News & Notes

A precious insight into Harikatha

It isn’t on every Saturday morning that you gather at a  serene place covered with greenery and a vibrant aura, to get a glimpse into an ancient art form of India. Paathashala, the two-day workshop on the Techniques of Harikatha organised by Charsur Arts Foundation in collaboration with Vijayashri School of Harikatha, and conducted by well-known Harikatha exponent Vishaka Hari was more than enlightening. As a prerequisite, students filled out a short questionnaire on their basic qualifications, knowledge in Sanskrit, scriptures, and musical compositions—some of the essential criteria for participating in this workshop.

Vishaka Hari introduced the concept of Harikatha, which essentially is a one-person theatre art form, where the performer assumes the nature of the katha patram (character) and becomes one with his or her art. The topic for a Harikatha is chosen according to the occasion, the story can be developed on any plane, and the themes are endless, she said. Providing more insights she said that a learner of this art has to focus on the right mix of singing, narration, philosophy and humour while building a story. All assertions made during the katha are based on dharma.