The Art of Kathakraang: A Fusion of Poetry, Dance, and Book-Making
Kathakraang is a unique and captivating art form that has emerged from the Indian subcontinent. It is a fusion of poetry, dance, and book-making, and it has been practiced for centuries. Kathakraang is a Sanskrit word that means “the art of storytelling,” and it is the perfect description of this art form.
Kathakraang involves the creation of a book that tells a story through a combination of poetry and illustrations. The book is then brought to life through dance, with the dancers performing the story that is written in the book. The result is a mesmerizing performance that engages all the senses and takes the audience on a journey through the story.
The origins of Kathakraang can be traced back to the ancient Indian epic, the Mahabharata. The Mahabharata is a vast and complex work of literature that tells the story of a great war between two families. It is a story that is rich in characters and drama, and it has been the source of inspiration for many Indian art forms.
Kathakraang was developed as a way to bring the stories of the Mahabharata to life. The art form was originally practiced by itinerant performers who would travel from village to village, telling the stories of the Mahabharata through their poetry and dance. Over time, Kathakraang evolved into a more sophisticated art form, with the creation of illustrated books that accompanied the performances.
The process of creating a Kathakraang book is a laborious one. The book is made from handmade paper, and the illustrations are created using natural dyes and pigments. The text is written in a form of poetry known as kavita, which is characterized by its use of metaphor and symbolism.
Once the book is complete, it is ready to be performed. The dancers who perform the story are trained in a form of classical Indian dance known as Kathak. Kathak is a form of dance that originated in northern India and is characterized by its intricate footwork, graceful hand movements, and expressive facial expressions.
The performance of Kathakraang is a feast for the senses. The dancers move with grace and precision, their movements perfectly synchronized with the rhythm of the music. The poetry of the kavita is sung by the performers, their voices rising and falling in a mesmerizing cadence. The illustrations in the book are projected onto a screen behind the performers, adding a visual dimension to the performance.
One of the unique aspects of Kathakraang is the way in which it combines different art forms. The poetry of the kavita is a work of art in itself, and the illustrations in the book are masterpieces of traditional Indian art. The dance of the Kathak performers is also an art form in its own right, and the music that accompanies the performance is a beautiful fusion of traditional Indian instruments and modern technology.
Kathakraang is not just a form of entertainment; it is also a way of preserving traditional Indian culture. The stories that are told through Kathakraang are an important part of Indian mythology, and the art form helps to keep these stories alive for future generations. The creation of the Kathakraang book is also a way of preserving traditional Indian book-making techniques, which have been passed down through generations.
In recent years, Kathakraang has gained popularity outside of India, with performances taking place in countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom. This has helped to bring this unique art form to a wider audience and has increased awareness of traditional Indian culture.
In conclusion, Kathakraang is a unique and captivating art form that combines poetry, dance, and book-making. It is an important part of Indian culture and helps to preserve traditional stories and book-making techniques. The performance of Kathakraang is a feast for the senses that engages the audience on multiple levels, with its intricate movements, beautiful music, and stunning visual illustrations. It is a testament to the creativity and skill of Indian artists, and its popularity around the world is a testament to its universal appeal.
Through Kathakraang, audiences are able to experience the magic of storytelling in a way that is both traditional and innovative. This art form brings together the past and the present, the written word and the performing arts, and it does so with a grace and beauty that is truly remarkable.
As we continue to explore and appreciate the rich diversity of global culture, Kathakraang serves as a shining example of the power of art to bring people together and inspire them. It is an art form that will continue to captivate and enthrall audiences for generations to come, and it is a source of pride for the Indian people and their cultural heritage.
I am a Pune based artist, Kathak dancer, Dance Movement Therapist, and an avid Yoga practitioner/ teacher. I am also the Director at the Sakal Media Group, a Trustee of Pune Blind School and Nirdhar Trust.
Being a part of Sakal Media Group, with its strong foundation of service and ethical journalism, I am deeply committed in making this world a better place by pushing boundaries, giving opportunities to others, following my convictions, helping others make better choices and to tell powerful stories that will help reshape the world we live in.