Storytellers unite at Udaipur Tales
Dastango Syed Sahil Agha
By Natascha Shah
As I listened to Dastango (storyteller) Syed Sahil Agha tell a story about an Aiyyar(trickster) fall in love with a married woman, at the recently concluded story-telling festival; Udaipur Tales,I was reminded about my childhood. My mother, would, each night tell a story from The Arabian Nights. It truly used to be my favourite time of the day and this performance had brought back that magic. This is the beauty of dying arts like storytelling, they transport you to another time and place!
The festival that took place in Udaipur from 30th November to 2nd December brought together professional storytellers, artists, authors, theater artists and actors, performers from India and abroad. While watching the spectacularly diverse acts, I wondered; why donāt we tell stories anymore? Why donāt we have the time to listen to stories? Isnāt it the most beautiful way to carry on knowledge and history? To connect?
It is amazing what Udaipur Tales, now in its second year is doing;for, it is crucial to save such arts and bring them forth to this generation. A generation that is ignorant of its charm. "It is an important step towards conservation of heritage, specially in-tangible heritage that can be passed on orally. What better than storytelling which is the oldest form of historical evidence?ā says Sushmita Shekhar, director of Udaipur Tales, and president of NGO called MAāMy Anchor Foundation
Sushmita Shekhar, director of Udaipur Tales
The three days saw some power packed performances in Hindi, English and Urdu, stories told through animated narrations, opera singing, gazhals, dance and more.
Smita Tambe's riveting performance on 'Jogwa' -The dream of a little girl to become a dancer but finally ending up as a Devdasi enthralled and moved the audiences. Smita managed to strike a chord even with the kids, for whom the subject might have been a little heavy but her improvisations helped. Jeeva Raghunath fascinated with an engaging narrative of a little girl called Truth who follows a storyteller for an entire day, disappointed by facing rejection from almost everyone she approaches. The Storyteller promises to take her everywhere she goes. This Tamil Folklore was enjoyable and managed to give a cute little message as well.
There was a separate stage for children, mostly full of enthusiastic school kids. Evenings, saw people enjoy a spread of delicious food and some drinks at the bar before and between the performances. The festival was supported by JK Tyres, Rajasthan Tourism Board, Radico Khaitan, 94.3 MYFM, News18 Rajasthan, Kajria, Jaipuria, Takshila, Sulabh International, Zodiac, Inox as the multimedia partner, Padharo as the experience and event ticket partner and Park Exotica as the Hospi-tality Partner.
Children enjoying the festival