Life and times of a river and its people

Life and times of a river and its people

Friday, October 14, 2011

Dastangoi: Tales from Tilism-e-Hoshruba

We are happy to invite you to an extraordinary cultural event, which is part of the Yamuna Katha Program:  Dastangoi, a lost and old art form of storytelling, on the ramparts of Purana Qila (or Qila-e-Kuhna in Mughal rulers' parlance) at 7 pm today Friday, October 14, 2011.

The venue for the performance is the spot where the new light and sound show takes place. Please enter Purana Qila from the Zoo entrance, climb the acclivity, go past the main gate till you reach a T-point, and then turn right to the other gate. Keep walking till you reach the other gate. That's the venue for the performance

Synopsis of Stories: 

The Bachpan Tale: Amir Hamza and Amar Aiyyaar are young and get admission into a Madrasa (school) where a pot-bellied, foul-tempered, food loving Mullah is their teacher. Amar Aiyyar is a menace in the school from day one. Mullah fed up with Amar's behaviour complaints to Amir Hamza's father, Khwaja Abdul Muttalib, the Chief of Mecca and the Keeper of Kaaba. Khwaja gets Amar thrown out of the school but Hamza is heartbroken and he forces his father to get Amar readmitted into the school. Amar then plots a revenge on the Mullah.

Tha Aazar Jadoo Tale: Amar Aiyyar and four of his disciples Mehtar Qiran, Barq Firangi, Jaansoz, and Zargham Sherdil have entered the Tilism-e-Hoshruba (a magical realm that enchants your senses) to rescue Amir Hamza's grandson. Afrasiyab, the emperor of Hoshruba, is livid with this infiltration and he sends sorcerers (Saahirs) to capture the Aiyyaars (Tricksters) but each time Amar and his disciples slay the Saahir sent for them. Finally, frustrated Afrasiyab dispatches a fearful Saahir named Aazar Jadoo with a magical portrait, which reveals the real face of any trickster in disguise. Amar and few of his disciples are captured as they are unable to fool Aazar with their disguises. He recognizes them with the help of the magical portrait. Now, the rest of the story is how the Aiyyars trick this Saahir too and rescue themselves from his spell. 

Dastak: Dastak is a theatre group which was formed by Mahmood Farooqui with few of his friends in 1990's when he had just returned from Oxford. Currently, Mahmood Farooqui with his group Dastak is working at reviving the lost art form of Urdu storytelling, Dastangoi. The revival has been on for six years now and details could be found at the blog The other key members of the group are Anusha Rizvi, the writer-director of the feature Peepli Live, and Danish Husain, Mahmood's fellow Dastangoi and a poet, actor. 

Director: Mahmood Farooqui is a Rhodes Scholar, author of the book 'Besieged: Voices from Delhi 1857,' Co-Director of the feature Peepli Live, and the Director of Dastangoi. He interpreted the art form in its modern form and reinvented it. 

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