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Renowned poet Gulzar, Prem Chopra, Mohit Chauhan graces 17th Edition of Kathakar International Storytellers Festival

3000 guests were enchanted by the unparalleled mastery of wordsmith poet and lyricist Gulzar and actor Prem Chopra as they graced the stage at the 17th edition of Kathakar - International Storytellers Festival, hosted at the prestigious Bharat Mandapam. As a goodwill gesture, the invitation to attend the festival was extended to the war widows, […]

3000 guests were enchanted by the unparalleled mastery of wordsmith poet and lyricist Gulzar and actor Prem Chopra as they graced the stage at the 17th edition of Kathakar - International Storytellers Festival, hosted at the prestigious Bharat Mandapam. As a goodwill gesture, the invitation to attend the festival was extended to the war widows, Veernari, Constabulary of the Indian Air Force, Delhi Police Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, and school students by Mohit Chauhan, patron of the Kathakar International Storytellers Festival. The festival was inaugurated by Meenakshi Lekhi, Minister of State for External Affairs & Culture. She spoke about the importance of storytelling. She added, “It is one of the oldest cultures where stories are passed on from one generation to another. It can be Phad in Rajasthan, Pandwani in Chattisgarh, Allah Udal in Uttar Pradesh.”

She told the story of Ramayana. “Our social life, education, literature were passed down to us through storytelling,” she added. Mohit Chauhan, in conversation with poet Gulzar and Prem Chopra, was moderated by the esteemed Prarthana Gahilote. It showcased an engaging dialogue that delved into the depths of storytelling, cinema, and artistry. As these luminaries came together for the first time, there were insightful discussions, anecdotes, and a glimpse into the creative processes shared with the audience that have shaped their illustrious careers. The evening commenced with an exquisite Opening Act: a meticulously curated Piano Recital by the talented students of AR Rahman’s K M Music Conservatory. The harmonious notes transported everyone to a realm of musical brilliance, setting the perfect tone for an evening of cultural enrichment and artistic celebration. Mohit Chauhan said, “It is our honor to host Prem Chopra sa’ab and Gulzar sa’ab at the 17th edition of Kathakar.

Bharat Mandapam is a state-of-the-art auditorium. Brilliant students of AR Rahman’s Music Conservatory will be performing piano recital and singing songs. For over 14 years, we at Kathakar have been promoting storytelling and working to restore dying art forms like folk music, poetry, storytelling, and theatre. It is important that people support the artists, performers, musicians so that this art form gets a fresh lease of life in the age of film, television, OTT, and other gadgets which have limited our interest in old art forms and book reading. We are thankful to our sponsors Ministry of Tourism, Delhi Tourism, and Coal India. The Ministry of Culture has over the years been supporting Kathakar and Doordarshan for showcasing our work pan India through its various channels and Radio Ishq as the Radio partner”. Poet and lyricist Gulzar said, “Once upon a time, there was a rabbit and a turtle who decided to compete in a race. This time, they had to cross a lake and meet at the end. When the turtle finally reached the end, the rabbit was nowhere to be found. Confused, the turtle called out for the rabbit; eventually, a rabbit came running. The turtle could not recognize the rabbit nor did the rabbit recognize the turtle.

The reason being that it was the third generation of turtles which were racing. It took three generations of turtles to finish the race. The two learning we draw from the story are one it teaches you never to give up. Second that things are moving fast in this age, and we need to keep up with the pace of development. The perspective has to change; we have to match our pace with other countries which India is doing now.”

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