Kings, Lovers and Thieves


Reserve Kings, Lovers and Thieves

Producer: Bob Madey
Year Released: 1997
Format: VHS
Copies Available: 1
Length: 35 minutes
Color Format: Color


This fascinating documentary provides a rare, behind-the-scenes look at India's improvisational and often bawdy form of folk opera, Nautanki, as well as its rural cousin, Khyal. These forms of traveling roadside folk theater are particularly significant in that they have survived and remain popular despite India's increasingly strong attachment to the cinema and to television. Their continued popularity is shown to be a manifestation of current social, political, and cultural influences, as performers take traditional mythological themes and update them to appeal to contemporary audiences. The film interweaves scenes of performances, interviews with noted performers and with spectators, and images of the Indian landscape to document these traditional Indian performing arts. It also explores how cultural tensions, inherent to a society imagined as traditional yet challenged by the contradictions of modernity, raise questions about the definition and longevity of cultural artifacts such as Nautanki and Khyal. ID:SA98