Friday, July 27, 2012

Mix Veg in Hot Garlic Sauce – A Review

Not having seen a play for past few weeks because of traveling and other commitments, I was happy to see a long list of plays being staged in Delhi over the weekend. It was a little hard to choose, but I chose a play by a group of engineering graduates and students. Maybe it was do something with the engineer inside. I got a chance to speak with the Director of the play Hemant Kathuria. He developed passion for theatre after meeting and working with IIT alumni from 1981 who have taken their passion of theatre as seriously as their corporate careers. This is his 7th stage production.

About the play:
Language: Hindi

This play is based on a popular play called ‘Fools’. It is about trials and tribunes of a man in a village which is cursed for stupidity for 200 years. The curse can go away under two conditions – either at least one of the villagers gets educated or a girl truly falls in love with a man and gets married. Such a situation creates lots of opportunities for having the audience in splits. The humor comes out of the innocence and stupidity of the characters. The intellectuals among us might take is an extension and exaggeration of the ignorant and stupid part present among each one of us. The characters are well crafted, dramatic and sometimes over the top. A Punjabi speaking ‘Nawaab Sahab’ dancing in ghaghra choli, might sound tacky but its not. However there are parts where I did feel that the routine of high stupidity gets old, over all the play is not boring especially when you think it has ended but it just has taken a different turn. The teacher who believes that he can cure the people of their stupidity, goes through a sea of emotions – surprise, annoyance and love. Annoyance and Love come in hand-in-hand for all of us but not like it did in this play. The innocence or rather stupidity of all characters is brought out via there understanding of simple things like rain and medicines. However, you do wonder how the village has been able to survive all this while. Maybe that is my over analytical mind speaking. The play has elements of Hindi masala movie – love triangle, dance, humor and even suspense. Though I thoroughly enjoyed the play, there were some things which can be worked upon. There characters can be given a little more uniqueness and identity. I absolutely loved the character of the sheep herder and Nawab Sahab. I apologies for not getting the cast correct but I think their characterization an presentation was the most hilarious and they performed their job with great enthusiasm. And one has to absolutely love the over zealous mother for whom just walking around the room is a song and dance event. 

To conclude, this was a play which isn't too bad, though do not expect that it would keep you in splits all through.  You will go back home happy of an evening well spent but you might end up feeling it is just wee bit away from being a masterpiece.

One thing which the group can improve is the overall time management. The play started late and the break in between was also longer than the said time. Other than that, I would wish them all the very best for their other shows.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Plays in Delhi - June 16 and June 17 Weekend

Here is a list of Plays happening in Delhi on over the Weekend

Date: June 16 2012
Play: Ishq Da Syaapa.. Daughter-In-Law Weds Papa
Play By: Do now know!
Venue: Alliance Francaise de Delhi, 72, Lodhi Estate , Lodhi Road , Delhi
Time: 06:30 PM
About the play: Directed by: Vineet Chopra
Play is in Punjabi. So if you thought that 'gal' is just a slang for girl, you might struggle to understand this play. 
The Punjabi version of the world famous comedy The Miser by French playwright Moleire. Lala Kirori Mal is a very cautious, distrustful miser who is always looking at how to save every single penny. Everything turns chaotic when Lala falls in love with a young girl Preeto and declares to his family that he is going to marry her.

Date: June 16 2012 and June 17 2012 (Both Days)
Play: Blood Wedding
Play By: NSD Summer Theatre Festival
Venue:  National School of Drama, Bahawalpur House, 1 Bhagwandas Road, New Delhi
Time: 06:30 PM
About the play: Directed by Neelam Man Singh Chowdhary

Play: Mohan Das
Play By: Shri Ram Centre Repertory Company presents, Summer Weekend Theatre festival
Venue:  Shri Ram Centre,  # 4, Safdar Hashmi Marg, New Delhi 
Time: 06:30 PM
About the play:  Directed by : Uday Prakash

Play: Log Baag
Play By:Asmita Theatre Group (Asmita Theatre Summer Festival)
Venue:Amphitheatre, IHC, Lodhi Road, New Delhi
Time: 07:30 PM
About the Play: 'Log Baag' (A comic Satire play). Play Based on Stories by Anton Chekhov. Directed by Arvind Gaur. Written by Neil Simon.

Play: Baghdad Wedding
Play By: Play. Dir. Akarsh Khurana Prod. Akvarious Productions
Venue: Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44, Gurgaon

Time: 07:30 PM
About the Play: Hassan Abdulrazzak's first play not only covers an enormous amount of territory, it also reminds us of the infinite human contradictions within any nation. From cosmopolitan London to the chaos of war-ravaged Baghdad, this is the tale of three friends, torn between two worlds, which grapple with their cultural, political and sexual identities. And of one wedding that goes horribly wrong. Featuring Nimrat Kaur, Karan Pandit and Faisal Rashid with Adhir Bhat, Hussain Dalal, Sarang Sathaye, Sumeet Vyas and others.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Review - "Ambedkar Aur Gandhi" Play by Asmita Theatre Group

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and M K Gandhi – two founding fathers of independent modern India. One would assume that wise men think alike. However, sometimes two wise people think so differently that it is hard to imagine that they might have the same goal.

