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Wednesday, June 14, 2006
The Sea of Eloquence - An Evening of Dastan-e-Amir Hamza 

These are friends of mine, from Delhi. Do come, and pass the word too, please.

They also have a couple of paid shows, courtesy Motley, at Prithvi on the 1st and 2nd July.
The Sea of Eloquence - An Evening of Dastan-e-Amir Hamza

Dastangoi: A Presentation of the Lost Form of Storytelling

Fri. 23rd June – 6:30 pm

Little Theatre
National Centre for the Performing Arts
NCPA Marg, Nariman Point

This is a CHAURAHA presentation.

The oral narration of Dastan-e-Amir Hamza was a popular medieval pastime in most parts of Central, Western and South Asia and North Africa. Originally composed in Persian, the Dastan-e-Amir Hamza describes the battles of Amir Hamza, the Prophet Muhammad's Uncle, against infidels, sorcerers and other pretenders to divinity. Until the beginning of the twentieth century, the Dastan-e-Amir Hamza was singularly successful in entertaining a whole range of people, from the commoners at chauks and nukkads to the elites in their palaces; it was performed at the steps of the Jama Masjid where Dastangos gathered. Although almost entirely obliterated from the performing arts canon today, it is clear that these performances required an exceptional command over rhetoric, delivery, mimicry, ventriloquism and spontaneous composition.

The present performance of Dastangoi consists of portions of the best-known daftar, or chapter, of the 46-volume Dastan-e-Amir Hamza,the Tilism Hoshruba, the 'Enchantment that Steals away the Senses'. The performances are the result of collaboration between S. R. Faruqi (the foremost living authority on these Dastans) and the performers. Faced with neglect and systematic devaluation, there is now very scanty evidence for the way in which these Dastans were compiled and performed. The current performance is therefore merely an exploration of an art which was considered by some to be of a higher order than poetry itself.

Mahmood Farooqui is a self-trained actor and performer who recently acted in Mahesh Dattani's English film, Mango Soufflé. Earlier this year, he was given a Fellowship by Sarai, CSDS to work on the Dastan-e-Amir Hamza.

Danish Husain has done theatre with several theatre stalwarts in the country, including Habib Tanvir, M. S. Sathyu, Barry John, Rajinder Nath, Sabina Mehta Jaitley, Aziz Quraishi, among others, in a wide variety of roles.

Admission free on a first-come-first-served basis.
See also: The Dastangoi blog.

Two (bad) pictures from a Dastangoi performance near Turkman Gate, in Delhi, in April 2006.

100_1990 100_1985

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