Mumbai Local - what a beautiful concept initiated by Junoon. Mumbai Local, co-founded by Sameera Iyengar and Sanjana Kapoor, is a platform to make theatre and the arts accessible. Three monthly events are organized: Bandra every 1st Saturday at Mcubed Library; Fort every 3rd Friday at Kitab Khana; and Byculla every 2nd Sunday at Bhau Daji Lad Museum.
In the late 1990s, during my college days at Nirmala Niketan Home Science and TISS, we were regulars @Prithvi Theatre and NCPA... one of the few hangout spaces in the city (suburban areas continue to lack such space) to enjoy theatre. In 2015, when I took sabbatical and came home, I was surprised to see the cultural transformation happening in Mumbai, albeit slowly. I couldn't give time to explore these spaces because I was filming in the forested and tribal districts all over India. It is only since February 2018, I began to catch up Mumbai's changing cultural space during the weekends. A good escape after full time five days of editing a week of Landing Together films. How I picked up today's event? Thanks to Devashish's trick to use a provocative title to fuel an anthropologist/ environmentalist like me.
Voicing the Voiceless: Fighting to Express by Devashish Makhija, filmmaker, graphic artist and poet.
Like usual, not being a Bollywood film buff having watched only two Bollywood mainstream dramas in the last four years: Newton and Bioscopewala, I didn't knew much about Debashish Makhija. My film editor, who'd seen Devashish's film 'Ajji', was totally impressed and suggested that I've to watch his films before I go to this event. Of course I couldn't watch any films beforehand. Though I dislike the idea to do google search about people, but what do you do when you've to travel 75 min in Mumbai Local from Ambernath to CSMT. One of the first few searches was one of his film Oonga and its Wikipedia page reads "Little adivasi Oonga misses his village school trip to see the Ramayana. ..... [He] is stunned to see that Rama is everything that the adivasi are - gentle, brave, a forest dweller and protector of mother-earth Sita." Reading the plot made me wonder what to expect from this event.
Devashish nicely opened up the session introducing his work of being a writer and filmmaker. A typical Bollywood success story - struggle in the early years and passion for story telling about the marginalised communities using the 'Anthropocentric' approach in the so-called 'mainstream' Bollywood films. Uh-huh - a modern day filmmaker.... yes, he actually used that word Anthropocene and it kind of fits the argument after you've watched his films! A term used by environmentalists (thanks to a Dutch Noble Prize winning chemist, Crutzen, P.) Anthropocene is a way to analyse the current age wherein humans are seen as a core factor influencing earth's climate and environment. Like (most) social scientists, he tried to disassociate by acknowledging his intended yet unintended choice for the title of the event, including keywords 'marginal' people and 'mainstream films'.
Short Films: Doing the Business as Unusual
Devashish shared his journey of how he tumbled upon writing a children's story book 'When Ali became Bajarangbali'. We also got to watch his three short films 'Rahim murge pe mat ro', 'Agli Baar', and 'Tandav' plus trailer of one of his recent feature length films 'Ajji'. I was now finding even harder to digest why his film Oonga got shelved, and why would he treat Oonga's plot in a way which happens to be so unlike him. These three short films are brilliantly done despite the fact it was also small budget films. I think it is easy to make a feature length, but to venture into short films you got to have guts to kill your audience in that 10 mins. In brief, these short films also establish Devashish's unique approach towards difficult socio-political subjects (slum displacements, threats to minorities, violence, and government and its governance) with minimum dialogues and loads of camera action - which is worth appreciating. I'm impressed.
The only time when we saw Devashish losing his otherwise cool and composed style in this event was with this one question during Q&A. The question: how being a man he could give justice to depict the women's issue -- read: rape and revenge -- in the film Ajji. Gender inclusion is not just about women, but we rarely talk about how it affects men to defend their stand. Here I wished Devashish could've used this opportunity to open up the floor to allow Ajii's lead actor, Sushama Deshpande, who was in the audience to share her experience of working with him.
I did get a chance to ask him during the Q&A about his shelved film Oonga. A response good enough to understand the challenge of any filmmaker. How can one re-define the established category of 'art' as Bollywood's 'mainstream' film (?) Listening to him the way he narrated the story of Oonga I wished the film was released. He is just a lucky guy to get funding to make a film with big actors with a powerful story - as per how he narrated his original story and not what I read in Wikipedia. Hope someday this film gets released and screened. The big advantage in making a fiction film like Oonga is the freedom for the Director to use narration without worrying about facts and/or romanticising the details. For my Landing Together indie multilingual documentary first feature length film that we completed yesterday we were dependent on our protagonists - the real life tribal people and forest department officials - without any chance to decide a story in advance.
