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Dastan-e-Ram
'Dastan-e-Ram' is a lyrical Dastangoi rendition of the eternal epic in romantic Urdu, laced with high literary value poetry and based on old classical versions of Holy Ramayana which were written by stalwarts of poetry and literature. It is obvious that Lord Ram and the performance tradition of Ramayana transcend both language and culture, and so we are proudly showcasing the story of Lord Ram in a new innovative Dastangoi idiom before enthusiastic audiences. The evergreen masterpieces of Maharishi Valmiki and Goswami Tulsidas inspired a galaxy of Shaayers like Pundit Maharaj Bahadur 'Burq', Munawwar Lakhnavi, Mehdi Nazmi, Jageshwar Nath Betab, Saghar Nizami, Shankar Dayal 'Farhat', Amaranth Sarshar & Braj Narain Chakbast etc who penned down outstanding poems of stunning beauty. We gathered these pearls and gems and tried to weave a garland of fragrant flowers by putting them in our narrative. Presenting Ramayana in classic Urdu idiom, therefore, was a vast and immersive enterprise and so it took more than ten years of research and archiving to do justice with the fabled subject. It was really a puzzling paradox why something as captivatingly human as the Ramayana had been restricted to one culture and idiom and why it was completely missing in contemporary Urdu performance tradition unlike Krishna Raasleela which earlier had a robust tradition under Nawab Wajid Ali Shah of Avadh. Who can deny the fact that Ramayana is also a tale of ambivalent, mortal things, their relationships, dreams and failings. Its intrinsic moral compass always pointed towards cosmic moral harmony which needs to be saved from disruption everywhere and by everyone. Unfortunately, alternative presentations of Ramayana in Urdu performance tradition were not many and hence the task was huge. The Urdu Dastangoi version of the epic tries to fill an inexplicable & awkward vacuum. This production is using the classic Urdu's beautiful & powerful imagery and lyrical expressions which take us to an aesthetic journey rarely undertaken. To retain its core devotional essence we decided to present it as a poetic classic magnifying its universal message. A podcast series on RedFM inspired from this Dastan has been widely appreciated by the connoisseurs of art & culture. Playwright Danish Iqbal crafted this text to create a performance of stunning charm which is being presented by Fouzia with a rare artistry, dedication and enthusiasm, under his direction. Fouzia Dastango been honoured by the Hon'ble President of India as first ever female Dastango and is a role model and influencer.
Dastan-e-Mahabharat

India's first female Dastan-go, Fouzia Dastango & Firoz Khan will re-visit the epic tale of the Mahabharata in their inimitable style of narration.
Jashn-e-Rekhta is a three-day festival celebrating Urdu and our composite culture. It is held every year in Delhi under the aegis of the Rekhta Foundation, a not-for-profit organization devoted to the preservation and promotion of the languages and literature of the Indian sub-continent .

Dastan-e-Gandhi Synopsis

This performance presents the inspiring and inimitable story of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in the format of dastangoi, the fabled Urdu storytelling form. The stylised and poetic prose of dastangoi will add an element of creative innovation to narrate the story of Gandhi’s life, from his youth in Gujarat, to his college days in England, to his crucial time in South Africa and finally, his return to his homeland. Filled with excerpts from historical speeches, humorous anecdotes and much Urdu poetry, this dastan will once again bring alive Mahatma Gandhi and the Independence Movement for a contemporary audience.

Daastan-e-Meena Kumari (Musical)
Unlike regular Dastans, our new production Daastan-e-Meena Kumari is a poignant story of a real-life icon and her struggles. Not many persons realise that behind the glitter and arc lights, the heartbreaking struggles of Meena Kumari may also help us understand the ills of deep-rooted misogyny in our otherwise 'civilised' society. The more startling realisation is that her tormentors were not only controlling and exploiting her talent and capacities but also started punishing her openly when they realised that she could see through their facade. Despite being an unparalleled artist, her resistance to insults and domestic violence were taken as an unwelcome challenge to male dominance and privileges. Her tormentors were not practising misogyny unconsciously, because they remained appallingly brazen and unapologetic and even today their patriarchal mindset want to perpetuate the status quo by spreading canards and her character assassination. Once, Meena Kumari was invited to do a show in Delhi by the Indian Army, and after the show, they gave her an envelope. She opened it and told the jawans that this amount of five hundred rupees was the biggest payment she had ever got in her hands. She avoided telling the Jawans that she used to get give five hundred rupees every month (despite her earnings of millions of Rupees) from her controllers. Combining her poetry and incidents from her life, we may take the audience down memory lane on an emotional roller coaster interspersed with nostalgic songs.
Dastan Nanhi ki Naani

