Keeping alive the art form!

"Today’s generation doesn’t even know what Oggu Katha (traditional folklore) is. Back in our days, my grandfather, who was a popular storyteller, would visit our hometown and conduct practice sessions. The whole village would assemble when he’s around only to watch him perform. He had the skills to tell a story that would go on for one whole night in just an hour. His performance seemed like we’re sitting in a theatre and watching a movie. Every time I saw him perform, my faith in the art form grew and it’s the same faith that helps me survive today.
In my 20 years of experience as a storyteller, I have learned that people are highly influenced by Western culture and also need everything faster than usual. Nobody wants to watch a film that’s longer than three hours. Similarly, nobody wants to sit and watch me perform for longer than an hour. All my mythological stories - Mallana, Renuka Yellamma, and Harishchandra Katha - have been minimized to match the viewers’ mood. The power of storytelling truly lies in your ability to capture the audience’s attention. That’s why my grandfather was a legend because he could have you hooked to his story for as long as he wishes to. By God’s grace, I’ve been able to learn that from him. But what about the generation after me? I can’t let this art form fade away. I have two young daughters and they’ve already learned a few basic stories that they recite. People often scold me for involving them in the same ‘dying art form’, as they say. But why is it dying? Because you and I don’t want to popularise our culture and instead want to promote somebody else’s traditions from seven oceans afar. Oggu Katha has given me a good life. My faith in it will also help me popularise its existence. If I don’t stand up for it, who else will?"

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