A few unanswered questions - why 'adivasi' topics unlike religious ones fail to ripple and create its own niche (economic market) in India's film industry, or do we need to add love story twist (like Newton) to make it more public. This would need a separate space and time and an audience who'd be interested. Then again, can films alter India's unending love for 'mainstreaming' its tribal population... guess not.
Watch the event here https://www.facebook.com/junoontheatre/videos/1693645940753888/
It includes discussion on various topics like film censorship, his experience of script writing and associated risk of ideas being stolen, pros and cons of online viewership of films, his journey of writing books about animals and getting his book included as part of the CBSE curriculum and publishing in nine regional languages among his many other talents as an artist.
I try to pick up two events per month therefore couldn't write a review of my first Mumbai Local experience with Anurupa Roy and Gunduraju 'When Puppets Speak' in Bandra's Mcubbed Library.
When Puppets Speak
They refreshed my memories of assisting Wayang Kulit artists in Java island while I was working in Indonesia in early 2000s. I'd organised one such event in my Bogor home. The event turned out to be quite a ritual from midnight to early morning and most of the guests couldn't stay awake!
Gunduraju's passion to carry puppetry tradition also stems from temple rituals - that's how the story telling existed in the early years. After reciting poems he explained its meaning and how political satire was smartly integrated in handling as well as designing the shadow puppets.
Junoon Local Mumbai Event could be explained in one Bengali word, Adda, wherein you get to mingle with the presenter(s) during the talk and get to make sense of their passion in arts - a platform worth exploring.
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Including his poems and travelogues among many other hats, Ibn-e-Insha has also been regarded as one of the best humorists of Urdu. 'Urdu Ki Akhari Kitab' is one of his brilliant work touching on our education system. Though he wrote this book a few decades ago, but it unfortunately continues to be relevant even today. I'd the honour to watch (once again Danish Husain) a play with the same title at Prithvi theatre, Mumbai.
My short-term interest in primary education was inculcated in college while interning at one of the Aga Khan Schools in Dongri, and at TISS with Jeroo Billimoria. I have this paper-back thin worn out book, Urdu ki Akhari Kitab, somewhere in back of my book shelf that I'd bought on my way back from first ever trip to Agra .... would read everything on education system from Paulo Freire, Jean Dreze to Ibn-e-Insha and Pierre Bourdieu.
Those days I was working with Pratham Education Foundation, Mumbai assisting the the Shatak Zhep programme i.e. making Maths a fun subject through play-way in primary municipal schools of Mumbai. Yet, it was just one incident that changed my decision to discontinue interest in education - that early morning of July when I got stuck in one of Pratham's selected Ghatkopar municipal schools in Ramabai Ambedkar Nagar in 1997. The first-hand experience of seeing violence in my fieldwork area was enough for me to change my career trajectory to move out of Mumbai, and focus on tribal development.
Danish Husain super brilliantly directs this play bringing in soft touches of contemporary issues. He acted along with Yasir Iftikhar Khan. The 70 min performance could be categorised as a satire, or stand-up type comedies. Doesn't matter how you identify, it is all about putting the dose in a small capsule that makes you laugh even if its a bitter truth.
Let me put it this way, I was a bit baffled at times when audience continued to laugh... In fact, in the last scene - where one of the characters sitting among the audience challenge Husain and runs behind him to attack - I was wondering what's so hilarious in this, but perhaps that's the reality too, that we continue to laugh even in real life incidences around us! Satirical to the core.
Both Iftikhar Khan and Danish Husain will steal your heart.. i.e. if you allow yourself by being in the show!
You don't need to read the book before you watch this show.. the actors will explain you all about the style Ibn-e-Insha adopted such as asking a few questions after each chapter of History, Science, Maths, Geography...
Varun Gupta on tabla and Shantanu Helrekar on harmonium deliver spot on music. Shantanu's vocal could actually beat Tan Sen - amazing voice. All songs/poems are brilliantly lined up in the script.
The use of audiovisuals in the background kind of merges with the mood of the theme that is presented.
Good work by Danish Husain in giving the due recognition to Ibn-e-Insha's this piece of work, and building those lost connections of our cultural geography.
Under the direction of K.K. Raina and conception, script and presentation by Ila Arun, Shabd Leela was presented at Experimental Theatre, NCPA, Mumbai.
