Private Project

An Introduction to Gavari

This short film presents a centuries’ old yet largely unknown Bhil tribal tradition called "Gavari" in the Mewar region of southern Rajasthan.

One of the world’s largest longest spiritual rituals, Gavari is an ecstatic 40-day itinerant festival undertaken by scores of different Bhil villages each year to worship their supreme Nature goddess, demonstrate Her powers, and celebrate their indigenous heritage.

Gavari ceremonies begin with divine invocations to induce trance states that inform their subsequent dance drama performances. Their repertoire includes mythic, historical and satirical plays enacted with enthralling élan and ingenuity that also entrance many spectators.

Though their themes vary, most plays feature a Goddess avatar who spiritually empowers or physically assists the players in their battles with invaders, demonic forces or corrupt authorities. Their messages stress reverence for Nature, sacred feminine power and radical human equality.

In an era of mass media, AI, virtual reality and other urban distractions from our ancestral ecology, Mewar’s Gavari offers a rare chance to witness epiphany in action, spontaneous virtuosity and the socio-cultural wisdom of tribal values.

  • Lokesh Paliwal
  • Lokesh Paliwal
  • W. David Kubiak
  • Chandrakala
  • Kathy Arlyn Sokol
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Runtime:
    19 minutes 46 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 9, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    9,000 USD
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Director Biography - Lokesh Paliwal

Lokesh Paliwal is an Indian dramatist, director and actor primarily known in the cinematic arena for his sensitive documentary work on indigenous, untouchability and environmental issues. .

His theatrical accomplishments include his nationally recognized dramatic script "Shahi Funeral" (2014) and his unique staging of the tribal Gavari drama "Bhiyawad"(2018) with an electrifying trance-possessed indigenous village cast.

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Director Statement

“Gavari fuses ancient myths, lore & trance states with timeless social concerns & improvisational artistry to create astonishing dramas, romances and comedies that must be seen to be believed!”