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Rajasthani flavour at fest

mumbai Updated: Feb 09, 2011 01:30 IST
Reetika Subramanian
Reetika Subramanian
Hindustan Times
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After a long sabbatical in Lanka, Bhagwan Shri Hanuman decided to pay a visit to the ‘12th Annual Kala Ghoda Arts Festival’ on Tuesday.

With a long twirling tail, an elaborate headgear and the classic ‘gada’, Jaipur-based Shivraj Behrupiya, managed to amuse theatre junkies with his classic act, by even mouthing dialogues of the monkey god.

“Jai Shri Ram,” chanted Behrupiya, who had Bhagwan Krishna, Narad Muni and Sita from the ‘Lok Tarang’ group, keeping him company. “For this performance, we drew inspiration from the world’s greatest epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata, to bring out their contrasts and similarities,” said Behrupiya, seconds before getting back to his Hanuman avatar.

Behrupiya’s group was one of the many Rajasthani artists who participated in this year’s street festival. Metres away from the stage set up on Rampart Row, was Udaipur-based puppeteer, Bennilal Bhar, who managed to attract a huge gathering at his stall, thanks to the ‘matka-jhatkas’ of his stringed item girl, Meena Gojri. “It’s been four days since we have been here, but every time Meena goes on stage, we are assured of a crowd,” said Bhar. “Besides Meena, we also have our very own ‘Bengal ka Jaadugar’, who can hop and bop, even without his head,” added Bhar, showing off his skills.

But amidst all the chaos and activity on Day four of the cultural fest, Ramnath Chaudhary, 70, managed to grab eyeballs with his 10-feet long moustache and his unique style of playing the Rajasthani flute, ‘Algoza’, with his nostrils. “I am a celebrity in Rajasthan,” proclaimed Chaudhary, while striking rehearsed poses with the awestruck people in the crowd. “My moustache is as old as my son,” he added candidly, while providing handy tips on hair maintenance.

“It felt like I was transported to the deserts of Rajasthan even without the camels,” said Maitreyee Karambelkar, 20, a mass media student. “It was a welcome break to see some traditional art forms at a fest that is usually dominated by western dance performances,” she added.