Vidya Shah with Luke Kenny
By Arjun Bhatia, Official ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival Blogger
Hawa Mahal, or the Palace of Winds, was built to serve as a high screen for the women of the royal household to observe street festivals while remaining unseen from the outside. From the moment they entered the courtyard of the iconic monument, the audience of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival Heritage Event could tell that they were in for a rare treat. The vibrant orange, green, and pink lighting accentuated the beauty of the palace’s walls, setting the stage for the dulcet musical evening.
Taking inspiration from the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival’s legacy of celebrating story-telling, the heritage event took the form of a narrative, exploring the ever-changing world of cultural entertainment in India. Actor and producer, Luke Kenny, the anchor for the evening, traced this transformation from the days of mujra, when only men were allowed to attend dance performances, through the charm of single-screen theatres, to the plethora of multiplexes of today.
Joining Kenny on stage was Indian classical musician Vidya Shah, who recited the story of this change through music. Enraptured listeners swayed as Shah showcased her repertoire of melodies in genres as diverse as Carnatic and the North Indian Khayal, Thumri, Dadra, and Ghazal. Her songs were punctuated by appreciative cheers and applause, as well as Kenny’s moving poetry and witty banter. It was a delectable dessert after the day’s literary feast.
Photo Credit: Chetan Singh Gill