Amardas Manikpuri



Born on 5 August 1937 in village Kolihapuri (Tappa), district Rajnandgaon, Chhattisgarh, Shri Amar Das Manikpuri started his career as an artist at the tender age of twelve years with the Nacha party of his father Shri Barsan Das Manikpuri. He used to sing, act and dance in the performances of Nacha. Beginning with Manjeera, he learnt to play the Madal Dholak and then the Tabla. For more than half-a-century, he has been a witness to the journey of folk theatre in Chhattisgarh region – from the times when he used to play the Tabla secured with a cloth around his waist during night performances in torchlight, to the modern theatre where he has played a pivotal role through his music in the historic success of the plays of Habib Tanvir.
When he was 19-year old, his association with the famous Nacha Party Ravali Saaz of Dau Mandaraji alias Dau Dular Singh Saav began (in whose name the State government of Chhattisgarh has instituted the highest State award in the field of the folk performing arts). Shri Amar Das Manikpuri has been a witness to the transition of the Khada Saaz (vertical instruments) into the Baithka Saaz (horizontal instruments). An expert in Tala Vadya (Percussion), he masterfully plays the instruments such as Mandar, Dholak, Tabla, Nissan, Khanjheri, Nagara. He joined the Naya Theatre of Habib Tanvir in 1971 and from then on became completely devoted to the Naya Theatre. He was the main percussion artist in the music of all the plays of Habib Tanvir from then onwards, including Charandas Chor, Bahadur Kalarin, Mitti ki Gadi, Agra Bazar, Mor Nav Damad Gaanv ke Naam Sasural, Dekh Rahe hain Nain, Kamdev ka Apna Basant Ritu ka Sapna, Lala Shoharat Rai, Sadak, Veni Samharam, Mudrarakshas, Son Sagar, Sootradhar, Shajapur ki Shantibai, Jin Lahore Nai Vekhya, Rajrakta, etc. Shri Manikpuri has performed in all the major cities of India and has also extensively toured Russia, England, Germany, Holland, Greece, Bangladesh, France, the then Yugoslavia, Sweden, Italy, etc.
Shri Amar Das Manikpuri was felicitated by Prithivi Theatre in the year 2003 for his contribution to Indian theatre.
Shri Amar Das Manikpuri receives the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for 2014 for his contribution to the folk theatre music of Chhattisgarh.