|The emergence of folk theatre|
The period between 10th and 15th centuries saw a decline of the traditional Indian form of theatre.
Puppet theater from Rajasthan
When theatre once again emerged, it was in a spectacular array of village forms, each with its unique manner of presentation and, more importantly, in its own language. This village theatre, unlike Sanskrit drama, rarely traveled beyond the communities within which it was created, and comprised both amateurs and professionals.
Religion played an important role in its revival. Like the emergence of Vaishnavism, a religious movement which centers on devotion (bhakti) of man for God as Krishna, an incarnation of Vishnu. Unlike orthodox Hindus, followers of Vaishnavism believed that man could approach God directly, rather than with the aid of a sacred interpreter. The simple act of repeating God's names was considered an act of faith. Thus, theatre became the perfect vehicle for communicating that faith through depicting the acts of god, both for those performing it as well as those witnessing it. The Ramlila and Raslila, performed in various north Indian states, are excellent examples of this kind of theatre. While most rural theatre forms were closely interlinked with religion, secular theatre, purely for entertainment value, also existed. Nautanki, performed in several states of north India and the Tamasha in Maharashtra are two examples.
While most of these theatrical styles have their own unique form dependent on their local customs -- they differ from one another in execution, staging, costume, make-up, and acting style -- there are some broad similarities. The south Indian forms emphasize dance -- forms like Kathakali and Krishnattam of Kerala actually qualify as dance dramas; the north Indian forms emphasise song, among them being the Khyal of Rajasthan, the Maach from Madhya Pradesh, the Nautanki of Uttar Pradesh and the Svanga of Punjab. The Jatra of Bengal, Tamasha of Maharashtra and the Bhavai of Gujrat stress dialogue in their execution, the latter two emphasising comedy and satire. Puppet theatre also flourished at the time. Shadow, (Gombeyatta of Karnataka, Ravana Chhaya of Orissa), Glove (Gopalila of Orissa, Pavai Koothu of Tamil Nadu), Doll (Bommalattam of Tamil Nadu and the Mysore State and Putul Nautch of Bengal) and string puppets (Kathputli of Rajasthan and Sakhi Kundhei of Orissa) were some of the popular forms.
Dramatic art can also be found in some of the solo forms of Indian classical dance, like Bharat Natyam, Kathak, Odissi and Mohiniyattam, and folk dances like the Gambhira and Purulia Chhau of Bengal, Seraikella Chhau of Bihar and Mayurbhanj Chhau of Orissa. Dramatic content is even woven into the ritual ceremonies in some areas, particularly those of Kerala, with its Mudiyettu and Teyyam.