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  Behind the scenes
Karadi
A bachelor bear of indeterminate age. Lives in the forests of India and loves to tell stories. Has a huge repertoire of tales, fables and myths from India and from all over the world. Not a trained musician, but can sing very well. A pure vegetarian, he loves honey. Good friends of Meera the monkey and Dhondu the donkey. Much loved by all forest animals and by children everywhere.
The Banyan
A remarkable tree of the Indian peninsula. Sends down from its branches great numbers of shoots, which take root and become new trunks. Usually lives up to eighty or hundred year. Has large heart-shaped leaves and small blossoms followed by cherrylike scarlet fruit which furnishes food for birds and monkeys. Usually a place where people gather in the evenings and exchange news and share stories.

The following actors and musicians from Indian cinema and theatre have lent their voices to Karadi and the Banyan.
Naseeruddin Shah
Born in Barabanki in 1950 and educated at the National School of Drama in Delhi and the FTII, Naseeruddin Shah is an important icon of Hindi cinema and Indian Theatre.

Naseeruddin has gained a fair amount of success in commercial cinema and in art films too. Naseer's career started when Shyam Benegal noticed him and cast him in Nishant in 1975, and Manthan and Bhumika in 1976. One of his most intense performances was in Saeed Mirza's Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Aata Hai in 1980.

Apart from acting, Naseeruddin Shah has also directed English and Hindi plays in which he also acts with wife Ratna Pathak. Awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2003, Naseer continues to direct and act in films. His foray into Hollywood has been with The League of Extraordinary gentlemen.

Performances in the CD:
The Road not taken : Robert Frost, Evil Wins When Good Men Walk Away: Sanjay Kapil, Ozymandias: P.B. Shelley, The frog and the nightingale: Vikram Seth. Teach me to listen lord: Anonymous, To Blossoms: Robert Herrick,Confessions of a born spectator: Ogden Nash, The Plate of gold: Leigh Hunt, of mothers among other things: A.K. Ramanujan, The Duck and the Kangaroo: Edward Lear, The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock, T.S. Eliot, Telephone Conversation, Wole Soyinka, Let me not to the marriage of True minds: William Shakespear, Ode to a Nightingale: John Keats.
Titles Narrated : The Blue Jackal | The Monkey and the Crocodile | The Crows and the Serpent | The Foolish Lion | KT CD ROM1.
Usha Uthup
Usha Uthup or Didi as she is fondly referred to, was born in independent India of parents who came from the traditionally rich states of Madras and Kerala and was raised in the bustling metropolis of Mumbai.

With her gifted, velvet, smooth voice she was the only Indian artist to have recorded six albums in English with HMV/EMI. Today she sings in more than thirteen Indian and eight foreign languages.

If there is a legend bridging the East and the West, it is Usha. With her music and charm, she has transcended the barriers of caste, creed, language and nationality. Accolades have come from all over the world and she has sung for Prime Ministers and Presidents alike. Indira Gandhi, Jomo Kenyatta, Daniel Arap Moi and more recently Nelson Mandela have all been her ardent admirers. Her endearing charm and powerful vocal chords have given Usha fans of all ages, from all over the world.
Titles Narrated : Hiss Don't Bite | A Curly Tale | Magic Vessels | Eyes on the Peacock's tail | Karadi Rhymes 1 | Karadi Rhymes 2
Nandita Das
Daughter of Jatin Das, famous painter and Varsha, a book editor, she was exposed to art, literature, dance, and drama very early on. After doing her masters in social work she worked with an NGO - Ankur and then for Alarippu, a children's organization. Acting started with Safdar Hashmi's Jan Natya Manch, a group that focused on taking up issues. Proscenium theatre with Barry Jones, Habib Tanvir, Kiran and stage productions like 'Mother' and 'Lights Out' followed.

Then Parineti, her debut film happened followed by Ek Thi Gunja. She has been most famous for her controversial role in Deepa Mehta's "Fire" opposite Shabana Azmi involving a lesbian relationship. Hazaar Chaurasi Ki Maa, Rockford, 1947 Earth, Hari Bhari, Bawandar for which she won The Best Actress award at the Santa Monica Film Festival and Aks are her other releases so far.