“Ambedkar Aur Gandhi” is a stage play by Asmita Theatre Group - directed by Arvind Gaur, is about the different approaches and ideologies followed by these two leaders for upliftment of harijan class. It is set in pre and post independent era (off-course) when India is about to get independent and a new constitution is to introduced which would benefit all. The play is one long debate between these leaders and several monologues of how they want to solve the problem of casteism and give equal rights to all. I will not delve into who says what because it is a political debate - which this whole play is about.

Watching this play was one of the most intellectually stimulating experiences I have had in my life. We have heard of movies, TV serials, plays and other shows which people say you should watch and enjoy ‘by keeping your brains at home’. This is absolutely opposite of that. Just to understand and comprehend the conversation, one would need their brains working at full capacity. Someone like me will have to borrow neighbour’s brain to process all the information, language and deep ideology in this play. The script is much more than just a literal master piece written in impeccable language. Playwright Rajesh Kumar did extensive research and the content is gathered from several of the letters exchanged between Bapu and Ambedkar. Music by Dr Sangeeta Gaur and poetry by Avataar Singh Paash add much more depth and richness to the act. You will be lost in the lyrical and musical harmony and I struggled to grasp the deep meaning of the words.

It is written after extensive research and showcases the different approaches by Dr Ambedkar and Babu. It also talks about how Dr Ambedkar was one of the first people from a lower caste who attained influence through sheer hard work and achievements while battling discrimination. The one I saw had Bajrang Bali Singh playing Ambedkar and Viren Basoya playing Gandhi. These two actors have come so close to on-stage characterization of these leaders that the image would be set in your minds. We grew up watching Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi movie on Gandhi Jayanti and the image of Ben Kingsley as Gandhi is imbedded in our minds. After watching this play, now I have more than one image of Gandhi and Ambedkar in my mind. This is how close they get to personifying these two personalities from history books.

I will recommend this to everyone but this is no walk in the park, sit back relax and enjoy the play production. Your brains would be working overtime while watching it. You will go back home thinking. While musicals serenade your ears, comedies tickle your funny bone, debates stimulate our vocal chords this stage rendition of one of the most important, but lesser known, events of India is a stimulant for brain. So if you are going to watch this play, ideally it would be great if you could read about it – debate between Ambedkar and Gandhi or at the very least, put your thinking caps on. In this era of dumb television and movies sometimes you have to turn to theater to keep your brain from becoming a vegetable.

Play Details:

Play Name: Ambedkar Aur Gandhi
Director: Mr. Arvind Gaur
Written by: Mr. Rajesh Kumar
Music: Dr Sangeeta Gaur
Songs and Poetry Written by: Avataar Singh (Paash)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Delhi Play Schedule. May 26 and May 27

Thanks to summers there are several plays happening in Delhi over the weekend and beyond. Keeping up with my promise to bring to you the latest in Delhi theatre circuit, I am presenting the schedule of plays of your reference. Feel free to share it with your friends and family

Delhi Play Schedule for May 26 and May 27

National School of Drama (NSD) Summer Theatre Festival 2012

The Annual theatre festival from NSD is back. See impressive mix of classic plays and productions such as "Begum ka Takia" and  "Blood Wedding". 

NSD Summer Theatre Festival
Dates From: May 25 2012 To: June 18 2012


Play: Old Town
Dates: Everyday from May25 Until May 30 2012
Time: 07:30 PM
Venue: NSD lawns, Opposite bookshop, NSD, Bhagwan Dass Road, New Delhi
About the Play: Design & Direction: 
Roysten Abel. The play is based on a carnival, in which a family tries to keep alive an ancient 2,000 year old performance art tradition. It has Rajasthan puppetry, Kudiyattam, nautanki and also see acrobats perform and listen to sufi singers. 

Play: Comrade Khumbhakran
Dates: Everyday from May 31 until June 2 2012
Time: 06:30 PM
Venue: Kamani Auditorium, Copernicus Marg, New Delhi
About the Play: Direction: Mohit Talwar. 
Comic story of a man obsessed with playing the role of Khumbhakran in Ramayana. 

Play: Begum ka Takia
Dates: Everyday from June12 Until June 15 2012
Time: 06:30 PM
Venue: Kamani Auditorium, Copernicus Marg, New Delhi
About the Play: Director: Yashraj Jadhav. 
It is a story of two brothers; one is a simpleton and the other ambitious. The latter leaves for the city and gets involved with a courtesan who introduces him to new flavors of life. After achieving his dreams, he returns back to his village to his brother lives and what unfolds is a plethora of unexpected emotions and bitter sweet happenings. This is a story of their lives as narrated by them.
Play: Blood Wedding
Dates: Everyday from June16 Until June 18 2012
Time: 06:30 PM
Venue: NSD (National School of Drama), Bhagwan Dass Road, New Delhi
About the Play: Director: Neelam Man Singh Chaudhary

