Pandavani is a performing art form from Chattisgarh. Tales from the Mahabharata are enacted with musical accompaniments. Having seen the art form on TV, I was excited to see it performed by a master artist for the first time live.
Teejan Bai was a revelation with her strong voice and personality. Her confidence and the way she related the story was entralling. I got pulled into the story of Karna and Arjuna in the war at Kurukshetra. My hair stood up when she related how Karna and Arjuna were equals in the art of warfare. How Lord Krishna had to dig the chariot into earth to save Arjuna from Karna's arrow once and how Arjuna's arrow got Karna's chariot stuck. At the end, I had tears when she related how Karna, the Dhanaveer(King among Givers) was killed in the war. She spoke about Lord Krishna's words, explaining to Arjuna his role in the war.
It was an evening where I understood the strength of the Indian performing arts. Those days are fast dying when people in the villages used to go to such strong performances by people who could capture an entire generations imagination. Today, cinema and TV have taken over and we are fast loosing such art forms to the disco world.
Another striking factor was her struggle to survive. Her life was not easy as she rode into a male bastion. Pandavani had only male performers till she arrived and she took the male bastion by storm. She is truly a gifted person.
The photo above shows the rings she wears which stood out during her performance. They look lovely, don't they.
* The photos in this blog are taken from google