This two hour long event was an amalgamation of extracts from the works of Dr. Dharamvir Bharti, the award winning novelist, poet and playwright. The play was presented as a dramatised reading and enactment of his works from Andha Yug, Kanupriya and Ek Sahityik Ke Prem Patra, a personal collection of letters to his (second) wife.
The only book I read was Kanupriya and it was a long time ago.. during school days. I think it didn't impress me.. may be because it used scholarly Hindi language and/or I was too young to comprehend the story in details. Well, the main intention for me to watch this play was to see Ila Arun performing. I only knew her as the singer of 'Mera assi kali ka' and it was in those days one of my favourite dance songs! Ila Arun performed the role of 'sutradhar' or compere/narrator and then she also interchanged her role as Pushpa Bharati and Gandhari.
The concept is brilliant. The wife-husband duo, Rajeshwari Sachdev and Varun Badola did a fabulous performance as Pushpa Bharti and Dharamvir Bharti. I am totally biased towards Rajeshwari Sachdev after seeing her mesmerising performance in Lillete Dubey's Gauhar at Prithvi theatre last year. I was hoping she would sing again and I was glad that she was given tUhe opportunity to use her sweet voice. The rest of the cast, including K.K. Raina, kept the audience engaged. As an International Development professional, ask me how much I hate PowerPoint presentations. It is obvious that I disliked the idea of using slideshow/projected visuals in the background. I think it is becoming a trend to use slideshows in theatre performances as if the audience is creatively idiot to visualize the image/situation, therefore the need to feed them. Perhaps, it might be true ;-)
This drama nicely interweaves the romantic lives of Bharati and his second wife; though, little is shared about his first wife. That's where I've a problem in conceptualization of this play. Yet, the overarching idea of showing Radha from Kanupriya kind of merging nicely in the storyline. The letters are nicely read - and I kept wondering if at all any of my boyfriends ever dare to write to me such heavy letters it will be 'the end' before beginning of our love story - and Ila Arun pulls my mind back from wandering away.
She nicely mentions in her dialogue "Imagine how Dr. Bharti would've written these letters in WhatsApp age - with all the hashtags! These among many other tits-bits are integrated also through Mahabharata epic war in this drama to make the plays, stories and letters as relevant as possible to today's political circumstances.
Overall, a relatively good experimentation of using different mediums - letters, biography, personal stories, and books of Dr. Bharati.
Mumbai's G5A screened S. Durga and it was over houseful - people had to be turned away!
In 2017 I missed screening of this film at the IIFR, Roterdam where it won the Hivos Tiger Award by Director Sanal Kumar Sasidharan.
The uniqueness of this film, according to me, is the editing and cinematography. The film does wonderful work in keeping the audience engaged with minimalistic dialogue in Malayalam. Durga, female protagonist, a North India, while the male protagonist a local from Kerala is name Kabeer. The name suggests the religious identity of the characters and the Director nicely combines the entire film happening on one night to the journey of Durga goddess.
Without using any explicit dialogues or actions, the film powerfully reveals a lot of untold stories - open to interpretation by the audience.
While watching this film I found similarities with another film, Turup, that was screened at Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Byculla around mid-March. A film by Maheen and Rinchin, who also happens to be my batchmates from TISS, Mumbai, brilliantly brings our various dimensions of social-cultural realities with beautifully selected Kabir' poetry reminding us about polarization in our society.
The film S.Durga is nicely intertwined with goddess Durga, in Turup the film is scripted around chess competition in the neighbourhood. Though I felt Kabir's poetry was bit loud running throughout the narrative - sometime overpowering the protagonists, but sometimes it nicely allows you to enjoy the Sufism and folk music.
Politics around love has been in our society for ages, but the increase in degree of intolerance - in day-to-day- political chores are probably more that we see in today's context that's dividing multi-cultural communities.
Highly recommend to watch both the films.
P.S. I'd to change the title of the blog (31 July, 2018) because this page has attracted 100x more viewers from Gulf countries therefore I use the current title hoping to control the traffic (thanks to google analytics).
The Godrej India Culture Lab has been churning out amazing events. I've been missing them due to my travel commitments. This week I'd blocked to paint the apartment, and for the 'Urdu Culture Now' event organized by the Godrej Culture Lab at Vikhroli, Mumbai. Just an hour journey by Ambernath local train, this event was a nice pre-monsoon break that was much needed from my DIY apartment painting mode.
