, one of the oldest is
Prahallada Nataka. A 200-year-old folk theatre from Ganjam started by
the erstwhile king of Jalantara, Ramakrusna Chhotaraya, it continues
to mesmerize the audience with its grandeur.

It revolves around the popular mythological story of Vishnu’s man-lion incarnation Nrusingha, the demon king Hiranyakashaypa and his son

Prahallada. Recently, well-known Twitterati Prateek Pattanaik made a
video in his attempt to save this dying folk.

The nataka is quite grand in its construction, from its unusual,

bright and catchy costume to the strong classically-based music. All the moves are regal and dramatic while the dialogues are magnanimous.

This is a crowdfunded project by this undergraduate student. “Fearing

what exists now might also be lost into oblivion in a matter of a few
decades; I tweeted and asked the wonderful Odia Twitter community if

they would be willing to financially assist this project. Most people
were unaware of what Prahallada Nataka was in the first place. Soon,
about 30 people had agreed to help me. Within 1-2 weeks, we had a

starting fund to undertake the project”, he wrote on his website.

Prahallada Nataka is the grandest folk art of Odisha, but it is dying
a slow death. I started a crowdfunded project to create the
*first-ever complete documentation* of it in an attempt to breathe new
life into the tradition using tech. [Trailer] :

— Prateek Pattanaik (@pattaprateek) June 14, 2018

His plan was to completely record a 12-hour performance in an actual
village setting on March 1, the day of Dola Purnima, a festival when Prahallada Nataka is ritually staged.

“Much before, we came to know of another performance just two days earlier in a place not too far away from our original site and three of us agreed to start immediately that night. Hence, we got not 12 but

24 hours of multicam footage,” it read further.

He hopes that the digital preservation will help revive and breathe new life into Prahallada Nataka’s present state.

Bhubaneswar is looking forward to a live Prahallada Nataka performance

on June 17, as part of the cultural events of ‘Crafts Conversation’, an event curated by Detour Odisha, which will have various workshops related to Odisha crafts at Kala Bhoomi.

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