Friday , 18 January 2019
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Stories of the travelling storytellers
Foundonallfours an artists’ collective, is on a ten-city tour around India. NT BUZZ caught up with them on their stopover in Goa

Stories of the travelling storytellers

CHRISTINE MACHADO | NT BUZZ

It’s work as usual at 91Springboard, Panaji. Laptops are open, meetings are being conducted, calls are being attended to. The scene is suddenly interrupted by the sound of percussions as a group of people that suddenly break into song, and people gather around wondering what is going on.

And this is precisely what Foundonallfours is all about. An artists’ collective who tell stories through words, verses, fire, movement, puppets, art and more, the group was founded about two years ago, by Anoop Chugh (a former creative head at an advertising agency, who hails from Delhi) is currently on a ten-city tour around India busking in streets, pubs, cafes, living rooms, popular hubs for tourists, at street signals, and classrooms over a month.

“It is a journey to meet as many strangers as possible and tell them stories. A lot of artists have joined me along the way. In fact, in this tour itself we have had various artists be it poets, dancers, writers etc, basically anyone who has a story to tell, collaborating with us on performances,” says Anoop, adding that over the last two years they have 200-500 people collaborating with them.  A few however have become a core part of the group including Vikas Gupta, Abhishek Malik, Sabita Muzaffar and Kavita Malviya.

Explaining their unique name, Anoop says, “When we are on all fours we are like toddlers in crawling position. And toddlers are the most curious, which is what we want to be,” he says.

And a lot of venues are quite open to letting them perform, says Anoop. “I think they are tired of the bands and stand-up comedian acts and are looking for something new. We give them a mix of different arts under one roof. People don’t know what they are going to watch, in fact a lot of times they become part of the performance too,” he says.

The ongoing tour has already given them quite a few memories to cherish. “Our train to Goa was extremely late and all the passengers were restless. So, we decided to start busking. For three hours there was pin drop silence as they listened to us,” recalls Anoop. At Hampi too, they decided to do an impromptu performance while they were waiting for a boat to cross the river. “Kavita began some freestyle poetry which went something like this ‘Why so grumpy, this is Hampi…’ That line became our anthem during our time there with people reciting it to us too,” narrates Anoop. While until recently the group was run only on voluntary donations, they have now begun doing corporate training sessions. “Everyone is a story teller in the corporate world. But they usually make the same old presentations either on PowerPoint or Excel. We try and give them new ways by which they call sell their ideas or tell their stories in a more fun way,” says Anoop.

And while storytelling as an art form appears to be quite the trend around India at the moment, Anoop states that India has always been a storytelling nation. “India is filled with folklore, god and mythological characters. There are stories all around us. In small towns, you still find people sitting under a tree and telling stories both fictional and real. It is only that now it has become more of an urban thing too,” he says.

Following their performance at 91 Springboard, Panaji and Saraya, Sangolda, the group will also be performing at Escobar, Vagator on January 13, 5 p.m. They are also looking at busking on the beach.

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