Arts and Culture
The Shadow Theatre or Shadow Puppetry or ‘Chhaya Natak’ of India is an ancient yet powerful example of folk theatre. On the basis of available evidences it has been found to be a predecessor of human theatre. For instance, Shanti Parv of the Mahabharata refers to ‘rupopajivanam’ which has been understood as a person living by performing shadow plays. This ancient form of leather puppetry in India is surviving through ages but it is sad to note that today in the age of film, television and internet it is merely alive in few regions of Odisa (Orissa), Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra. Since, these ‘Shadow Theatres’ signify our Indian culture, therefore, it becomes our duty to preserve and promote such art forms for generations to come. Against this background, the present paper aims to highlight the significance of shadow theatres in modern India with special reference to ‘Ravana Chhaya’ of Odisa.