The event was nicely curated by a group of students, including two students of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), who were the first batch of Leadership Program Fellows. For me, it's always an honour to meet my humble motivating TISSian Profs Anjali Monterio and Jaysankar.. I still continue to draw inspiration from them and from their dedication in media and cultural studies.
The event was a delicious kichidi of everything - almost everything - that comes under the umbrella of Urdu. It included: art exhibit, panel discussion, performances, and culinary delicacies.
The exhibit corner was small and nice with mix of poster work by Zeenat Kulavoor and Nasheet Shadani, books, Sound Zone, and even a Sticker corner - a sticker with your favourite poet's few quotes made a good take home souvenir. The Ghalib's famous quote printed in Urdu and Roman Script:
hazaroñ khvãhisheñ aisi ki har khvahish pe dam nikle
bahut nikle mere armän lekin phir bhi kam nikle magna
Urdu aur mein
It was Dec 1985: the first anniversary of the Bhopal disaster. My first-ever trip outside Maharastra.
As a 10 year old I was the only child member of a singing group, Lok Sanskriti Kendra, which was somewhat an extension of a cultural wing of a political party. It didn't matter to me.. I was too young to understand politics, but the songs were motivating and I enjoyed the idea of going to places (Bombay mills union or farmer's movement) to sing! Proshanto da and Munni didi received an invitation for the team to sing at an event to mark the first anniversary in Bhopal. I was given a condition that my school class teacher of 5th standard/grade would've to give me permission! My class teacher was Hindi expert and her condition was I'd have to write an essay from my trip experience... something like Back to Office Report, but in Hindi! So I got a week's leave to visit Bhopal.
We did the singing, and also were taken to field visit for meeting the families affected by the gas tragedy. As a child, I must have been in utter shock to see the impact of the disaster and began sobbing. Abba, one of the families who had lost his 8 yr old grandson in the Bhopal disaster, wanted to cheer me up. As an expression of love he gifted me one of his books in Urdu script with poems of Mir Taqi Mir, the 18th century Urdu poet. He made me memorize the name of this poet. He'd written my name in Urdu script on this gift book. It was a rich treasure for me and first familiarization with Urdu script. Urdu is one of the 12+ languages and dialects I think I understand ;-) Comprehending languages marks mastering in listening, talking, reading and writing - some languages I read and write better while others I can express/talk better. Urdu is the language that I am good at listening.. can't read and write, not yet.
The panel included poet Hussain Haidry, artist Zeenat Kulavoor, and Executive Editor of the Wire Urdu Mahtab Alam. I liked the way Annie Zaidi, writer and journalist, moderated smartly the discussion. A good line up but I guess there was no preparation among the panelist on the kind of discussion - it was more impromptu - which is fine, but wasn't knocking intellectual door. One reason I think for relatively weak discussion was that the topic of the panel was too generic.
Hussain Haidry was asked to recite one of his poem by Annie, which he did brilliantly except that the last verse he was unable to recollect. Zeena Kulavoor I think is doing nice work with Urdu script, but she kind of failed to capitalise in sharing her talent - this was despite Annie's moderation in giving her a chance to share/describe with audience different types of formats of script within Urdu. Mahtab Alam tried to touch upon the issue of Urdu as a language and its existence, but overall the panel discussion revolved around Urdu in Bollywood.
Or, perhaps I was expecting a bit too much from this panel.
Danish Hussain created a good mood in the audience. He'd about 20 min slot, which in normal scenario is the time taken by the storytellers to build up a tempo with the audience.
In brief, it was like a peck in the cheek
As an amazing actor, he did his performance flawlessly - sharing information about Dastangoi and its historical transition over the centuries; how in 1881 first Dastan-e-Amir-Hamza stories published making it one of the longest written story; his theatre company the Hoshruba Repertory's approach of using multi-lingual storytelling; and finally throwing few examples of diversity of story telling - dastan-e-rokna, serafa, and aiyyari or trickery - all sweetly wrapped up in the limited given time.
If one digs beyond Danish Hussain's storytelling its also all about making Urdu language public and 'marketable' - I'm using the term that Mahtab Alam had raised in the panel discussion.
It was only a couple of weeks ago that I'd my first chance to see Danish's performance (read my blog Qissebaazi in May 2018). With today's glimpse I'm hoping to see many more in the near future.
Pop-music and Urdu might sound like a strange bedfellows, but that's what Winit Tikoo is trying to proof the otherwise. I am not a pop music person, and anything new takes time for me to sink in.
As such Winit Tikoo's performance was nice, and the audience enjoyed it. Always nice to see people with deep passion. He is one of them striving to compose music of Hindustani/ Urdu/Hindi poets independently as an artist.
