An Ultimate Theatre Experience!
The state J&K has its own genre of theoretical performance where no clear-cut categories of dance, drama or music are applicable. It is a sort of total theatre - an amalgam of many media. The Bhand Pather of Kashmir, Achi Lamo and Mane Pa in Ladakh and the Ras and Bhagat in Jammu region have a fine combination of all these form.
Bhand Pather is very popular with the masses of Kashmir because they have remained its sole patrons to date. Pather, in Kashmiri language means a drama, while Bhand is the performer or actor. The Bhands normally don't have any ready made or pre-decided theme. The performer shows his ingenuity by improvising according to the situation and the material available. There isn't any requirement of stage or green rooms while performing Bhand Pather.
The musical instruments used in Jashan comprise Surnai - a Kashmiri version of the Indian Shehnai, big Dhol, Nagara, and Peshrao.
This performance usually depicts some Buddhist Jatik Katha, accompanied by dance, music & drama. The performers normally come from Tibet where the performance is called "Topa Khamba". Ladakhi people have adopted this form and have been performing it in open.
Mane Pa has more emphasis on narration and dialogue than in Achi-Lamo and is enacted in Ladakh by the professional Mane-Pa families only. While entertaining and providing humor to the audience, the actor mocks and laughs at the follies of the common people.
RAS AND BHAGAT
Folk Theatre in Jammu region has religious ramifications. The popular performances are those showing scenes from Indian epics such as Mahabharta and Ramayana. The Ras or Bhagat mandalies, usually from adjoining states of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh come to perform in Jammu.