The Story of Kaveri
We enter the world of two southern states in India where the "Ganga of the South" - the river Kaveri emerges. Follow the delightful story of a crow toppling the religious pot of a meditating holy man (the rishi Agastya) to give birth to a magnificent river.
This performance is based on Read and Colour River Stories, The Story of Kaveri by Priya Krishnan, illustrated by Ashok Rajagopalan, 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).
The Storyteller's Toolkit
The techniques an Indian classical dancer uses to create an emotional mood are grouped under the term "saatvika abhinaya" (SAAT-vika ab-in-EYE-a). In particular, the face is a key tool for communicating emotion—Indian dancers train for years to perfect these expressions!
Watch how Preeti manipulates different aspects of facial expression (eyes, lips, eyebrows) to create the emotional effect.
(Note: These videos do not have voiceover/subtitles.)
Every culture uses its hand gestures for expression: in bharatanatyam (Indian classical dance) these gestures are classified in minute detail. Each gesture has specific meanings and applications. Each video includes the name of different facial expressions, or "saatvika abhinaya," and hand gestures, or "mudras" in Sanskrit (the classical language of India) along with examples and applications.
Commentary & Analysis
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.
The Red Curtain Drawing Challenge
We challenge you to create a drawing inspired by The Story of Kaveri. Pick your favorite character in the story (Kaveri, Agastya, Indra, Surapadman, or Ganesha) and imagine them becoming somebody, or something, else (like Ganesha turning into a crow). Let's see what happens to your chosen characters when you let your imagination run wild!
Send us your drawings at firstname.lastname@example.org and you'll see them here on the site.
What's in the illustration?
Our illustrator for this series, the much-loved Indian artist and cartoonist Biswajit Balasubramanian always packs a lot of action into his drawings. You can roll over (or tap on) the red dots on the drawing below to find out what's going on!
The Sacred River Kaveri
Learn more about the sacred River Kaveri by clicking through the images in the slideshow below.
Swipe or scroll through these images relating to the river Kaveri, ancient and modern.
Meet Our Global Collaborators
Biswajit Balasubramanian, Illustrator
Biswajit Balasubramanian (known to his friends as "Biz") is one of the best-loved cartoonists in South India, appearing in many newspapers and magazines. His endearing characters give life to a happy congregation of people and animals that populate his work.
Apart from drawing cartoons, he regularly conducts cartoon and comics workshops across India and abroad. He has worked on several private and public commissioned projects including wall murals, his three dimensional sculptures has been an exciting foray that brings to life his world of characters. He lives in Chennai with his wife Shalini, also an artist, with whom he runs one of the leading galleries of contemporary art in India, the Forum Art Gallery.
Click the button below for a video where Biswajit talks about how he came up with his wonderful illustrations.
Jerome Korman, Composer
New York (USA)
Jerome writes: "I’m the music director of the National Dance Institute in New York City. I get to write music and work with kids…it's the best!
Through NDI I met Preeti and have been so thankful for the stylistic stews we have created. I recently composed the music for 'C is for Choreographer' for Sesame Street, a serious career highlight! In addition, just this month I partnered with All of Us Films to create a piece for the UNEP that will bring awareness about taking care of the environment. I love to play piano and percussion, and I really hope you enjoy these stories!"
Click the button for a video where Jerry talks about his process for creating the music for the "Sacred Rivers" series.