The traditional food, dawaat, was a nice arrangement (for an orphan/solo me). Food always is a good excuse to engage people to interact.
I loved this event and was glad to see it happening here in India/Vikhroli at the Godrej Culture Lab, which eventually (hopefully) will be a big plus towards building a creative commons.
This blog reviews two events that draws inspiration from Rabindranath Tagore's work: a new bollywood film, Bioscopewala, and two hour long NCPA's Tagore dance and music event.
A few days ago, I had a chance to watch a Bengali cultural programme at NCPA, Mumbai. Apparently it was NCPA's first time to organise such an event marking celebration of Rabindranath Tagore's 157th birthday. Dance and music of Tagore refreshed childhood memories of what was to be a Bengali girl.... in Mumbai!
"You are a Bengali only when you can recite a Tagore's poem, sing, and dance to the tune of Rabindra Sangeet", Biren dadu warned us.
Summer holidays for my friends and me ( in the age group of five to twelve years old) used to be typically spent learning how to read and write the Bengali script in the afternoon, and in the evening dance rehearsals with live music - harmonium, tabla, dholak, mangira while kakus and kakimas had no shy to practice Rabindro sangeet that would echo in our neighbourhood. Every year, we'd to perform for Tagore's Birth Anniversary celebration in Kurla Camp, Ulhasnagar, in the outskirts of Mumbai! Years later I came to realise that Kurla Camp in those days (1980s) was like a probashi Bengali ghetto in the midst of Sindhi colony. The Kali bari (goddess Kali's temple) was literally the center of the earth for the Bengalis in Kurla Camp - everything evolved around it - from the fish market, to bengali sweet shops and library.
My friends had assured me that being Ghoti means that I came from the right side of the planet! As a child, I began noticing the difference between Ghotis and Bangals it existed subtly in language accent, food habits..
(or click here https://www.thequint.com/campaigns/bol/ghotis-and-bangals-decoding-a-very-bengali-rivalry).
This divide was invisible when it came to prepare for Robi Thakur's on 25th Boishakh celebration, which was in the month of May - everyone would pitch in to prepare the script/ballet, selection of songs, improvisation of our dance movements etc. Aj dhaner kheter, Eso shyamal sundoro, or momo chitte neete nitte ke je nache ta ta thoi thoi .. Best part was that the shy girls, like me, would be completely transformed as a confident perfomer on the stage; little did I knew it was a killer way to teach us team work in an early age.
In 2010, my mother at the age of 67 years announced she wanted to learn harmonium and Rabindra Sangeet! She wanted to fulfil her bucket list. For the next five years she mastered the art of singing numerous Tagore's song and playing harmonium. Till my mother's death in May 2015, she continued to learn this art from her much younger teacher friend, Deboshri kakima. I'd almost lost touch of this tradition and it was refreshing to attend NCPA's two hour event on Tagore's dance in may ways.
At Experimental Theatre, NCPA, the evening event was for two hours with three performances. The first one was similar to what I'd performed as a child, titled 'Robir Rongey - Tagore through colours and mood'. The second performance was about Ragas and Keertans from Tagore's songs introducing Baul geet and a nice twist of Manipuri and Bharatnatyam fusion.
The final performance was from Srijon institute that put me off (and to top it, they used recorded songs; no live music). I left immediately after 10 mins of this last performance. I must admit that the event didn't meet any expectation and I came out disappointed - except the live music of the initial presentations were remarkable. The NCPA needs to review the troupe's performance before engaging in curating an event to avoid unforgettable experience in a negative way! I enjoyed relatively nice show by Shahana and Pubali and Angik.
Bollywood films are not for me.
In 2017 the only film I watched (and actually paid for ticket at the theatre) was Newton.
It's mid 2018 and Bioscopewala is the first and the only Bollywood film I watched.
If I've to describe this film in one word, then that word would be 'choppy'.
Yet, I loved it and I'm able to relate and empathise with the Director who have kept the dialogues to minimal and let the camera do the action. I wonder why we need so much of dialogues - words eating words.
That's probably what I think my film editor at Landing Together films likes to do as well - use less words :-)
Overall, Bioscopewala film has nicely used Tagore's lovely story Kabuliwala. I wish Danny Dengzonpa and Kala had got a little bit more space to show their talent - such a beautiful casting. I haven't seen any films of Adil Hussain, but even his acting got lost in the film that didn't capture the father-daughter relationship.
