Raslila is a famous art form of the Braj region of Uttar Pradesh. The Braj region comprises areas in and around Mathura. It includes towns that are in someway or other attached to Lord Krishna and his times. Raslila, or Rasleela as it is written at times, is a dance form that is attached with the love of Lord Krishna with milkmaids of his village and his consort Radha.
The dance form was originated during the amorous encounters of
milkmaids with Lord Krishna. Legend goes that when all the milkmaids
started demanding Krishna to be their dance partner, Krishna cast a
spell so that each of those milkmaid thought Krishna was dancing with
them. This marked the birth of Raslila.
Raslila is generally performed by mobile troupes that roam around
village to village. This dance is performed primarily on Rasia, a song
form that is entirely based on the theme of Krishna-Radha love. Raslila
is a folk tradition that has incorporated elements of Indian classical
music, drama and dance. This presentation goes beyond professionalism.
Though the dramas have basic scripts there is ample room for
improvisation and extemporization, only to return to its formal
delineation after the inspiration of the creative force is consumed.
The emphasis is on 'seeing through sound' (darshan). The visual sense
is to enhance, but the ultimate ingredient is the 'bhava', a particular
mood or sentiment conveyed by the music and songs, which along with the
action of the drama enable the actors and the audience to personally
taste the different dramatic flavors, such as friendship, servitor ship,
parental love, conjugal love, amazement, humor, chivalry, compassion,
fury, fear and dread.