Bhamakalapam is one of the most important and famous types of the traditional folk dramas in Andhra Pradesh. It is written by Siddhendra Yogi in the 16th century, to retain the sanctity of dance from the prostitute-dancers. It is a dance drama from the South Indian dance form of Kuchipudi.
“Kalapam” is a kind of traditional dance-drama, simpler in its thematic development and affects on minds of audience by its direct moral appeal. It is normally a mono-play, characterizing one main person and another less important than him. Sometimes, this is also termed as ‘one-act play’ in folk form. While the main character narrates his or her experiences, the other one encourages by asking questions or making comments.
The Dance form
Bhamakalapam involves 3 dancers: Satyabhama, her female confidante Madhavi who shifts to a male character Madhava through the course of the drama, and Krishna. Satyabhama, one of the wives of the Hindu deity Lord Krishna, elaborates on her experience of love and separation from her divine husband.
In the context of Bhamakalapam, it implies a collection of songs in various metres depicting the varied moods of Satyabhama. Apart from Bhama, the ‘sutradhara’, the director of the performance, takes the role of the second character, Madhavi, who is Bhama’s maid.