We enter a world of ancient Hindu mythology: the origins of the mighty river Ganga, brought down from the heavens by the great sage Bhagiratha to cleanse the sins of his ancestors with her pure waters.

This performance is based on Read and Colour River Stories, The Story of Ganga by Priya Krishnan, illustrated by Uma Krishnaswamy, and published by Tulika. It has been adapted with original music and illustration for The Red Curtain Project.


Thresh and the Red Curtain Project is proud to partner with Tulika, an independent, multilingual publisher of children's books that pioneered a fresh wave in Indian publishing when it was founded in 1996 (winner of the 2019 London Book Fair Award for Excellence in Literary Translation Initiative). 



In the video above you see Preeti use a mixed bag of facial expressions and hand gestures ("mudras").

Now let's break this down: you'll find a series of short video clips below, in which Preeti demonstrates each gesture and the facial expressions she's chosen to use.


For each one, she includes the name in Sanskrit (the classical language of India) and some further examples and applications.

"Mudras" (hand gestures) & body positions

First we'll look at hand gestures and body positions.


Every culture uses its hands for expression. Preeti grew up learning Indian classical dance (bharatanatyam) in South India where gestures are classified in minute detail. Each gesture has specific meanings and applications. And lower body positions are...

Be sure to scroll / swipe through all the videos (there are three in total).


Facial expressions & Emotion

In Indian dance and theatre, the face is a key tool for communicating emotion—Indian dancers and actors train for years to perfect their control of their facial muscles!


There are many techniques to isolate the movements of the face, which are classified as "bheda" (BAY-dah). Indian classical performer uses these in combination to create an emotional mood under what is called "saatvika abhinaya" (SAAT-vika ab-in-EYE-a).


In particular, watch these short demo videos to see how Preeti manipulates different aspects of facial expression (eyes, lips, eyebrows etc.) to create the emotional effect.



Preeti breaks down the performance

There's a lot going on in Indian classical dance, even in a short sequence such as this. In the video below Preeti talks you through how she's using the classical gestural vocabulary to tell the story.

Ask Preeti

As you've seen by now, our stories use a lot of hand gestures and facial expressions. Some of them can look quite similar. 


As we do with every story, we took out our video camera to ask Preeti a few questions.

(There are two videos in this section—don't forget to scroll / swipe right!)

Remember: If you have questions for Preeti send them to



Think you're an expert? Try this quiz!

The RED CURTAIN Drawing Challenge!

This week we'd love you to create a drawing how you might save the mighty Ganga from pollution and her waters rich and pure again. (Look at the photo's in the gallery below to see how dirty she has become!)

Your drawings and ideas will help make change!

Send your drawings to us at We'll publish as many as we can on this site! (And you can see some great drawings we've received so far from kids around the world by clicking here!)

The Mighty Ganga: Pictures & History

Swipe or scroll through these images relating to the Ganges, ancient and modern.