Some of the greatest battles are fought within us. When Aadarsh, a young boy studying for his music exam, nods off to sleep, he enters the battlefield of sur vs asur. In his dream, he needs to use the forces of sur, or those who live by the “melody” of life, to defeat asur, who try to destroy it. Only then can he wake up.
“We need to remind children of the evil within us, and our own power to overcome it,” says director Avneesh Mishra. Sur vs Asur is a musical, the first children’s play, by theatre company Ranghsila. Mishra coordinated with theatre actor Saurabh Nayyar for the script.
In the play, Aadarsh meets various real-life personalities that help push him in the right direction. Among others, he meets Bengali poet Lalon Fakir, who hums songs of religious tolerance, and Miriam Makeba, the South African anti-apartheid activist, who sings her well-known song Pata pata. “Only by using the advice of these characters can Aadarsh defeat asur,” says Kush Jobanputra, who is playing a DJ, one of the asur characters. “Asur is represented by a gang of crows, led by Velcrow. They symbolise the ‘evil’ sounds in our lives, like noise pollution. They enter the stage with an unmelodious rap song.”
“This story is also a reminder that we cannot forget our traditions. People have stopped listening to classical music, and instead find satisfaction in loud, thumping pop and hip-hop. We should revive the peace that melody brings,” says Jobanputra. The play will be staged on June 11 and 12 at Prithvi Theatre, Mumbai.