She's not in the movies for fame, glamour or money. If films didn't give her the same thrill that they do now, she would just as easily go back to teaching or dancing. She was a teacher for a while and learnt Odissi for 12 years.
Titles Narrated : Mazzoo Mazzoo | All Free | Sweet and Salty | Wrestling Mania |The Story of my Experiments with Truth.
Saeed Jaffery
Born in Maler Kotla, Punjab, India. Saeed Jaffrey attended the University of Allahabad where he completed his postgraduate degree in history. He started his career in drama, as the founder of his own English theatre company called the Unity Theatre, in New Delhi between 1951 and 1956.

He played a wide variety of roles in comedy and drama with equal ease and enthusiasm. In 1956, he finished his studies at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. He went to the United States on a Fulbright scholarship and took a second post-graduate degree in drama from the Catholic University in America.

He became an active member of the Actors' Studio in New York. Here, he was noted for his acting in the play "Nights" and his role as the "Nawab" in Granada Television's adaptation of "The Jewel in the Crown".

His performance in the BBC classic Gangsters (1975) (TV), as "Rafiq" earned him countrywide recognition in the United Kingdom. He started off his film career in the movie Guru, The (1969), and since then has made numerous film appearances along with Hollywood stars such as Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Pierce Brosnan etc. He has, since then, worked with directors such as Satyajit Ray, James Ivory, David Lean and Richard Attenborough.

He is the first Asian to have received British and Canadian Academy Award nominations for acting, and is the first ever to be awarded the Order of the British Empire for his services to drama.
Titles Narrated : The Four Friends | The Musical Donkey | The Monkey King | Karadi Tales Junior | Karadi Tales Bilingual
Girish Karnad
Girish Karnad is one of India's brightest shining stars, earning international praise as a playwright, poet, actor, director, critic, and translator. He earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Mathematics and Statistics in 1958, and upon graduation went to England to study at Oxford. There he earned a Rhodes Scholarship and went on to receive a Master of Arts Degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics.

By the time Tughlaq, a compelling allegory on the Nehruvian era, was performed by the National School of Drama, Karnad had established himself as one of the most promising playwrights in the country. He soon quit his post at the Oxford University Press, deciding to focus all of his energies on his writing.

For four decades, Karnad has continued to compose top-notch plays, often using history and mythology to tackle contemporary themes. He has also forayed into the jungle of cinema, working alternately as an actor, director, and screenwriter, and earning numerous awards along the way.

Jnanpith Award (1999)
The Padma Bhushan Award (1992)
Titles Narrated : Karadi Tales Mythology series | Wings of Fire
Nasser
Born in 1958, in a village called Naththam, in Chengalpet district, Tamilnadu, Nassar joined the Film Institute in Chennai and received his diploma in acting. His debut as an actor was in K.Balachander's film "Kalyana Agathigal". Since then, he has acted in more than 190 films which include Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Hindi and English language films. Several accolades and awards later, apart from films, Nassar currently is involved in conducting theatre and acting workshops for children.

Titles Narrated : Karadi Kadhai series | Karadi Tales Bilingual series(Tamil/ English)
Gulzar
Poet, Lyricist, Writer, Director - Gulzar is one of those people whose work is laced with the lyrical but psychologically adept examination of human sensibilities.

He was born Sampooran Singh in Deena, Jhelum District (now in Pakistan). After the partition, he came to Delhi. He started as a poet and was associated with the Progressive Writers Association (PWA). Gulzar then joined Bimal Roy Productions in 1961.

Gulzar turned filmmaker with Mere Apne (1971). Gulzar went on to make Parichay (1972) loosely based on Sound of Music (1964) and Koshish (1972), a sensitive look at the travails of a deaf - dumb couple superbly played by Sanjeev Kumar and Jaya Bhaduri. With these films also began a mutually beneficial partnership with Sanjeev Kumar.

