Siddheshwar Sen’s RAJA HARISHCHANDRA (MAACH) Director: Babulal Deora


Playwright: Siddheshwar Sen

Director: Babulal Deora

Group: Individual, Ujjain

Language: Malwi

Duration: 1 hr 30 mins

The Form

Maach is a folk theatre form of the Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh. This form was initiated around 200-250 years ago by Guru Gopal Ji of Bhagsipura of Ujjain. Even today three major akhadas of this theatre form viz. Daulatganj Akhada of Ustad Kaluram Sharma, Jaisinghpura Akhada of Balmukund Ji, and Mali Pura Akhada of Ustad Radhakishan Ji are prevelant. Maach has more than 150 scripts/ manuscripts and 125 melodies sung on 5/7 different rhythms. The main musical instruments of Maach are Harmonium, Dhol and Sarangi. Maach is a musical theatre that begins 10 at night and runs till 8 in the morning. Traditionally Maach is performed by men only, but Ustad Kalu Ram Ji’s Gharana has always had female artists as well.

The Play

Raja Harishchandra denounced his kingdom and mortgaged his own, his wife’s and his sons’s life to repay his guru’s debt, and to preserve the Truth. Written by Siddheshwar Sen and directed by Maach guru Babulal Deora, this presentation Raja Harishchandra has been staged by the group in many festivals held in different cities like Jamshedpur Tatanagar, Jharkhand; All India Craft Festival, Shilpramam, Hyderabad (Telengana) and at Ankur Rangmanch & Pratibha Lok Kala.

The Director

Born on 11 October 1963 in village Nayakhe of Ujjain District, Babu Lal Deora, at the age of 15, participated in the stories of Lokarg and Tejaji Maharaj and decided to step into the field of Maach. He was inspired and trained in Maach of Malwa by Guru Shri Siddheshwar Ji Sen and elder brother Ratan Maharaj Lokesh Sen. His first performance was as a singer in the chorus. After the death of his guru he continued the tradition. Later he went to Chittor for a workshop with Hafiz Khan, where he was introduced to some more melodies of Maach associated with Turra Kalangi folk theatre. Since then he has constantly been staging and promoting this folk art.

Cast & Credits

Raja Harishchandra: Babulal Deora

Guri Vishwamitra: Sudhir Sankhla

Kalua: Mangilal Bhati

Pradhan Ji: Babu Bhati

Rani Tara: Visnu Chandel

Pharaasan: Sonu, Tikaram Bhaati, Teju Solanki

Harmonium: Mangilal Vaishnav

Dholak: Pappu Chauhan

Tek: Lakhan Deora, Madanlal Deora, Vinod Paanchal

Chela: Ravi Akodia, Kuldip Panwar

Playwright: Siddheshwar Sen

Director: Babulal Deora

Manohar Khushalani

Manohar Khushalani

Prof. Manohar Khushalani is a former Visiting Faculty at Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi. The courses he taught were: Animation & Graphics, Non-Linear Editing for Film and Radio and Theatre Appreciation.  He has won a total of nine Excellence in Teaching awards for all the courses he has taught at IIITD Earlier he retired from Government of India as Director Environment Management, Central Water Commission and held many senior positions in the Government Based on a Belief that Culture and Environment are the two keys to global sustainability , Manohar Khushalani has launched two portals: A Portal on Environment and Water called One Vorld at url: and two Ezines on Culture called Stage Buzz at url: He has taught extensively in varied subjects such as Dam Safety, Instrumentation, CAD, IT, Animation, Theatre, Newspaper Editing. He has conducted Courses on Environment Management, Water Shed Development, Team Building and Personality Development. He was an Expert Member of Prasar Bharti’s Committee for Grading & Short listing Films for Telecast on all channels of Doordarshan.  He is a Radio Anchor for All India Radio and has moderated several programs for the Rajdhani Channel He is a well-known Theatre Actor/Director and Critic, has been involved in theatre since 1977. He has worked as an actor in over 50 plays with almost every leading director/Actor in the Country including Badal Sircar, Feisal Alkazi, Amal Allana, M.K. Raina, Anuradha Kapoor, Maya Rao, Manohar Singh, Prasanna, Rati Bartholomew and Sushmita Mukherji. He has been active in the social sector as a street theatre activist. As a member of Workshop Theatre, Theatre Union and Prayog, Khushalani has participated in street plays taking up major social issues such as dowry, bride burning, Sati, banned medicinal drugs and communalism. Dario Fo’s Accidental Death of an Anarchist and Can’t Pay Won’t Pay, both directed by him, received rave notices from critics and audiences alike. Other plays directed by him include Badal Sircar’s, Sagina Mahato and Boris Vian’s Empire Builders for Ruchika Theatre Group. Khushalani has also acted in a few films such as Sudhir Mishra's Hazaron Khwaishen Aisi , Shoojit Sircar’s Madras Café and Pradeep Krishan's Annie Gives Those Ones. He is an Animator & Graphics Designer and has directed a number of documentaries. He also held a number of Honorary positions and was President of North India Films Association, He was the Chairman of  Jury for UGC CEC Educational Films Competition and has been on their Preview Committee since last many years. He was on the preview committee of Door Darshan Channel 3, was a visiting Professor at National School of Drama, New Delhi, and Film & Television Institute of India, Pune, AJKMCRR, Jamia Milia Islamia and Professor in Media at FICT, Delhi  He has judged a large number of Drama Competitions and conducted a number of Theatre / Management Games Workshops with Institutions such as AIIMS, NTPC, CWPRS, NWA, Karve Nari Prakshishan Sansthan, FICT, IIT, MAMC, Gargi College, KNC, Tagore International School and Vivekananda School. He is a Theatre Critic for IIC Diary, has also been a Columnist with Midday and Pioneer Daily and wrote Column's Called Culture Cocktail and Footlights Respectively. He was also the Guest Editor for an issue on Folk Theatre of ICCR Journal Horizons. He has written for Times of Indian, Hindustan Times, Blitz, Hard News, Hindu Business Line, Theatre India & Art Times. He has designed dams and hydraulic structures for the Government. He is a programmer and has developed Engineering design software in Fortran. He is a co-author of Irrigation Practice & Design (Vol 1 to5 - 1500 pages) published by Oxford & IBH and sponsored by National Book Trust. He has been a Director, Environment and Sociology, at the National Water Academy, Khadakwasla and Director, Environment Management Directorate, Central Water Commission and Member Secretary, National Environmental Monitoring Committee for River Valley Projects. He was also Director of Instrumentation Directorate in the Dam Safety Organisation. He was Chief General Manager and Head of Water Resources at Scott Wilson and is an accredited consultant with numerous other organizations He is a Delhi Public School, BITS Pilani, IIT Delhi and FTI Pune Alumini. He was also the President of BITS Pilani Alumni Association, Pune.

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