Published By: Sougata Dutta

Gambhira - A Special Dance Form Of West Bengal

Dance with body and soul and throw away all your worries with it

India is a place well known for its richness in culture and traditions. Every single state in India has some significant festival or dance form or maybe some tradition well preserved and those cultures are going on for generations through generations. West Bengal is a state, filled with different art, literature, and ethics as well. Gambhira is one of those cultures.

Gambhira dance - origin

Gambhira is a folk culture or a dance form that originated in a district of West Bengal called Malda. Its main goal was to convey the Hindu culture like devotional stories or the agricultural situation through entertainment media like dancing and singing together. It is practically a whole play, performed by a group or two or three performers based on the story. Rather than discussing and telling each and everyone about some problems or ideas, it was easier through performance.

Specification in this dance form - costume and style

Gamhira dance has a very charming and unique dressing style. If you see one you will be able to recognize it easily because of its nature. The dancers usually wear masks, specifically designed to portray the characters with more significance. They are made of wood and coloured accordingly. The carvings are detailed and planned properly. They are colourful enough to attract you significantly.

The story - behind the scene

In ancient Hindu culture, Lord Shiva was called Gambhir, which is the base of this dance form and its name. The occasion of Gajan, celebrated to worship Shiva, is the birth ground of this dance form. A version of theatre which does tell the stories of Shiva with significant songs, instruments, and appropriate costumes. In the present day also, performances are designed with different stories to form the Puran, of Lord Shiva.

The arrangement - songs and instruments

The songs are unique in every parameter like the usage of instruments, tunes, etc. Kaharba, Ektal, and Dadra were the main base underneath the songs accompanied by Flute, Judi, Dholak, and Harmonium as instrumental support. In the songs, dialogues were found to make them more realistic.

The characters - some main ones

Some main characters found in this play were 'Nana' and 'Nati' who are grandfather and grandson in the play, telling different stories in their voice accompanied by some chorus dance.

This art form is still alive and changing its shape and size according to the need.