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Dastangoi set to enthral Urdu lovers

Traditional storytelling performance to be held in Dubai, Abu Dhabi on September 20, 21

Image Credit: Supplied
Storytellers. Dastangoi will be narrated by Askari Naqvi and Sunil Mehra

Dubai: Urdu lovers in the UAE, who were just treated to a conversation with Ustad Ghulam Ali and a performance of Ghalib in New Delhi last month, can now look forward to another entertaining evening.

As Dubai-based event organiser Ambika Vohra and Pakistan’s Ayesha Imtiaz of Poetic Strokes come together, Dastangoi, a stimulating performance under Sounds of the Soil, a series of creative collaborations, is set to enthrall audiences at the Junction in Alserkal Avenue of Dubai on September 20 and the Indian Embassy Hall Abu Dhabi the following day.

Artistic tool

Lucknow-based Askari Naqvi, who is one of the Dastangoi narrators, told XPRESS Dastangoi is a 16th-century Urdu oral storytelling art form at the core of which is the Dastango, or story-teller, whose voice is his main artistic tool in orally recreating the dastan or the story.

He said the staging of Dastangoi marked a revival of the traditional art form which travelled to India from Persia. “We have had 30 performances of Dastangoi so far in different cities in India. This is the first time we will be bringing it to Dubai,” he said.

He said the performance will include two stories by Ismat Chugtai: Gharwali and Mughal Bachcha which revolve round two irrepressible women who raise questions over societal stereotypes with a great deal of maturity, wit and humour. Both stories will be covered in an hour and 15 minutes.

Imtiaz said, “Storytelling has been integral to India’s folklore. From bedtime stories by grandparents to rural community theatre, it has been the most popular form of entertainment and still holds a fascination.” said Imtiaz.

Delhi-based Sunil Mehra will also perform in Dastangoi.

Vohra said Sounds of the Soil will bring musical evenings, art and culture talks, poetry recitals, book readings, theatre and dance to the UAE.

Tickets for the shows can be bought at or at the venue: The Junction at Al Serkal avenue. Entry to the Abu Dhabi show is by invites only.


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