In the first week of December, on 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th December, at the NCPA, we present the first Dastangoi festival of the modern era.
Over the last one year we have trained several people in Bombay and Delhi in the fledgling art of Dastangoi. 'Trained,' is a slightly misleading term for an art form which is still discovering its aesthetics, techniques and contours so let us say we have guided and initiated several new people from Bombay and Delhi into reciting Dastans. They include businessman, young professionals, theatre actors, teachers and researchers. The heartening thing is that several of them are non-actors and some have no prior acting experience. Acting and Dastangoi, it seems from this preliminary foray, are different things although the skills required for both have some commonality. Many of them have performed over half a dozen shows, sometimes independently, in cities across India.
So we present, with some excitement and greater nervousness, the performances of the following. Each will present a different Dastan and thus over four days we shall present twelve to thirteen different stories, mainly from the Tilism-e Hoshruba, but also other works that we have developed in this ongoing exploration.
Sunil Singh Dahima
And of course the by now tiresome duo of
Danish Husain and Mahmood Farooqui
Approaching its sixth year now, the two baby steps that the modern journey of Dastangoi has taken requires hundreds of tellers in cities across Hindustan for it to become a proper revival. The first and necessary step was to remove its identification with what 'Mahmood Farooqui' or what 'Mahmood Farooqui and Danish Husain' do and we have achieved something of that in the 20 odd shows performed by the newer entrants to the fold. The enthusiastic reception to their telling is heartwarming. As is the fact that increasingly now people assume that there are several people performing Dastans and that we, and people associated with us, are just one of them. Kudos.
It is much better to be a well known exponent of an art form rather than being the only exponent of an art form because, nasha barhta hai sharabein jo sharabon men milen
Collect your passes from NCPA and come to listen to the following wonderful stories, the likes of which have never been composed or recited, before or since...Zamana bare shauq se sun raha tha, hamin so gaye Dastan kahte
Azar and the magic picture
Mehtab and the talking birds
Amar, the false God Laqa and Afrasiyab
Musavvir the portrait artist and Bahar Jadu
Azlam, the dragon dwelling army and Barq Ayyaar
Amar and Amir Hamza in the madarsa and the travails of their Mulla
Barq, Shadeed and Qahar versus Bahar Jadu
Amar versus Heyrat and Aasman Shola Khar Jadu
The Partition Dastan
The 460000 pages of the Dastan-e Amir Hamza await other tellers and other listeners
I deeply thank the India Foundation for the Arts, Bangalore, (www.indiaifa.org) for supporting the festival and the other activities that we have lately undertaken to promote Dastangoi.
Entry open to all, first come first served. NCPA, Nariman Point, Bombay.