IANS

Storytelling festival concludes with diverse tales from India, abroad

New Delhi, Nov 19 (IANS) Stories from Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev’s life, a dramatised musical about Mahabharata’s Pandavas and actor Pankaj Tripathi’s chilling, horror tale of a ride to Patna, formed the key highlights of an oral storytelling festival “Kathakar” here.

“Kathakar” ran from November 16-18.

Aimed at weaving a rich tapestry of imagination and culture through powerful tales rooted in ancient storytelling traditions, the three-day festival witnessed several storytelling sessions focusing on India’s rare art forms as well as native tales from Africa, the UK, Greece, Poland, Russia and Iran.

The eighth edition of the festival, which as per the organisers saw a footfall of 14,000 people, took place at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), and was organised by NGO Nivesh and the Himalayan Hub for Art Culture and Heritage.

In an initial session with Bollywood singer Mohit Chauhan, titled “Kissey, Kahani with the Mystic”, Sadhguru talked about his life as a maverick child, as an adventurous teenager pursuing biking and trekking and, finally, as a spiritual seeker, the organisers said in a statement.

A session on ‘phad’ storytelling (a 700-year-old Rajasthani art form utilising song, dance and scroll paintings), tales about the weave of the Kashmiri shawl, and a re-adapted narrative of Vikram-Betal, held the audience’s attention on the first day.

“Qissa Urdu Ki Aakhri Kitaab Ka”, a contemporary adaptation of Pakistani writer Ibn-e-Insha’s famous work was led by noted theatrist Danish Husain. The performance was a biting satire focusing on a range of topics such as politics, modern society, journalism, religion, social media, history and the education system, the statement said.

On the second evening, Polish storyteller and founder of The Storyteller Museum Michal Malinowski, narrated a lore from Poland, where “greed and gluttony were denounced through a parable of old Polish citizens and a group of mice”.

The performances were also punctuated with flavourful sessions on Indian folktales by Navin Pangti, and ‘Powada’, the heroic tales of Maratha leader Shivaji by Samrat Shri Adinath Vibhute, the organisers said.

Mohit Chauhan, also a festival patron, and film-maker Imtiaz Ali also talked about their journey of making films in Bollywood with special reference to the 2011 film “Rockstar”.

On Sunday, a song-and-dance performance by Ritu Verma, of Pandvani — the 3,000-year-old epic storytelling form popular in India’s middle belt — presented the tragic story of Draupadi’s disrobing.

The session that stole the show was “Kisse, Kahani aur Adakaari” by noted theatre and film actor Pankaj Tripathi, about his experience as a storyteller.

Attended by a large group of emerging theatre performers, the session had Tripathi narrate a particularly ghostly tale during a rainy night in Patna, when his bike ride back home was repeatedly obstructed by a few hair-raising events.

In a brief introduction to his life and work, the audience was told that as a young boy, Tripathi would carry an axe to the school in self-defence, because one of the administrators often threatened to chop his ears off if he got up to any mischief, the organisers said.

–IANS
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