Photo Essay | Behind the mask
Though popular in Orissa, West Bengal and Jharkhand, Chhau is yet to be embraced and acknowledged in the rest of the country
Performing Chhau is like writing poetry in space. As the goddess rides the lion and slays the demon, mythology, martial art and music blend into a colourful spectacle of unadulterated, rustic yet sophisticated and liberating form of entertainment. The elaborate, stylized and often vigorous movements of this dance form, originating in the eastern states of Orissa, West Bengal and Jharkhand, transport the viewer to the forests, recreating scenes of tribal warfare and tales from the animal kingdom. Identified mostly by the masks and costumes worn by the artistes, Chhau is yet to gain popularity and take its rightful place among the celebrated classical dances of India.