We adore the likes of Franz Kafka, Haruki Murakami and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, but how often do we do we flip through the works of geniuses from the Indian subcontinent? Whether it’s the Nobel winner Rabindranath Tagore, the great Hindi poet Premchand or the inimitable Pakistani writer and playwright Saadat Hasan Manto, a whole array of wordsmiths lie in our book shelves, forgotten!
Not anymore! Katha Kathan, an initiative by Jameel Gulrays, a veteran advertising consultant, aims at reviving Indian literature through the act of story-telling. Jameel, who has organised storytelling sessions mostly in Urdu and Marathi, and his team wish to reach out to the youth who know precious little about India’s hidden literary treasures and cannot read Urdu and other regional languages.
The name ‘Katha Kathan’ was derived from the word ‘Dastaan Goi’, which means ‘storytelling’ in Urdu. A stage for the tellers, these sessions have received great reception from lovers of literature who usually resorted to English translations of different scripts. Katha Kathan’s first stage session was based on Mantos ‘Deewaana Shayar’, whose story was centered around the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
Literature has always been Jameel Gulrays passion, if we are allowed to make an understatement. How else does one explain his sharp interest in the satirical and poignant writings of Manto! Katha Kathan has so far organised successful shows presenting the narratives of Manto at NCPA and Eros Preview Theatre. They are organising a session on the 13th May at YB Chavan Auditorium, Mantralaya, where they will present Rabindranath Tagores ‘Kabulliwala’ in Bengali and Hindi and Mantos ‘Taraqqi Pasand’ in Urdu and Marathi.
In fact, about eight months ago, Jameel also started a YouTube channel wherein he records a story and poem each day of legendary Urdu writers like Ismat Chughtai, Mir, Zauq,Ghalib and others!
To know more about them, have a look at their Facebook Page.