Maach is not only a Khyal theatre form but also is the form that gave rise to other folk theater forms known as Nautanki in Uttar Pradesh and the Swang in Haryana. Golpalji Guru who has directed many Maach plays has introduced this Indian folk theatre form. It is also believed that the Turra Kalagi troupe in the 19th century had evolved this dance by incorporating new stories along with singing and dance.
The Hindi word Manch which means the stage is the root word of Maach. The song is a semi-sacred one that has many religious, as well as secular themes, which are usually historical and legendary stories. The legends contain the tales of warriors and rulers. The stories are also borrowed from Puranas and Hindu epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana. The tales of Prahalad, Nala and Damayanti, and Malwan heroes are enacted in these plays. The cultural heritage is showcased by these performances. Even dacoity and literacy are also focussed on in this performance.
The Hindustani classical ragas and tunes which elaborate the season or the occasion are featured. The sarangi, harmonium, and dhol are used to produce the music.
The religious manifestations in the 19th century have shaped the tradition. Maach was previously associated only with the festival of colors, but nowadays it is the main dance performed on many occasions. The songs and dances are unfolded. The curtains are put up so that the background is set and dancers usually double up a singer. This is mainly a song drama and occasionally speech is used.
The dance is displayed on a raised platform known as the manch and is performed only by men. The men also perform the role of the female characters. Songs are the most crucial elements of the Maach dance. The bhishti rag is first rendered at the start. There is a tinge of humor and rhyme and dialogues and tune. The play begins after sunset and prolongs in the early dawn the climax is a colorful dance in the midst of misty clouds of colorful powder.