1. Purana-Pravachana

  • Purana-Pravachana is a lecture about scriptures in which the pauranika is a spiritual interpreter of the scriptures. These stories generally have a religious theme, usually the life of a saint or a story from an indian epic. Storytellers elaborate on the significance of the scripture read, providing several angles to look at a verse or word. Upanyasa or Pravachanas focus on Sanskrit and Tamil texts. Music is used sparingly to recite the scriptures. Reading the scriptures and presenting its meaning is the method used by pravachan storytellers.

2. Kathakalakshepam

  • Stories with anecdotes, known as Kathakalakshepam, are told in Sanskrit, Tamil and Hindi. In these tales, a storyteller proficient in classical music, interweaves the main story with music, dance and digressions. Kathakalakshepam literally means “narrating the stories of ancient text in a comprehensive manner to the common people.” The enthusiastic performer narrates, enacts and comments on episodes and themes from the mythological lore of India. This type of storytelling demands the theological and literary competence of the storyteller. They must know the epics and the ancient texts. Being resourceful is a very important trait in a storyteller as they need to project the subject through the medium of music, spoken word and acting.

3. Folk Narrative

  • Folktales are often about kings and queens, brave hunters or clever animals. They include moral warnings to avoid lies or theft, not to be greedy and so on. There are many different stories, and each village has its own versions. Traditionally, mothers and grandmothers narrated or sang these stories to their children and grandchildren at home. In Andhra Pradesh (southeast India), folk narratives are known as burra katha. A burra is a drum shaped like a human skull. In this tradition, travelers narrate stories while beating the drum. In Tamil Nadu (southern India), folk narratives are known as Villu Paatu, the stories are told accompanied by a stringed instrument resembling a bow. The stories are heroic ballads and the medium is used to propagate social welfare programmes such as AIDS awareness, family planning and election information.