Expanding the horizons of storytelling, the 3rd edition of Udaipur Tales – a three day International storytelling festival, culminated today. Udaipur Tales was being held at Park Exotica, Opposite Shilpgram from February 21, 2020 (Friday). The thematic festival village was inaugurated by the veteran actress from the Indian cinema, Bhagyashree. As one would expect, the 3rd edition was fully packed with breath-taking performances by over 32 professional storytellers, artists and authors from across the globe. This year’s edition hosted close to 2000 children and approximately 1500 adults across all three days. Visitors were also kept entertained by an array of exhibitions and food and beverage to enjoy across the festival. Founders, Sushmita Singha and Salil Bhandari feel as the winter sets in over, Udaipur, tales, from then and now, of mystery and magic, will not just aim to revive the oral narrative tradition, but also help the audience immerse themselves in the power of stories. Across three stages (Dreamtime, Jumghat and Shu Chang), storytellers created fantastic worlds in Hindi, Urdu and English.
Day 1 started with
Dreamtime – Stage for children where Vilas Janve, prominent mime artist and director showcased his marvellous mime act. Casting a spell with her dramatic act and appearance was the famous South African storyteller, Bongiswa K Ramushwana who narrated tales from South African mystic and folk. On the other side was Vikram Sridhar, who combines his various interests and works in his storytelling journey, brought the world of Karnataka folk tales, mesmerising the children followed by folk music. Jumghat saw storytelling competition by students (18 to 30 years) followed by prize distribution which was graced by Indian cinema actress Bhagyashree.
Shu Chang, stage for adults, started with Seema Wahi Mukherjee’s performance who elaborated on her story – Queen of Love and Valour. Vikram Sridhar enacted the Talking myths. It was then time to witness real life struggle stories by the former national golf champion Gangesh Khaitan. ‘Murder mystery – Strange Death – dollar in the mine’ by the award winning journalist, Shantanu Guha Ray, in a crisp intriguing style, was a thrilling experience for all. Vidya Shah, a spectacular singer, composer, musician, social activist and a writer, performed Bai, Begum aur Jan Songs and stories from the Gramophone era, which certainly transported one and all to a different time altogether. She began her journey into the world of music at the age of 12. Since then she has been trained in both South Indian and North Indian genres of classical music.
Day 2 began with
Dream-time – Usha Venkatraman an international storyteller and classical vocalist narrating folk lore with the children. Seema Wahi Mukherjee enriched children’s knowledge with the tales of ‘The Golden Lion’. The winners from Day 1 storytelling completion narrated the winning stories.
Shu chang stage for adults started with Radhika Bagdai, a prominent and celebrated story teller. Her story telling style was characteristic and interactive. Also, Actress Bhagrashree released her book ‘Kala Ki Jagah’. Two spectacular storytellers came together to perform a Korean folk lore ‘Moon and Sun’ the story of a young boy and his sister, escaping from a lion pretending to be their mother. They climb a rope to heaven and become Moon and Sun. Sayed Sahil Agha gave a heartfelt performance through the art of Dastangoi. On the other hand, the audience witnessed the mesmerising, soulful voice of Mirande Shah in her sufi and folk vocal performance. Usha Venkataraman opened the show by her story ‘Myth’ the story was on lord Shiva in Honour of Shivaratri. ‘Literally ‘the night of Shiva’. Valentina Trivedi a dastango came together to perform ‘Bhaagya se Takkar’- a folktale from Tamil Nadu. The dastangoi and theatre artist Rajesh Kumar enacted Manto’s ‘Padhiya Kalma’ as a part of Jashn-E-Qalam. Nitin Sukhija and Piyush Mishra in conversation with Gagan Mudgal was highly liked by the audience. Sanjukta and company performed ‘Anant Pravah’ (Kathak from temple to the courts).
At Jumghat, Arun Salve opened the act with his musical performance. Bharti Dixit narrated the story ‘Love in Mandu’, a musical historical love story of Roopmati and Bazbahadur who knew no religion, caste or age boundaries. African tales were narrated by the ever charming Bongiswa Kotta Ramushwana. Jalam was performed by Shubham Ameta. Sachin Bhandari performed his monolog story-Rahogi Tum Wahi. The Show closed with a musical performance by Kardam Trivedi.
Day 3 (Last Day) began with
Shu Chang for adults began with the story ‘Gunehgaar Kaun’ a political Satire by dastango artist Valentina Trivedi, her singing was the special element in the performance. Seasoned journalist and author Shantanu Guha Ray spoke about his books -Strange Deaths and Dollars in the Mine. Shadaj a musical band which combines modern musical interpretation of classical Hindustani poetry with varying elements ranging from classical to progressive and psychedelic, performed musical storytelling. Their gig was a mix of both classical poetry and modern music, so it was equally enjoyed by the young generation as well as the elders.
Khanabadosh band put on an amazing show by their music which has a grunge rock underton, but is combined with many other genres of sound, such as ethnic, psychedelic, alternative, progressive and straightforward rock. Pramilla Dixit Nag, a renowned peace Activists and a spectacular storyteller spoke about how mic became a thing in the past. The audience was touched when Shreyasi Singh a gold medallist from Commonwealth Games, Arjuna Awardee (shooting) spoke about her struggles and the highs and lows of her life. Her’s was a motivating story. Subastu Daksh Pandey narrated his short film series ‘Maktub’- it is India’s first poetic short film, which is carved out of character’s who communicate in the form of poems (shayari) instead of routine dialogue. Khanabadosh Band closed the show, yet again with their dynamic gig.
The evening started with the enchanting voice of Gaggan Mudgal a voice which defines what velvet resonance sounds like. Kabuki Khanna and Syed Sahil Agha intoxicated the audience with the combination of opera and Dastangoi. The versatile actor, Vicky Ahuja enacted Vijaydan Detha’s story ‘Fitrati Chor’, as a part of the group Jashn-E-Qalam. Bongiswa Kotta Ramushwana shared some mystic stories of South Africa .The evening ended with a brilliant gig performed by the band Mukt who gave a contemporary spin to classical music and poetry.