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Gulab Bai The Queen of Nautanki Theatre

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Gulab Bai The Queen of Nautanki Theatre
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Item Code: IDI620
Author: Deepti Priya Mehrotra
Publisher: Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd.
Edition: 2006
ISBN: 0143100432
Pages: 326 (Black & White Illus: 13)
Cover: Paperback
Other Details: 7.1"X 4.9
Back of the Book

Fusing dance and dialogue, music and romance, humour and melodrama, this travelling folk theatre was precursor to Bollywood. In cities and villages, people watched all night, drawn into a world of fantasy and make-believe.

Gulab, a twelve-year-old girl from the Bedia caste, joined Nautanki in 1931. Reputed to be the first female actor in Nautanki, she rose to dizzy heights as the heroine of countless dramas and later started the Great Gulab Theatre Company. Gulab Bai was awarded the Padmashree, a mark of national honour-yet she died sad and disillusioned, for the form to which she had devoted her life was languishing.

To tell Gulab Bai's story-and reconstruct the social history of a genre-Deepti Priya Mehrotra travelled to Gulab's village and Kanpur's Rail Bazaar, met family members and co-artistes, gathered oral narratives, traced drama scripts and song recordings. The tale that emerges is a wonderfully intimate portryal of a dying art and its uncrowned queen.

Contents
Acknowledgements vii
PART I: SETTING THE STAGE
1The Legend 3
2Through Others' Eyes15
PART II: GULAB'S STORY
3Nomadic Past35
4Gulab is Born51
5Music In The Air57
6village Deity63
7Going To The Fair68
8In a Male Bastion77
9The World Of Travelling Theatre88
10Kings, Queens And Bandits97
11A Nationalistic Streak105
12Rising Prosperity113
13One Man's Obsession124
14Back On Stage134
15fine-Tuning144
16A Rare Balance158
17The Great Gulab Theatre Company173
18Switching Roes: Queen No More181
19The Show Must Go On 190
20Coexisting With Cinema198
21Life Cycle Of A Butterfly208
22A Cultural Icon220
23Into Other Worlds233
PART III: NAUTANKI TODAY
24Unemployed Heroes And Musicians243
25Side-Heroins And Bar-Girls264
26Dhrupad To Disco288
List Of Interviews 304
Notes306
References311
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