Alternatively profound and bawdy, the ancient art of Dastangoi is all about weaving a tapestry of magic realism with words
In an another era, Mahmood Farooqui (a Delhi-based historian, writer and performer) and Danish Husain (an actor and an poet) would have probably held court at the steps of Delhi's Jama Masjid, but today they find kadardaans (patrons) in the granite-laden hall of the Park Hotel (as a part of The Parks' new festival).
However, this very fact hardly seemed to deter these two modern-day dastangos. On a rainy September evening, surrounded by cascades of jasmine, Husain and Farooqui took a roomful of Kolkatans to a faraway world of scheming sorcerers and gullible fairies where dragon armies are slayed with a help of little treacheries and battles are won with the help of conniving seductresses, and all they had to their aid were words.
The ancient art of dastangoi was popular in India since the eleventh century. It's believed that these narrations of the exploits of Amir Hamza, the Islamic warrior, was liked by emperor Akbar too. With its transmission into Urdu, dastangoi gained mass appeal. It was, indeed, an art-form meant fo the general audience. something which they can relate to. As Husain and Farooqui enthralled the audience with an animated narration, it was not difficult to identify origins of the Parsi theatre tradition (which in turn influenced what we know as masala Hindi films).
Full report here Indian Express