PANDWANI – “The Narration of PANDAVAS” is an ancient folktale tradition of central India, specifically of Chhattisgarh state. Pandavas are the main characters of the Hindu epic Mahabharata. While performing Pandvani the narrator told the story of five brothers (Youdhistir, Bheem, Arjun, Nakul, sahdev), their mother, wife, and other main characters of Mahabharata by singing, narration, facial expression, and mimicry of the characters mostly in standing position. Classical musical instruments like tabla, harmonium, and tamboura are used, among them, tambura has special importance. Tambura is used by the narrator as a tool during the performance, it becomes Bhim’s Gada (mace), Arjuna’s bow and rath (chariot), and sometimes Draupadi’s hair.
Pandwani is not new yet it is only recognized after Smt. Teejan Bai. A personality awarded by all three highest honors of India Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan for epic Pandvanani performance by her. She started her journey of Pandwani Gayan at her early age in local village and took its prosperity and popularity internationally. Teejan bai awarded FUKUOKA prize (is awarded for outstanding work in preserving Asian culture) in 2018. Her Journey was not easy because in 1980s this culture was male dominated and performed at night, it is really not easy for a young to girl to step outside at that time. But her love towards this Pandwani gave her courage to perform despite of all rudeness and bitterness of society. She is the first lady Pandwani artist. She take her struggle not as excuse but as ladder of success.
Pandvani has two version VEDAMATI & KAPALIKA SHAILI. The former is old version in which narrator performs in a sitting position and the later one KAPALIKA is popular in which narrator narrates with act, sing, and mimicry in standing position and moves to enact. Mrs. Teejan bai performs in KAPALIKA version. Her wearing for stage is traditional style, uses traditional gems like neckless of jewelry (putri), red bindi, and wrappes sari in Chhattishgarhi traditional style to save her heritage and show her love and respect towards it. When she steps stage in this style, her persona reflects queen of Paandvani is coming. During performance every character is inside her. She makes her audiences cry, laugh, smile through her performance. Smt. Teejan Bai is awarded by Sangeet Ntak Akademi Award in 1955, which is the highest Indian award in the field of art and music.
Teejan Bai born on 8 August 1956 in a small village Ganiyario f Durg district state Chhattisgarh. She born in a Pardhi family, Tribes of Chhattisgarh. Once she heard her maternal grandfather while he was performing Pandwani, the draupadi cheerharan part which influenced her from inside that she now become brand of Pandwani. At age 13, she performed first time in front of public in the standing position which is contrary to the traditional sitting style. With the time she become master of PANDWANI and performs in KAPALIKA SHAILI of PANDWANI, which becomes more fascinating, loved and appreciated by audiences. She performed in many countries like FRANCE, GERMANY, PARIS,... and make India PROUD. In 2003 she has been awarded by Hon. D Litt. by Bilaspur University.
From the past time Pandwani is not only performed for entertainment purposes, but it also has educational importance. It give lessons of ethics and morals of life, in today’s language do’s and dont’s of life. Teejan Bai performance style is different. During the Pandwani she also sings songs which makes it more fascinating. Smt. Teejan Bai, not only saves the traditional culture but also popularize it among today’s generation. Teejan Bai is that Kohinur which multiplies the value of Crown (Pandwani).