Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Punjab

Arts


Folk Drama & Entertainment

Naqal

This form  of entertainment is very popular in the villages of Punjab. It is enjoyable in as much as it presents subtly and sarcastically the seamy side of life. Those who specialized in this art were generally Mirasis, Naqaals and Bhands.

A Naqaal troupe comprises, besides dancers and singers, clowns and musicians. The leader of the troupe is generally called Ustad. Legends and semi-historical tales like Dulla Bhatti, Sohni Mahiwal, Kima Malki, Hodi and Koklan form the popular repertoire of the Naqaals.

 Bhands generally present themselves in farcical roles. They are quick-witted and it is well known that their mind is like a razor's edge. Their profession is passed on from generation to generation. They are experts at improvising jokes suited to an occasion. Sometimes they mimic landlords who live in luxury but deprive their employees of the barest amenities of life. A very popular tale of this type is about a rich person who employed a servant on the only condition that he would not converse except through singing and that for every slip that he made, he would be fined. Once when the master's house was on fire the servant came and danced and sang to his master as he gave him the information. In the meantime, the house was completely gutted. The master reprimanded the servant for being frivolous on such serious occasion. The servant rightly reminded him of his service contract and said that he did not want to risk his job. The master hit his own head in sheer desperation.

 Bhands and mimics entertain people on weddings, births and other festive occasion. Sometimes there is a streak of obscenity and vulgarity in their presentation.

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