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Bharud is one of those important folk arts of Maharashtra, which is still alive and is going strong even in today’s times. After the tamasha, Bharud is next favourite form of folk art in the rural areas. Bharud is an important part of annual fairs, Dnyaneshwari Parayan (recital of Dnyaneshwari, Saint Dnyaneshwar’s interpretation of the Bhagwad Geeta), or the recital of Tukaram Gatha (collection of Saint Tukaram’s Abhanga).

This art form is as educative as it is enjoyable and it is a favourite among the people. It is an important medium to advocate spirituality through drama, elocution and music. Saint Eknath is known to be the originator of this form.

The arrangement of Bharud is more or less like this: The Veenekari sits in the centre of the performers. On one side is the mridang player and on the other is the harmonium player. Fifteen to twenty taalkari stand around them.

The Bharud begins with the praise of Lord Vithoba with the loud cry of

Pundalik varade hari Vittaal
Shree Dnyandev Tukaram...

Next begins the bhajan of Vithoba Rakhmai. This Bhajan continues for some time allowing the enthusiasm to slowly build and finally when the rhythm reaches a crescendo, a loud cry of Pundalik Varade… is given by the singers, accompanied by the audience.

Enthusiasm, flurry, catchy tunes, music and crisp compeering are the strong points of Bharud. Once the Bhajan ends, the Bharudkar (compeer) stands up and in his engaging style begins narrating a story to the audience. He brings to life the picture of a village in the early hours of a morning: Chirping birds, mooing cows, the front yard of every house sprinkled with water and painted with rangoli. And in this fresh, magical atmosphere, the womenfolk of the village start singing ovi:

Sundar maza jaata ga
Firta bahut
Ovya gaau kautuke tu
Ye re baa vitthala

(My hand mill
turns beautifully,
I will sing your praises
Lord Vitthal,
come to bless me)

Each Bharud is interspersed with such songs from the folk culture. Then, the Bharudkar begins describing the village. Just then enters the Vasudeo on the stage singing

daan pavla, daan pavla

(Charity attained, charity attained)

One feels that dawn has just broken when one sees him in his peacock feather cap. Singing and advocating the chants of Lord Ram, he dances away from the stage. Just then JoshiBua enters on the stage with his walking stick. He gives some advice and exits. One by one, these folk artists enter onstage, their performance leaving an indelible impression on the audience and then they exit the stage. This creates a curiosity among the audience as to who would come next. People start looking here and there to see who will enter on the stage next. Suddenly enters deity Mariai’s devotee Potraj on the stage with sharp calls, whipping his own body. Children get scared and cling to their mothers upon seeing this form of Kadaklaxmi. The audience asks questions to the Goddess who has taken the shape of the Potraj, singing

Daar ughad baye daar ughad

(Open the door, lady open the door)

Generally, these questions are of a humorous nature but also carry a message.

In this way, each folk artist comes on the stage one by one and displays his art form. The problems and dilemmas faced by the rural folk are discussed through these forms of art. The frustrations and happiness of life are expressed. Even while entertaining the people, the Bharud artists never loosen their grip on the audience. The Bharud lasts till the wee hours of the morning with a medley of compeering, music and drama. Some Bharud songs like vinchu chavala (A scorpion has bit me) and dadlyaa nako ga baai (I don’t want a husband) keep the audience in splits while laying bare the secrets of married life.

The Bharud appears to be a simple form of comic entertainment; however, the Bharud is full of songs and stories replete with different figures of speech, and teach how to attain spiritual upliftment by controlling materialistic propensities.

Bharud is a prosperous, impressive and educative art of Maharashtra. And it is satisfying to note that many Bharudkar, keertankar, researchers and scholars are doing a wonderful yet difficult job of keeping this tradition alive.

Prelude  |  Baharupi  |  Bhaarud  |  Bharadi  |  Bhutya  |  Gondhal  |  Keertan  |  Potraj  |  Shaahiri 
 Tamasha  |  Vasudeo  |  Waaghya-Murali



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