Indian storytellers are taking the initiative to come online and tell the tale of 2020. ‘Confused Bhagwaan’ by Kamal Pruthi also known as Kabuliwala, narrates a tale of hyperactive, spiky coronavirus which stuck out from a character’s head to have an ambling conversation. Kamal performed this storytelling act online on June 12 from his home in Delhi for schoolchildren in Varanasi. He again attempted to stage the story of the virus in a fun way in ‘Corona ka Khatma’ he believes that this is a way to keep children entertained and well informed about the ongoing disease.
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Such artists tell stories for their livelihood and also for the joy with their artistry they could do something for the society. That is what the role of the storytelling community is during these times. With entertainment, information and talk therapy storytellers have been modifying their medium and content to reach out to children and adults during this lockdown.
With tales of comfort and hope, many improvised online performed acts are reaching out to restive kids and even adults locked indoors. Recognising that people are now spending more free time together, these storytellers have even come up with certification coursed in order to create consciousness and also to wake people to the power of storytelling. Storytellers across the nation are also going for community-building practices; they are taking the initiative for the collaboration of storytelling bodies from all over the nation: North, South, West and East in order to create more bonding.
Storytellers are getting creative by posting on Instagram and are trying to move onto bigger platforms like zoom as they record stories or even perform them live. But they make sure that the narration of classic tales is done in the traditional Indian style, which is the sit-down style.
During this lockdown various workshops are being conducted even for adults, one such being the workshop of Vikram Sridhar a Bengaluru bases storyteller which took place in May, where he collaborated with Aparna Jaishankar which featured 60 practising storytellers who narrated 12p methodological stories on social media.
Storytellers believe that this is the easiest form of art to digest unlike dance or martial arts and hence this has become more crowded space in recent times. Although, storytellers were earlier resistant to the idea of online platforms as they had a strong affirmation about missing the live energy of the physical audience but the lockdown as proved this otherwise. But they now believe that the screen is future and everyone in this industry is improvising.
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