Tales From The Stage: Mountain Echoes Literary Festival Takes Theatre to the Himalayas

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Actors and theatre veterans, Naseeruddin Shah, Ratna Pathak Shah and Sanjna Kapoor, will take center stage in Bhutan at the 9th edition of the literary festival

Thimpu: In his introduction to the collection of fables, Beastly Tales from Here and There, novelist and poet Vikram Seth famously said ‘the first two come from India, the next two from China, the next two from Greece, the next two from the Ukraine. The final two came directly to me from the Land of Gup”.

Almost three decades later, his fables will come alive in a completely unique setting – the Eastern Himalayas, at the ninth edition of the Mountain Echoes literary festival. In a performance unseen at any literature festival, the ‘First Couple of Indian theatre’, Naseeruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak Shah will perform a series of acts rooted from Vikram Seth’s work.

The teachings of Vikram Seth’s tales will be immortalized by the couple at the Royal University of Bhutan.

The co-founder of the Motley Theatre Group and the veteran actress, etched in the memory of Indian audiences as the fiery Maya Sarabhai from the hit sitcom Sarabhai VS Sarabhai, will also give a new dimension to James Thurber’s legendary wit.

A spirited performance by the husband-wife team will give audiences a glimpse of the playwright’s most famous work. The piece will be inspired by their aim of performing on stage without trappings, and to depend on words alone to convey character and story.

In a separate session, the doyenne of Indian theatre, Sanjna Kapoor will give the festival’s global audiences a glimpse of its evolution. Sanjna, the founder of one of India’s leading theatre companies, Junoon and the driving force behind the iconic Prithvi Theatre for decades, will be joined on stage by Ratna Pathak Shah. The powerhouse duo will not just talk about their experiences under the arc lights, but also focus on Indian theatre’s contemporary, 21st century avatar.

Sanjna is credited with introducing the concept of touring theatre festivals in India. She is currently working towards creating an all-India theatre alliance and works closely with SMART (Strategic

Management in the Art of Theatre) to strengthen the Indian theatre scene.

An initiative of the India Bhutan Foundation and India’s leading literary agency, Siyahi, the festival celebrates Untouched Beauty, Unexplored Ideas and Unstoppable Voices from the heart of the Himalayas. The literary, arts and cultural extravaganza is presented by the Jaypee Group and powered by the Department of Tourism, Government of Rajasthan.

Set in the Bhutanese capital of Thimphu, the ninth edition of the Mountain Echoes literary festival will be held from 23rd till 25th August. The event will celebrate 50 years of formal diplomatic relations between Bhutan and India across its sessions. Key themes at this year’s edition include Environment and Wildlife, Spirituality and Buddhism, and Food Traditions among others.

Resonating with a mix of the old-world charm and the contemporary vibe, Mountain Echoes literary festival has set the pace for discussions on ancient cultures and contemporary issues. Come, be a part of Bhutan’s homegrown literary retreat and experience a mesmerizing blend of art and culture. To know more, visit http://www.mountainechoes.org/