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Burhi Aai to cast her spell on listeners

Guwahati, Sept. 27: The wonder world of Burhi Aair Xadhu has leaped out from the black and white print to spread its charm to audio books.

Sanjeev Hazorika, the famed director of Haladhar (a Burhi Aair Xadhu story which was made into a film), has come out with the first Assamese audio book for children. It will be released here on Saturday under the banner of Purbanchal Audio Book. Popular Assamese actress Chetana Das has narrated the tales.

The tales have been given a drama form on the lines of radio programmes, with children speaking the dialogues, to help kids visualise the scenes and savour the narration as if listening to a grandmother.

Burhi Aair Xadhu is a set of amazing tales in Assamese written by Roxoraj Lakshminath Bezbaruah. The book was first published in October-November in 1911. Over the past 100 years, countless editions of the book have been published illustrating its evergreen popularity among children.

Nabin Baruah, producer of the audio book, said, "The common scene of a grandmother narrating tales to her grandchildren is missing from society. The audio book can give this feel to children. Besides, students of English medium schools who cannot read Assamese properly will also be able to enjoy the fascinating tales of Burhi Aair Xadhu."

Bandor aaru Xial, Dhowa Kauri aru Tiposi Sorai, Budhiyak Xial, Gongatop, Tejimola, Xorobjan and Burha Burhi are among the 10 tales picked by Hazorika from the book's 30 stories for the two-hour-long audio book. The other 20 will be narrated in two more audio books, he said.

"When we thought of a voice for the narration of the tales, the name of Chetana Das first came to our mind. In the audio book, while she narrates the tales, children give voice to different animals. This helps make the entire scene very clear," Hazorika said.

Thirteen children, in the age group of eight to 12 years, who took training in drama in two summer camps organised by the cultural organisation Surya, were chosen to lend their voice in the audio book.

Hazorika said the audio book is a tribute to the century-old magic of Burhi Aair Xadhu and its writer.

Baruah said if people accept this experimental project, they would publish audio books on Assamese poetry and novels as well. He hoped the book would receive a good response at Guwahati book fair, which will begin at Chandmari from October 2.

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