Friday, May 18, 2012

Review - Ek Mamooli Aadmi

I will be reviewing plays when I see them. "Ek Mamooli Aadmi" is being staged on this weekend at IHC. I thought it would help that I share my views on the play with my audience (are there any?) :) 

PS: Some of the actors might have changed since I saw it. 
“We distinguish the excellent man from the common man by saying that the former is the one who makes great demands on himself, and the latter who makes no demands on himself.”
Jose Ortega y Gasset quotes (Spanish philosopher and humanist , 1883-1955

These lines very well describe the underlying theme of a riveting play by Asmita Theatre Group. Written by Ashok Lal and Directed by Arvind Gaur, this play tells the life and death theory of Shri Ishwar Chand Awasthi. You can either see it as a theatrical personification of the world’s most famous common man by RK Laxman we all grew up seeing in the morning newspaper or you could see it as a journey of a person who lived like a nobody died as a nobody but unintentionally touched hearts of many just by doing what he was supposed to do. Wonderfully put together screenplay and the script raises several issues, without making a particular issue the center of it all. Beginning seems like a mystery play with the son of a dead head clerk wondering why Brahmins won’t come to last rites of a person they were worshipping a few days ago. The mystery slowly unfolds as a story of his father who hardly ever spoke to anyone, spent his life as a loner despite living with his son who at one point was the sole purpose of his existence.  The scene where the protagonist was introduced establishes the very crux of the play. I still remains fresh in my head. I did not notice when he came onto the stage and started to listen. Every things seems usual except Mr Awasthi’s attitude. He starts to change – he loses his ‘virginity’, spends a day with a female colleague much to her surprise and appreciation, takes a decision against powerful people, loses their favor but earns something he never intended to earn – tears of a few underprivileged people when he leaves this world quietly.
I have seen several of Asmita’s play. I found the strength of each play very different from the other. While ‘Operation Three Star’ would tickle your funny bone, ‘Ambedkar aur Gandhi’ would stimulate you intellectually, ‘Ramkali’ will send you tears through your eyes ‘Ek Mamooli Aadmi’ has one of the best character development I have seen on stage. How wonderfully the character of Mr Awasthi develops and you get to understand the psyche of a common man is what this play’s USP is. Viren Basoya has beautifully depicted a very ordinary common man supported by Bajrang Bali Singh as a well intentioned alcoholic we all love to hate – because they can say the truth.
If you haven’t seen the play already, the play is being staged on May 19th and May 20th 2012 at IHC at 7:30 PM

Plays on May 19th and May 20th Weekend in Delhi

I will be posting about Plays in Delhi  as they happen. Please keep visiting so that you do not miss out on them.

This is Publicly available data. Dates and Venues might change. 

For tickets, visit venue or

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Theatre for Change, Theatre for Society - Weekend Theatre Workshop by Asmita

Asmita Theatre Group organizes summer theatre workshop for all age groups on weekends. Its called - Theatre for Change, Theatre for Society (TCTS) as their aim is to promote theatre as a platform for creating awareness about social issues. I have been a theater lover for a long time, but TCTS was my first connection with a large set of theatre lovers, artists and experienced actors. Not only did I learn some important techniques and movements as the first step to learning acting, I performed, for the first time, in front of live audience in the form of a street play. I also made loads of friends with common interest in the field. 

I would strongly recommend people who have any inclination towards acting, theatre or learning a new skill to participate in this workshop. This workshop is organised keeping in mind school students, college students and working professionals - hence the weekend timings in summers. This is a free workshop so you cannot use the "Funds Issue" as an excuse for this. 
Not only will you learn something new, you will have a great time,  and make good friends. I am not sure if I will be able to join this time but would definitely try. 

This workshop coincides with  Asmita's Summer Theatre Festival and the TCTS students are given a chance to prepare short street plays during the workshop (and after) to perform in front of live audience, just before the play.

Link to FB Event:

Event: Summer Theatre Workshop by Asmita - Theatre for Change, Theatre for Society
Starting: May 19 at 9:00am 
Ending: July 8 at 1:00pm
Basically, every Saturday and Sunday at 09:00 AM starting May19th until July 8th. 
What to Carry: Positive Attitude, loads of energy, food (for your friends) and lots and lots of water.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Welcome to "Theatre in Delhi"

I would like to welcome all to this new blog about Theatre scene in Delhi NCR. Unlike a few years ago, a lot of theatre is happening in Delhi and theatre lovers have never had it so good. Through this blog, readers can read about plays happening in Delhi, information about theatre groups, information about theatre classes, reviews of various plays and everything to bring you up to speed about theatre scene in Delhi. I am neither an actor not associated with any particular theatre group but just a theatre lover.
I strongly believe that not only does theatre provide intellectual stimulation compared to watching idiot box, it is also a healthy and potent medium to bring forth issues in society and have people start thinking about them.

I would request theatre groups and event companies holding plays in Delhi NCR to please send me an email informing me about the upcoming events which will be duly shared here. I will also be inviting other theatre lovers to share their reviews about plays they have watched. Their review would be duly shared with due credits.