Flourishing in Urdu in the 16th century, Dastangoi is an oral narrative tradition, with a repertoire of epic stories full of magic and adventure. While the form largely disappeared over the last few centuries, it has been a�?rediscovereda�� over the last 15 years, largely through the work of writer and director Mahmood Farooqui, who hosts a performance tonight in the city.
Describing Dastangoi as a�?a near perfect fusion of performance and literature,a�� Farooqui explains that a�?Ita��s different to other Indian storytelling traditions because narrators rely purely on their voice with no aid of music or visuals, and it has always been entirely secular.a�? Research and promotion of Dastangoi has been aided by an India Foundation for the Arts grant, which enabled Farooqui to hold workshops in cities India-wide, as well as publish a book. a�?You could really describe the revival as a reinvention because I brought in two people to tell stories in pairs, and hence the form got a new theatricality,a�? he says.
Keeping this theatricality in mind, tonighta��s performance will see Farooqui on stage with Danish Husain, and the stories in the line-up include Dastan Mehtaab Jaadu Ki, about a�?the king of musiciansa��, and Dastan-e-Chouboli, an adaptation of a Rajasthani folk tale. Translated into Urdu by Farooqui, hea��s added poetry and the writings of classical Urdu poets to the original Rajasthani text, bringing it in line with the conventions of a Dastangoi performance. a�?Ita��s best-suited for adults, and you can expect an evening full of laughter, poetry and feminine emphases,a�? Farooqui signs off.
At Chowdiah Memorial Hall, Malleswaram. 7.30 pm. Donor passes (Rs.300 upwards)