Pandvani (also referred to as Pandavani) is a 3,000 year old epic storytelling tradition that still thrives in the rural, Chattisgarh region of central India. The name literally means the telling of the stories of the five brothers and the technique is used to tell the epic, The Mahabharata.
Traditional Pandvani represents a rare unbroken professional oral performative tradition that dates back to the Bronze Age. Performances last anything from a few hours to a couple of days. Traditional payment used to be a piece of cloth, a coconut and a nutmeg, but today a contribution of Rupees is also given according to the generosity and wealth of the patron.
Notable performers of Pandvani are Ritu Verna, Punaram Nishad, Riva Ram Gondeer and Teejan Bai.
In 2012, members from Pandvani108 trained with Ritu Verma and her Pandvani group as part of the Fabula Festival in Stockholm. In January 2015, Pandvani108 member, Emily, went to Chhattisggarh, Central India, on a search to find Ritu and watch a Pandvani performance in its original context. This short film shows a little of both the workshop and the India trip.