Did you know that 15-year old Renjini, living in Kerala’s remote Monippally village, is said to be the only living person in the world who enacts folktales with wooden string puppets on the tip of her lips? Or that Yurutse, nestled in Ladakh, is known as ‘Ek Ghar-Wala Gaon’ since the village only houses a family of three? These and many other lesser-known stories are unravelled on Untold Collective, an online portal started in May this year by eight Bengaluru-based professionals from various media backgrounds, who share a common passion for storytelling.
Three members of Untold Collective on India’s first fatbiking (bicycles with over-sized tyres) expedition to Chitkul, the last village on the Indo-Tibetan border, in Himachal Pradesh in winter
“The Untold Collective began as we felt the need to tell the incredible stories of people and places that we had stumbled upon during our travels. The idea was to build a collective of writers, photographers, designers and artists who witness untold stories and tell them in their truest, and most personal form,” shares co-founder Naveed Mulki. This evening, Mulki, along with co-founder Rishabh Malhotra, will delve deeper into the collective at Todi Mill Social. “We will also screen a few of our shorts to give a glimpse of what’s to come in the future,” he adds.
Yurutse is a village in the Hemis region in Ladakh. It has just one home where this family (in pic) of three resides
Behind the stories
While the platform is open to anyone for collaborations, the collective has an in-house editorial team that filters each story idea. “The only guideline for contributors is to give us a compelling story; we will accompany them and tell that story with them. We also get in touch with local experts who understand the story on a personal level,” elaborates Mulki.
An old electronics repair shop in Kolkata is part of a story on a 4 am radio show, published on the collective’s website
Team members have scoured around for the last of Halakki singers in Karnataka, taken up a fat-biking expedition to Chitkul (the last village on the Indo-Tibetan border) in winter to watch Himalayan snow in its full glory and even visited Kolkata to hear a radio show that began in 1931 and its pre-recorded version is still played once a year, on Mahalaya (during Durga Puja festivities) at 4 am.
A writer tracks the elusive predator with Snow Leopard Conservancy India Trust, Leh
“These stories help us connect with many other cultures. We have covered most parts of the country. There have been a few more stories from the Himalayas as that side of India fascinates us. Our most important collaboration has come from there, too. This was with the Snow Leopard Conservancy Trust of India in Leh to document the life of one of the world’s most experienced snow leopard spotters (Jigmet Dadul),” informs Malhotra.
Naveed Mulki, co-founder, Untold Collective
Rishabh Malhotra, co-founder, Untold Collective
“Another feature in the works is from Manipur, where one of our writers, Bhavita has collaborated with the local artists for a story that is yet to be published. We realise that the groundwork from the Internet will only take you so far. Our most compelling stories and collaborations have come when we stepped outside and dug a little deeper,” admits Mulki.
On Today, 5 pm AT Todi Mill Social, CS No 242, near Viva Center, Lower Parel (W). ENTRY Free
Log on to www.untold.in