Story by story, theatre person Rani Balbir Kaur is bringing the journeys of Guru Nanak closer to people in an engaging format, with Mere Nanak inspired by the katha tradition of the country. These stories or sakhis, says Kaur, an eminent theatre actor and director, are her tribute on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak and are being telecast on the PTC Channel and are also available on YouTube. The idea is to bring the many messages, journeys, teachings of Nanak closer to the younger generation, in simple language and absorbing style.
“There is no script for Mere Nanak — it is all extempore, as I use my training as an actor to take the audience closer to the life and times of Nanak. We, so far, have done 14 sakhis in just two days, and I found old books of my father published in Lahore to do more research on the journeys of Nanak and am happy with the feedback, as many are watching these stories. Many young people hesitate to read our ancient texts because the language could be tough and we need more such efforts to bring our youth closer to our culture and heritage,” shares Kaur.
The stories take the audience to the many places Nanak travelled to and the messages that he gave humanity as part of these journeys, sharing deep insights and his knowledge with all. More than ever, adds Kaur, Nanak’s teachings about oneness, equality, brotherhood, peace, love, a secular outlook, truth, empathy and discipline are so relevant in today’s world, where there is so much strife and unrest.
“His life is an example itself for us to follow, and the stories show his progressive and scientific temperament,” shares Kaur. In one of the stories, the actor narrates how Nanak was asked by someone why we can’t see god and he asked for a bowl of milk and asked the person if he could see the butter that is in the milk. “He spoke about how faith is about feeling and not seeing and how our faith must evoke empathy in us. In the process of narrating these stories, I discovered new facets about myself as an actor, for I was contemplating doing a solo show for long now,” she adds.
Kaur is also working on creating a montage of songs that speak of Nanak’s ideology and messages for the world, starting with Ek Onkar, the Mool Mantra. “I will both recite and sing these and it will be a unique effort that will appeal to a diverse audience,” sums up Kaur.