Saturday, March 20, 2010


AAlkap Pala Gaan is an wondering ancient folk-Theatre of eastern India, originating in and around Murshidabad district of West Bengal. It was then spreading to the adjoining districts of Malda and even Dumka and Purnia in the adjacent State of Bihar.
AAlkaap is an amalgamation of music, dance and theatrical presentation. Opinions vary regarding its nomenclature as well. According to some, AAlkaap (Aal-faal) was the name given to a group of rural performers, usually from the low socio-economic strata, who were like wandering minstrels. Some says it is the Kaap or Kappoye the leader who use the Aal the pin to through bitter social truth to the mass.
The performances were usually serio-comic in nature, urging people to discard foreign goods and use homogenised swadeshi goods. Again, some believe Kaap means ‘kavya’ (verse) and Aal is part of the verse. Others believe it to be a gross form of entertainment comprising verses that provide cheap thrills and are enacted with seductive gestures.
Usually 10 to12 people are involved in the presentation of a pala. The central character of an AAlkaap is a youth (known as Chhokra), who enacts the role of a woman, other than him, there’s one ‘Kepe(Kappoye)’, a ‘Chhoradaar’ (poet), an ‘Ostaad’ (director), a harmonium player, a percussion player (Dugi-baadak) and ‘Dohaari.’ Bangla novelist Sayed Mustafa Siraj wrote a path breaking novel Mayamridanga(MagicMridanga) to depict the life and livelihood of chokras. Still now Chorkars are one of the main attractions of the AAlkap as well as dramatic dialogue of the characters derived from various local events, where the groups use to perform.
AAlkaap is presented in five parts: Asar Vandana, Chhora, Kaap, Baithaki Gaan and Khemta Pala. AAlkaap is a reflection of rural society and gives an authentic picture of the socio-economic condition of the people.
Master of this trade is Karunakanta Hazra and group of Murshidabad.
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