"Culture is the widening of the mind and of the spirit. "
~ Jawaharlal Nehru

Karadi Tales: The Art of Story-telling

Karadi Tales was born when a young group of educationists and musicians decided to recreate the joy of Indian stories for children through the medium of Talking Books.

A few years ago, a young group of educationists and musicians decided to recreate the joy of Indian stories for children through the medium of Talking Books. Those more informed about the children's publishing scenario in India said this effort would not be sustainable because:

  • you can sustain Barbies and GI Joe's but the market for high quality children's books or audiobooks in India is too limited to offset the high creative costs.
  • the television explosion has had children addicted to cartoons and similar programming that they have no inclination to read or listen to stories anymore.
    Nevertheless, Karadi Tales was born, and the above assumptions were proved decisively wrong. Each title of Karadi Tales has gone into reprint in less than 12 months of its release.
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    The first title of Karadi Tales was launched in December 1996, featuring Naseeruddin Shah as Karadi, the bear. 14 titles have since been launched in the Karadi Tales, Karadi Tales Jr. and Under the Banyan series. 2 titles have been released in their Hindi series Karadi Katha, written and narrated by Gulzar, and in the Tamil series Karadi Kadhai, narrated by Nasser.

    In these times of excessive television, westernization and stressful education, Karadi has come to symbolize the antithesis of these trends by creating space for Indian culture in the child's mind, providing meaningful entertainment alternatives for kids and families and bringing fun into the development of early learning skills.

    Karadi Tales has brought together some of India's finest artistes including Naseeruddin Shah, Gulzar, Girish Karnad, Usha Uthup, Nandita Das, Nasser, Manna Dey, SP Balasubramaniam, Udit Narayan, Shankar Mahadevan and many more.

    Karadi Tales Mythology

    Karadi brings to life a world of gods and demons, kings and queens, a universe of times past. Stories from Indian mythology are woven and sung by Jnanpith Award winner and celebrated film and theatre personality Padmabhushan Girish Karnad, who plays the role of Karadi, the bear and sootradhar.The script, lyrics and direction is by Shobha Viswanath. Padmashri Thota Tharani adapts his unique style to communicate art to children, which exposes children to illustrations that are not childish, yet are appealing to the child. Like the art, the music steers away from the childish nursery rhyme format and incorporates Indian aesthetics. The acclaimed group, '3 Brothers & A Violin' have created the wonderful songs and background scores that make this an unparalleled storytelling experience.

    Under the Banyan

    The Under the Banyan series features folktales from different parts of India. With illustrations and music representative of the region, these stories form a complete cultural experience of different parts of India. The first four folktales in this series from Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Bihar were narrated by Usha Uthup. The mantle of sootradhar and storyteller has now been taken over by Nandita Das.

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    Editor: Romola Butalia       (c) India Travelogue. All rights reserved.