POP CULTURALISTA

MEET THE STREET PERFORMERS WHO PLAY DRESS-UP FOR A LIVING.


Historically, some of these performers were known to double up as spies for medieval royal courts and others made fine smugglers. Today, Behrupiyas continue a tradition of performance art–at weddings or on the streets and many go from door to door collecting alms. Some come from families of Behrupiyas and, as tradition warrants, impersonate their characters all day, every day. Others have adopted a more commercial attitude and dress up only for an evening’s performance.

In this series of portraits, photographer Vidisha Saini explores the Behrupiyas as beholders of multiple identities and human albeit somewhat dramatised mirrors of well-known stereotypes in Indian society. Their looks are mostly inspired by popular culture, history, religion and politics.

Farmer

Farmer

Tesu

Tesu

Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin

Psychopath

Psychopath

Ardhnarishwar - Shiva

Ardhnarishwar – Shiva

Ardhnarishwar - Parvati

Ardhnarishwar – Parvati

Revolutionary

Revolutionary

Qawal

Qawal

15 year old girl

15 year old girl

Religious preacher

Religious preacher

Vegetable seller

Vegetable seller

Byline: Vidisha Saini


Motherland is a bi-monthly magazine with a focus on contemporary and emerging Indian cultures.

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