From folk tales of Rajasthan to stories penned by Shakespeare, from Urdu ‘Dastangoi’ to puppets, city’s as well as Punjab’s first storytelling festival ‘Kahaani’, concluded Saturday, had it all. The festival was earlier held in Jaipur, Delhi and Chhattisgarh.
The festival witnessed participation from various national and internationally acclaimed puppeteers, storytellers, theatre groups, origami artistes. They performed for the children and conducted workshops in storytelling at Delhi Public School.
The ten-member ‘Alive’ puppet theatre group from Delhi, has now introduced modern puppetry in their regular shows of traditional Rajasthani puppetry. Talking to Newsline, Puran Bhatt, 60, who has been performing shows since 24 years, said, “Now if one performs only traditional puppetry, it won’t work. The need of the hour is to create a fusion. We have created stories which amalgamate modern and traditional puppets.”
Puppetry is also the best medium to give social messages, he says. “Dance, music and fun are souls of puppetry but times have changed. Now we are producing shows on family planning, environment conservation, literacy and various other topics giving social messages through this folk media,” said Bhatt who performs rod, string, shadow and other forms of puppetry.
Umesh Kumar runs ‘Arth – The Meaning Puppet Arts’ since 2010 and teaches children to make puppets from paper and socks. He said, “It is all about engrossing children in stories they like. Children are more interested in learning modern puppet making from paper and socks than the traditional ones. Also paper and socks puppets are easier to make.”
Another attraction at the festival was Dastangoi, a compound of two Persian words Dastan and Goi in which a dastan (story) is recited or read aloud. “It is an ancient form of Urdu storytelling,” an artist said.