Mirza Ghalib (1988) a TV serial made on the great poet's life and starring Naseeruddin Shah as Ghalib was a landmark in the history of Indian Television as Gulzar vividly recreated Ghalib's life and times. Besides this Gulzar also directed documentaries on Amjad Ali Khan and Pandit Bhimsen Joshi apart from completing Sukhdev's film Shaira on Meena Kumari.

Gulzar has been honoured time and again for his work. This includes winning the National Award thrice and has also won the Filmfare Award 14 times.

Gulzar is also the author of books on poetry, a book of short stories and a dozen books for children. A story book for children Ekta received an award from the National Council for Education Research and Training (NCERT) in 1989.
Titles Narrated : Karadi Katha series | Parwaaz | Bandar Bindas Bandar
Vairamuthu
Born in 1953 in Madurai district of Tamil Nadu is a reputed Tamil poet and star lyricist. His poetry reflects his staunch commitment to the progressive ideas of the Dravidian Movement on the one hand, and a playful romanticism on the other. While retaining the traditional elements of alliteration, rhythm, and a flavor of classical language with deep nostalgia for the Tamil past, Vairamuthu's poetry is quintessentially modern in its choice of themes and forms. His poems are full of beautiful imagery, both poignant and ecstatic. As a lyricist for films, he is regarded as the true inheritor of the great legacy of Kannadasan.
He has been awarded National Filmfare Award four times for the best lyrics. He has participated in many literary meetings and poetry festivals in India and abroad. He is a recipient of Kalaimamani Award and Tamil Nadu State Government award thrice for his contribution to Tamil literature.
Titles Narrated : Agni Chiragugal
Shobhana
Shobhana is an exponent of the Bharatanatyam dance and a leading actress of South Indian motion pictures. She was born into a Malayalam speaking family from Kerala, India. Shobhana is the niece of the Travancore sisters Lalitha, Padmini and Ragini, all of whom, who were renowned for their skill in classical Indian dance.
Shobhana acted for the first time in a leading role in the Malayalam motion picture "April 18" (1984), directed by Balachandra Menon. She also acted alongside the Malayalam actor Mammootty in the film Kanamarayathu (1984). Shobhana won her first National Award from for best performance as an actress in 1994 for the film Manichitrathazhu . She bagged a second National award for best actress in the year 2002 for her role in an English language film Mitr: My Friend.
Titles Narrated : The Recognition of Shakuntala
Shekhar Kapur
Shekhar Kapur is known as one of the globe's most critically acclaimed film directors and impresarios. Shekhar was the master behind the controversial film Bandit Queen that gained International attention when it was banned by the Indian government. He has since gone on to direct noted films in both Bollywood and Hollywood including the 8-time Oscar Nominated Elizabeth. Shekhar Kapur's illustrious gifts also extend beyond the screen. He is the cocreator and Executive Producer of Bombay Dreams, a music driven theatrical love story that played to packed houses and critical acclaim in London's West End for almost two years and is now on Broadway. Shekhar's own upcoming projects include a biographical feature based on the life of South African leader Nelson Mandela as well as the India based drama Water. Today Shekhar Kapur is widely hailed as the first 'Bollywood' director to cross over to Hollywood and bring with him the ancient continent's penchant for flare, music, drama, and epic story telling.
Titles Narrated : The Story of my Experiments with Truth
Tom Alter
A familiar face in Hindi films and English theatre, a veteran master of ceremonies, a sports commentator and writer. Chameleon-like, Tom Alter dons different caps with ease. Son of an American Presbyterian Church missionary couple in North India, Tom Alter has made a name for himself in India's film and stage scene. Acting in about 200 Hindi movies over last 30 years, Tom has played a variety of characters, a British army officer, a helicopter pilot, a villain, an Indian freedom fighter. Born and brought up in the Himalayan resort town of Mussorie, Alter is fluent in Indian languages. He is also a writer and a cricket commentator.
Titles Narrated : Karadi Tales Bilingual (Hindi/ English)
Gareth Armstrong
A former member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Gareth Armstrong has performed the Bard’s works in over thirty countries. As a regular broadcaster with the BBC, Gareth has also worked as a writer, performer and presenter. In 2004 he was a recipient of the Jewish Cultural Media Award for his work on the radio documentary, “The Blood Libel”. As a voice-artist he records commentaries, audio-books and commercials. He has directed productions in theatres all over Britain.

