Hajari Bhand Of Rajasthan: Jester Without Court
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by John and Ulrike Emigh
color, 40 min, 1985
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Hajari Bhand of Chittorgarh, Rajasthan is renowned in the nearby courts, villages and towns of Mewar for his skill as a bahurupiya - a wandering mimic performing mostly comic routines. This videotape highlights Hajari Bhand's mastery of twenty different disguises and his performances of various routines in village settings, interspersed with interview material.
Wandering mimics such as Hajari Bhand perform their routines in the streets, courtyards, and market places of North India - particularly of Rajasthan. Their guises, mimicry and humor are all fashioned from a close study of the dress and behavior patterns of professional castes, character types, and figures from mythology. These mimics offer a comic census of known types - a vast assortment of gods and goddesses, tradesmen and rogues, noblemen and holy men, professionals and tribals, beggars and fools.
Bhands perform several functions for their society. Acting as wild cards in an otherwise carefully labeled deck, they entertain, they interpret behavior, and they diffuse tensions in conflict situations. The skill and humor of the Bhand's profession is evident in Hajari Bhand's performances and commentary.