One man’s solo mission to keep the dying art of ‘Katha-Vachan-Gayan’ alive

New Delhi, Dec 11 (IANS) ‘Katha-Vachan-Gayan’ (storytelling-reading-singing) is a legendary and rare art form which stretches back to mythology and legends. Only a few people in India present storytelling through songs.
One of them is Ajay Kumar, a trained artiste from the National School of Drama (NSD), who tells the story in his own unique way.
Ajay Kumar told IANS that ‘Katha-Vachan-Gayan’ is a rare and mythological art form and is known by different names all across the country, for instance ‘Swangi’ and ‘Bhandduai’.
The artistes of this form present the story through their singing, reading and physical expressions.
Stories by Lerika Chandra and plays by Bhikhari Thakur can be found in many places. This art form can also be observed in Shakespeare’s plays.
Kumar said that the rhythm of reciting poetry leaves an impact on the audience as their interest arises when the story is narrated with the help of body movements and expressions.
The theatre artiste said that an actor’s existence is at stake while performing, adding that terming the form as an example of complete theatre will not be an exaggeration, since the actor has to speak, dance, act, sing etc.
About his journey, Kumar said that he joined the National School of Drama in 1997 and completed his training in 2000.
Kumar said that he is a member of the visiting faculty at NSD and an actor in Rangmandal in NSD with presentations of more than 450 stories country-wide.
Kumar has directed, acted and been a musician in more than 50 plays.
His presentations include “Bada Bhand To Bada Bhand” based on ‘Rijak Marayada’ by eminent writer Vijaydan Detha. The story is based on the dignity of livelihood and revolves around an actor.
Kumar has presented this story more than 300 times.
His another show “Mai Re Main Ka Se Kahoon” is also based on a story by Vijaydan Detha, ‘Duvidha’.
Kumar has presented more than 150 shows of the same.
He underlined the need to save the folk art forms, cultural traditions and rare forms of art that are a crucial part of the country’s heritage.

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