Literary Evolution of Naatch Girl

  • Chitrani Pandey Student
Keywords: Naatch girls, dance girls, the British court, the British period


Nautch girl was an umbrella which came into existence post colonisation. Dancers who performed naach in the courts of Kings were referred to as nautch girl by the britishers. These performers were treated with uttermost respect and had establishments such as palaces, land, jewellery etc. to their name. These dancers belonged to different tribes and performed different dances as well. These included- devadasis, Randis, kunbis tec. The purpose and intent to perform these dances vastly differed as well. However, after British Invasion, all these dancers were grouped under the common umbrella term of Nautch girl. The meaning of Nautch changed too. After colonisation, the dancers were seen as sexual entities whose intent was to entice their audience. While sensuality was an important part of dances, arising, it was not the primary intent of the dance. This changed meaning led to stereotyping of an entire literary culture and led to its drastic decline. However, in today’s era, we do see the presence of these dancers in Bollywood works. The relevance of naachaniya in the present day is still prevalent. We can identify these dancers in Bollywood movies. Items songs are practically a modern day version of a naachaniya. The research aims to provide an in-depth analysis of the term ‘nautch girl’ and draws the evolutionary meaning of the same.


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Author Biography

Chitrani Pandey, Student

Chitrani Pandey is a contemporary enthusiast who loves to immerse herself in literature and art in all forms. With a Bachelors in Psychology and minor specialization as Literary and Cultural Studies, she contributes to academia through various research interests. Her contributions exceed academia as a scriptwriter to award winning short films, a poet as well as a playwright.


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4. Rajendran, C. R., et al. Scripting Dance in Contemporary India. Lexington Books, 2016.
How to Cite
Pandey, C. “Literary Evolution of Naatch Girl”. Contemporary Literary Review India, Vol. 10, no. 4, Nov. 2023, pp. 39-50,
Research Papers