Tamasha is a dying folk art performed by traveling musicians and dancers in rural Maharashtra nearly 400 years old. Before cinema arrived in India in 1896, folk forms like tamasha was the only medium of entertainment in rural Maharashtra. Tamasha uses music, poetry, and dance, and is famous for its erotic content. Traditionally, women dancers perform it, and are accompanied by male singers, and musicians.
Mumbai-based theatre activist and Bharat Natyam (a classical Indian dance) teacher Anil Vasudevan decided to experiment with Tamasha and came up with the idea of performing tamasha using an all-male cast. Four years ago, he put together a cast of 18 young men and launched Lavanyaranga (The colours of beauty) on commercial theatre circuit to great success. The unique selling point of this tamasha is that young men dress up immaculately like women in nine-year sarees, and perform the graceful female dances flawlessly. A vocalist sings these songs in a female voice. The 11 performers who perform different songs on stage come from a diverse religious background. Vasudevan’s troupe has already performed 250 shows. It is his dream to take the show global, and complete 1000.