Performances in the CD:
Ode to the west wind: P.B. Shelley, Mirror: Sylvia Plath, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner: S.M. Coleridge, Sympathy: Paul Dunbar, Survivors: Seigfried Sassoon,, Ars Poetica: Archibald Macleish, Ode to Autumn: John Keats, Sally in Our Alley: Henry Carey, Nothing Will Die: William Wordsworth, Address to a child: Dorothy Wordsworth, The Sea: james Reeves, The Noble Nature: Ben Johnson, Written in early spring: William Wordsworth, Once upon a time: Gabriel Okara, Break Break Break: A.L. Tennyson.
Shernaz Patel
is one of the best-known faces of Indo-English theatre and has been a part of the english theatre movement in India for the past 20 years. Her recent success in Indian cinema has been with her debut in the film Black in 2004. Her theatre work includes Molly Sweeney, Breathe In Breathe Out, Love Letters , The Sightless (for Vanishing Point at the Tron Theatre, Glasgow) and The Three Lives of Lucie Cabrol (Edinburgh Festival). She also conducts acting and voice workshops in India and abroad.

Performances in the CD:
Freedom: Tagore, Palanquin Bearers:Sarojini Naidu, A legend of the Northland: Phoebe Cary, Wind: Subramania Bharathi, Open thy eyes and see God: Tagore, Lord Ullin’s daughter: Thomas Campbell, Our Land: Subramania Bharati, Curtain: Helen Spalding Night of the Scorpion: Nissim Ezeikel, Gitanjali(60):Rabindranath Tagore, The world is too much with us: William Wordsworth, The Brook: Tennyson,I cannot remember my mother: Tagore, The Ballad of Father Gilligan: W.B. Yeats,The Dry Salvages: T.S. Eliot, Coming :Philip Larkin, Felling of the Banyan Tree: Dilip Chitre, Refugee Blues: W. H. Auden, A Psalm of Life: H.W. Longfellow,The Peacock: Sujata Bhatt .
Dhritiman Chaterji
Dhritiman Chaterji commenced his acting career in 1970 as the protagonist of Satyajit Ray's Pratidwandi (The Adversary). Most of his acting work has been in the parallel or independent cinema, with filmmakers such as Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen and Aparna Sen, among others. He has also worked in English with well-known filmmakers such as Jane Campion. He has received several acting awards in India and has been on the Jury of the Indian National film Awards.

Performances in the CD:
The Inchcape Rock: Robert Southey, The Solitary Reaper: Wordsworth, , A Doctor’s Journal Entry: Vikram Seth,All the world’s a stage :William Shakespeare, Rain on the roof:Coates Kinney, The Lake Isle of Innisfree: W.B. Yeats, Anjamil and the Tigers: Arun Kolatkar, For Elkana: Nissim Ezekiel, On Killing a tree: Gieve Patel, No men are Foreign: James Kirkup, A slumber did my spirit seal: William Wordsworth, Mother Tongue: Padma Sachdeva, Hawk Roosting: Ted Hughes, The Snake Trying:WW.E.Ross.
Boman Irani
is a theatre and film actor. He started his career as a photographer, but soon expanded to theatre. He portrayed Mahatma Gandhi in the play Mahatma vs. Gandhi. He made his film debut in the year 2000. He then shot to fame when he appeared in Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. (2003) as the eccentric Dr. J.C. Asthana and in the sequel, Lage Raho Munna Bhai (2006). He has appeared in many Bollywood films playing a variety of character and supporting roles ranging from comic roles.

He lends his voice as JRD Tata in the audiobook Beyond the Last Blue Mountain: A Life of JRD
 Artists