Yet, the Deb Medhekar, the director, has nicely managed to pull the story. The rest of the actors didn't impress me enough. I think the film is refreshing, sweet and small, and you come out of the theatre feeling good - especially if you are a Bong like me (or know Bengali language) its a nice treat.
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you ~ said Maya Angelou.
The art of storytelling is what kept human civilisation's love for culture intact. Stories are like a river it keeps flowing even if it has a barrier it flows by changing the route, but never stops. As someone once told me,
...[If] you want to understand a culture then listen to their stories.
The month of May I'm rarely around in Mumbai, but this year am ready to experience the heat and humidity. Mango allergy (thanks to calcium cyanide chemical used for ripening this commercial fruit) kicked me nicely already this summer. Mangoes and summer month refreshed my childhood memories. During the afternoons - before the days of air conditions and mobile phones - the summer school holidays for us was hanging under the mango, lemon and jackfruit trees with punjabi, marathi, sindhi and bengali friends playing 'story-story' and practicing 'abriti' (a Bengali word for reciting poems). Few days ago, I received a notification about upcoming event Qissebaazi, and I couldn't resist to click @BookMyShow.
About 65km distance i.e. two hours by central local train - that's only one-way journey to listen to a story-telling all the way to Mumbai's Byculla area is something people in my neighbourhood would find hilarious.
This is just to explain you the culture of thy neighbourhood matters...
Interestingly, The Hive @the Great Eastern Home is nicely tucked 5 minutes around the corner of famous Byculla Zoo. The only lovely memories of the zoo are of the two Baobabs, rest of the zoo's fauna hope finds freedom from chains :-) My first time to the Hive (haven't been to their Bandra location, yet) and am totally impressed with the decor and ambience. The seats @the Hive for the performance was all full by the time I arrived and was lucky to find one seat on the front row - an advantage of travelling single ;-)
What to expect when you know nothing about the actors, directors or the stories - I dislike the idea of googling reviews before the plays. The smooth drum beats and soft green lights on the 'stage' background helped audience to calm down - and I was ready to listen. The first story was by the Danish Husain, the director himself.
The interesting part of this storytelling was using multi-lingual - Urdu, Malayalam and Hindustani/ Hindi.
I was told that the trick of listening to storytelling is to maintain the eye contact with the protagonist, which I realised immediately. The audience of about fifty people kept uttering Wah Wah .. just was an indicator how actors managed to engage the audience.
An approach of Dastangoi - the art of storytelling - is about engaging the audience rather than keeping them as mere spectators, which dastango Danish Husain nicely executed in the first 30 mins. The storytelling itself was one tiny bit from dastan e-Amir Hamza's stories. The voice, body language and eye movements and captivating punchlines were completing the words of the story. Just as much exciting it is to know there are thousands of stories to be told from Amir Hamza's work I hope to return to watch Husain's work again. I'm impressed.
The next half an hour was another story telling by Padma Damodaran. Damodaran began her performance - a dance and singing in Malayalam. She stops and engages with the audience to translate the meaning of title - a tale of rabbit - and asks audience to repeat the words in Malayalam (Muyol = rabbit).. and she jokes away smartly hinting to the long debate of North and South India's language culture. What amused me is she was using her entire body, unlike a static storyteller - she was dancing and acting while telling a beautiful story. Though it may appear as a children's story, but you know its so much of those untold stories within the story you are listening leaving it entirely on the audience to interpret - gun control, animal cruelty, love, parent-child relationship.. damn, I am just imagining!
The final half an hour was equally enthralling by Udit Parashar. I am not going to tell his story but let me tell you that never before this show I thought that there can be a story all about 'spitting'. Udit's voice modulation, expression and his style of using minimum movement, yet strategic one kept audience capsized (at least me!). His storytelling ended without any ends, and though the audience gave a loud sound of clapping the murmurs was like, "I want to know how it (the story) ends.... can't we continue!"
Overall, Qissebaazi acts like a teaser to pull you towards the addiction of listening to stories - and it works!
Knowing that after the show I will reach home around mid-night, I'd packed some fresh baked goodies including ginger nankhatai from the famous American Express Bakery (Byculla West).
It was a good idea to munch while travelling back in the Karjat fast local train.. although I knew that the hunger to hear more stories just got worsen after this amazing Qissebaazi performance.
More stories to be continued....
P.S. The crowd was South Mumbaikaris, but the ticket cost at INR 300 was a plus for many to enjoy the show.
I haven't seen the above youtube link of Qissebaazi performance, but you might want to check it.
There is nothing like a live show.