Tamasha (Maharashtra Folk Dance)

“In Maharashtra, there are two types of Tamasha, first is Dholaki Fadcha Tamasha and the other is Sangeet Baaricha Tamasha. Search on Youtube and you could see examples of how it is performed. Dholaki Fadcha tamasha is a complete art, which includes song, dance, and theater. Now in Maharashtra there are only 18 to 20 full time Tamasha parties. Each Tamasha Manadal performs approximately 210 days in all over Maharashtra and also some border villages of Karnataka and Gujarat. It is original Marathi folk art, but the name Tamasha has some ancient origin from Persian language which means “Fun and Play.”

The informant is the mother of one of my friends, who came to visit her son from her hometown of Dubai, India. She seemed very interested in talking about the lore of her culture, and told me about this type of folk dance the Maharashtra people perform, called Tamasha. She was able to perform it in front of me; however, she did not want me to record it on video. It appears to be a type of free-style dance, in which involves the hips, hands, and feet. She indicated that there are numerous versions of the dance online and was able to provide a description and background about the dance. She found this piece to be interesting to talk about, because it is a traditional form of folk art as part of the Marathi culture, where she is originally from.

It is often performed for entertainment, coupled with singing, and widely performed by local groups within Maharashtra, India. It can also be found in Marathi films. She learned it in grade school from hearing stories and observing stage performances. Later, she saw it in Marathi movies where it played a significant role in forming the plot. It was further integrated in Hindi movies. The informant always found Tamasha to be very interesting to her, because it is influenced by many Indian art forms and draws from diverse traditions of India, such as Kavali culture (location in East India), ghazals (poems), Kathak dance, Dashvatara (10 principle Avatars, an Indian philosophy), Lalit (Indian classical music) and Kirtan (a form of Indian chant).

After looking at both forms of Marathi dance on the internet, the style of dance clearly exhibits the Tamasha art form, which is expected to be some kind of spectacle, show, and commotion that exudes excitement. Because this type of dance seems to be unique to the Marathi culture, it is probably used as a form of identification. According to the informant, everyone in Maharashtra knows about Tamasha and Marathi dance. Therefore, it can serve not only as a source of entertainment but can be indicative of the Marathi people.