Thursday, March 27, 2014

DASTANGOI- BY NADEEM SHAH AND MANU SIKANDER DHINGRA

I was lucky enough to witness  Dastangoi, by Nadeem Shah and Manu Sikander Dhingra in our college premises yesterday. Dastangoi is one of the ancient forms of urdu story telling which is now one of the dying art forms. Dastangoi is made up by joining two persian words- dastan which means story and goi which means tell a story and literally it means to tell a story.

Dastangoi was revived back to life in India in 2005 and since then the famous writer and director Mahmood Farooqui has played an important role in revival of this dying art form.

The duo of Nadeem Shah and Manu Sikander Dhingra presented one of the many dastan's namely "Dastan-e Chouboli". The story was about Princess Chouboli, who had taken a vow that she would marry only on the condition if someone makes her speak four times in one night.Many charismatic and brave princes tried to accomplish this simple task but failed and were made prisoners in her palace. The story takes a turn when a young new bride dressed as a man comes before Princess Chouboli to make her speak four times as her husband who was the 'thakur' of a village had failed to do so and was hence was taken to be one of the prisoners. In order to set  her husband free she comes before Chouboli and narrates four extraordinary stories. Chouboli is totally engrossed in her stories and as a result she replies everytime the young bride asks her a question and everytime she speaks the sound of "nagadas" fills the palace. This continues for four times and finally the young bride holding her husband's sword gets married to Chouboli and in dowry asks for her husband.

At night she reveals her true identity to Princess Chouboli and also says that she is now married to her husband as she was carrying his sword. Both of these brides tell the whole story to the husband on his way back home and in return for secrecy tells him not to be anymore a self centered chauvinist but be respectful towards women.It is said that after that the husband who was "The Thakur" of the village prospered a lot and did many welfare activities for his village by taking the advice of his young bride and Princess Chouboli.

Dastangoi is an amazing thing to see with all the attention on its speakers. I must admit the performance by Nadeem Shah and Manu Sikander Dhingra was completely enthralling and appealing.Their voices, their demeanor were the essence of dastangoi.

I wish this art gets promoted and gest the required attention which it deserves.

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