Bombay Showcase

Bringing tales to life

Back to books:The festival will have interesting workshops for children—Photo: Vijay Bate  

As a child, I would often hang from the branches of the big banyan tree outside my grandparent’s home in Hyderabad, and pretend I was unravelling the mysteries of Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree. The realm of possibilities that a book offered were far more exciting than the mundane everyday routine of the world. So, I chose to live in the pages of a book.

Luckily for kids today, there’s the children’s festival, Kahaani Carnival, now back with its third edition. It continues to bring books to life for dreamy-eyed children.

Founded by the Kahani Karnival Trust — run by a group of five mums, led by journalist Shinibali Mitra-Saigal — the one-day extravaganza is a power-packed fun day for kids. They can expect 20 different interactive sessions, with authors, illustrators, dancers, musicians, artists, poets, and puppeteers, bringing popular children’s novels to life.

For instance, there’s a mime performance by Komal Gujrathi, who will befriend a number of Dr Seuss’ characters; a song, dance, and music workshop with Rashmi Ramesh that involves an adventure with Julia Donaldson’s Sugarlump and the Unicorn ; and a fun-filled journey to find the ‘Cat in the Ghat’, like in Ambika Rao’s book, through simple movement phrases; and a lot more.

The festival is presented by the Dr Bhau Daji Lad museum, whose historic walls and Victorian hallways will be used as a stage for the stories to unfold.

“Our aim is to get children back to books, which is why every session is derived from a tale,” says co-curator Mitra-Saigal. “Having the opportunity to use such an expansive space, we’re going to use as much of what’s in the museum to develop the story.”

Mapmaker and illustrator Sananda Mukhopadhyaya wil weave into her workshop the museum’s 18th-century map of Mumbai prepared by the Peshwas: “Through ‘Mapping Journeys’ I will take children on an explorative journey where they will get to understand the map as an object of curiosity, along with its historical and contemporary importance.” Kids will be taught how to create a route of familiar spaces such as the way home from school or to their friend’s homes, through which they will garner a better understanding of how one views a particular place. As Mukhopadhyaya puts it, “Through festivals like Kahaani Carnival, we’re getting parents to understand that the focus of these workshops is not on the immediate learning process, but that just the memory of the experience helps in the child’s growing process.” She believes that the engagement of kids with these public spaces automatically increases their awareness of the arts that helps build their imagination.

Here are a few more workshops that are sure to teleport the little ones from the buzzing streets of the city into the exciting pages of a book.

Beastly Tales from Here and There (Puppets and Poems)

Theatre personality, Shaizia Jifri will bring alive Vikram Seth’s incredible Beastly Tales with her puppets.

The workshop will use Seth’s poems as a palette for Jiffri’s puppet characters and voices. Seth says that the first two stories come from India, the next two from China, two from Greece, the next from the Ukraine, and the last from a place he refers to as “the Land of Gup”. Age: 9+ years. Time: 4.15 pm to 5.15 pm. Fee: Rs 200.

Kahani Le Lo (A Musical)

The Swangvale Group will be performing tales from the oldest collection of Indian stories, The Panchatantra .

The musical takes various chapters from Pandit Vishnu Sharma’s popular animal fables, and uses music, dance, and acting to bring children to the forest while touching upon important life lessons.

Age: 3+ years. Time: 5.30 pm to 7 pm. Fee: Rs 200.

Practically Nowhere (Illustration)

Poet and writer Shel Silverstein used artwork and words equally to create a story that would resonates with a person of any age.

Using some of Silverstein’s most popular tales — like The Giving Tree , A Giraffe and a Half , and The Missing Piece — theatre person, educator, and illustrator Sananda Mukhopadhyaya will help kids imagine and create their own scenarios through messages that they perceive through his stories.

Age: 7+ years. Time: 3 pm to 4 pm. Fee: Rs 200.

I for Imagine

Illustrator and theatre person Abhishek Panchal will use photographs as visual stimuli to engage children in various drama activities.

Inspired by Catherine Chaine and Marc Riboud’s book I for Imagine , participants will bring forth their own stories, which they will perform, in a series of live installations across the museum.

Age: 9+ years. Time: 12.30 pm to 1.30 pm. Fee: Rs 150.

The Kahaani Carnival festival takes place today, at Dr Bhau Daji Lad museum, from 10.30 am to 7 pm. Full schedule at mycity4kids.com . Registration is mandatory.

The writer is a freelance journalist

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Printable version | Oct 28, 2020 8:41:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/entertainment/bringing-tales-to-life/article8512170.ece

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