Nanni ki Naani survives her destitution using a combination of courtesy, cunning and grit. She wears a namesake burqa; artfully takes multiple shares when food is distributed to the poor; wages war on the neighborhood monkeys; and quietly sings praises to her dearest companion: her favorite pillow. A tragi-comic sketch full of dark humour, Nanni ki Naani is one of Ismat Chughtai's most moving pieces of writing.

Dastan Ghummi Kababi Ki

Ghummi kebabi ko kaun nahin jaanta? Sara sheher jaanta hai!”People flock to Ghummi to eat his mouth-watering kebabs and savor his equally flavorful Urdu. Packed with idioms, proverbs and polite curses, Ghummi’s cutting comments are as sharp as his barbecue skewers. When Ashraf sahib hires Ghummi to make kebabs for a group of highly-educated rascals from Aligarh, the stage is set for a conflict packed with finger-licking fun. Adapted from Ashraf Subuhi Dehelvi’s Dilli Ki Chand Ajeeb Hastiyan, this dastan creates an intimate portrait of Old Delhi and its language in the 1930s.

Dasstan-e-Radha-Krishn: A Mystical Dance Opera Ensemble

Through this mystical Dance Opera, we are making an earnest effort to curate and showcase Hindu cultural heritage as expressed in Urdu classics of the 19th & 20th century. Encouraged by our critically acclaimed productions like Dastan-e- Mahabharat & Daastan-e-Gandhi etc we wanted to continue our efforts to create meaningful work through Daastangoi Theatre. To be presented by National Awardee Artist Fouzia Daastango this mystical opera has been designed to augment & enhance our age-old inclusiveness eclecticism as ingrained in our beautiful cultural traditions. Combining greatest Urdu poetry and finest literary traditions Hindi, Braj & Avadhi and translations from Bangla & Odiya, Maithli & Sanskrit, this opera reasserts pride in our shared heritage and fosters innate respect among different communities by bringing back the glory of Bhakti-Sufi cultural idiom. We premiered this Daastangoi Theatre Ensemble at IGNCA, New Delhi in March 2019 under the musical guidance of Ustad Wasifuddin Dager. This Dhrupad Daastangoi Ensemble received immense love as well as heartfelt accolades from connoisseurs who were reminded of our age-old aesthetic traditions transcending stereotypes of language, idiom and expression. A Mystical Dance Opera Ensemble, combining our best dance traditions with Urdu Poetics and dramatized storytelling. The mystical love story of Radha Krishna is the creative culmination of so many undercurrents of medieval poetic and artistic traditions which led to the confluence of Bhakti & Sufi schools of thought. It captured the imagination of so many stalwarts like Chandidas, Jaidev, Vidyapati to the pre and post-modern exponents of the poetry like Hasrat Mohani, Mohsin Kakorvi & Meeraji etc that even now, it is at the core of our eclectic milieu. This production is significant because awarded playwright, Danish Iqbal, spent nearly four years' time and creative resources from story writing to developing a full-fledged Dance-Drama. We left no stone unturned to make it as interesting as possible and hope to create a very powerful production that will be able to act as a glue to bring and keep different communities & cultures together to promote harmony and inclusiveness in the country. Hence, we are looking forward to staging this innovative work before the discerning audiences to bring this mystical-divine story to life again & again till we achieve inward and outward illumination.

Saadat Hasan Manto : Afsanche

Saadat Hasan Manto : Afsanche : Short Stories : Fouzia Dastango in Urdu Studio with Manish Gupta