Twist in the Folktale

H Kanhailal, Habib Tanvir

Introduction by Ananda Lal


5.5 x 8.5 inches, xviii + 176pp. 2004

ISBN : 9788170462293

Rs  200.00 (PB)
$9.95 (PB)
£6.95 (PB)

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‘What could possibly ally a southern fertility drama from Karnataka, an eastern tale from Manipur about a bird family fighting a cat, and a northern story rendered into Chhattisgarhi about a truthful thief?’—Ananda Lal


Each of the playwrights in this collection takes a folktale and turns it into a contemporary experimental play, intervening in the traditional material and reshaping conventions from an urban perspective. Although the folk and rural elements remain embedded in the body of the narratives, it is interesting to note the shifts and intersections which occur in the process of rendering folklore as a present-day performative text.


Jokumaraswami by leading Kannada playwright and poet Chandrashekhar Kambar is a vibrant, earthy play which creatively reworks the folk myth of a phallic god of fertility into a powerfully contemporary anti-feudal message.


Pebet is a folktale about a mother bird fighting to protect her children from a predatory cat politicized by b>H. Kanhailal, who transforms this familiar story into a struggle against the political and cultural colonization of Manipur.


Charandas Chor by veteran playwright/director Habib Tanvir, performed by Naya Theatre’s Chattisgarhi folk artists, is a contemporary Indian classic depicting the irrepressible folk hero and ‘honest thief’, Charandas, a Robin Hood figure who charms his way into everyone’s hearts.

H Kanhailal

Habib Tanvir, a veteran playwright, director and actor, whose pathbreaking work with his company Naya Theatre has shown how folk elements can inform contemporary performance. He has won many major awards, including the prestigious Padma Bhushan, Padma Shree and Sangeet Natak Akademi awards. He has served as Member of Parliament and been granted a D. Lit by several universities. He has written, adapted and directed more than 20 plays.


New Indian Playwrights
Theatre And Performance Studies