‘The Golden Era of Balwant Gargi’, a musical and theatre presentation dedicated to Balwant Gargi, the renowned playwright and theatre director, to commemorate his first birth centenary (December 4, 2016) was organised at Chandigarh University.
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Excerpts from three plays written by Gargi were enacted by a team of actors led by theatre director and playwright Dr Atamjit Singh. The entire story unfolded little by little, as the audience got closer to Gargi’s work, and as actors performed scenes from ‘Kanak Di Balli, Razia Sultan’ and ‘Loha Kutt’. Music was an integral and significant aspect of the play, as a live chorus presented music composed and arranged by noted Punjabi music director, Atul Sharma.
The show began with Dr. Atamjit Singh, director of the musical and theatre presentation highlighting the life of the writer who took Indian and Punjabi theatre to an international level.
“The writings and plays of Balwant Gargi were way ahead of the time as he projected issues pertaining to man-woman relationships, and social issues concerning women at the time when it was considered to be indecent in society,” said Dr. Atamjit. Referring to Gargi as a pioneer of Punjabi Theatre, Dr Atamjit added that Gargi was the first writer from India whose plays were staged in western countries, highlighting the richness of Indian literature and theatre.
The performance, as with much of Gargi’s writing, presented a dark, tragic picture of Punjab’s rural areas, highlighting illiteracy, ignorance and oppression. Speaking on the occasion, Dr. R.S. Bawa, Vice-Chancellor, Chandigarh University said, “It is a matter of great pride that our students witnessed some of the fine works of the legendary writer who became the torch-bearer of Punjabi theatre worldwide”.