Middle East Calling

One-act play Antarang,which will be performed n Dubai at the Cultural Olympiad of Performing Arts,scrutinises the idea of religion and lost values

Written by Sneha Dey | Published: August 20, 2013 1:37 am

When Khalil Gibran wrote — “I love you when you bow in your mosque,kneel in your temple,pray in your church. For you and I are the sons of one religion,and it is the spirit”,he would have never thought the statement could stimulate an engineer to write a play based on his philosophy. The one-act play,Antarang,a fictional satire written and directed by Amey Pangarkar has been nominated as India’s official entry by Akhil Bharatiya Sanskrutik Sangh (ABSS)’s Global Council Of Arts and Culture for the third Cultural Olympiad of Performing Arts to be held in Dubai from December 26 onwards.

“Antarang is my feeling and perception on religion. The storyline reflects the truth about the society we live in and preaches about lost value system to the audience,” says Pangarkar. Set in a land named Janakpuri,Antarang journeys with its citizens,who follow three different ideologies — black,yellow and purple — with their respective ways of life,culture and standards

of living.

But the story takes a turn when one fine day,the king of Janakpuri,decides to pass a decree allowing 10 days after which all the citizens will have to wear the colour of the religion that has the best principles and customs. Antarang is the story of the ripple effect of the

decree during the 10 days before the king announces his decision.

Pangarkar is a strong believer in religion. “Just because I wrote this piece does not classify me as an atheist. Religion is my discipline,” comments the

23-year-old director,who has been performing with Hridgandha,an institute that has produced musicals such as Kadhi Vatate,Manatalya Athavani and Aghaaz. He says that Antarang is the first one-act play under Hridgandha.

To Pangarkar,the most interesting factor about Antarang is its cast,which comes from different backgrounds. Twenty five-year-old engineer Ishan Kulkarni has been into drama since his childhood. “Theatre is my passion,and I am one lucky person who gets to follow his passion wholeheartedly,” says Kulkarni,who has an important role in Antarang. Asked how the play came to him,Kulkarni says,“There was a time when I had absolutely no work. One day I was talking to a friend about my problems and he gave me Amey’s number. When I contacted him,things worked out well that right now I have a lead role in his story.”

About his role,Kulkarni says he is a neutral character witnessing all the riots that break out in Janakpuri and eventually gets affected by the social mutiny. Joining the group of engineers in the 14-member cast is microbiologist Prachi Deshpande playing the role of the leader of black religion. Deshpande,who has been involved in karandak (theatre competitions) and youth festivals throughout her college life,says,“Black signifies aggression,consequently my role is very combative and belligerent,exhibiting power and dominance.”

Following the legacy of Hridgandha that produces self-composed music,Devendra Bhome,the music composer for Antarang has created 15 tracks for the play. “The theme songs are based on different ideologies,whereas the shlokas and qawwali signify the end of war,” says the 25-year old music director. Accompanied by dholak player,tabla player,flautist,pakhavaj player and drummer,the team of two singers blend in classical and western flavours with the play.

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