Munshi Premchand Theatre Festival promises to present quality theatre by local groups of the city. The four-day festival (August 3 to 6) aims to support,promote and motivate local theatre groups to experiment and showcase their new works,this time based on the text of one of the most celebrated Hindi writers,known to be ahead of his times in both thought and philosophy. Premchands writing talked about the underprivileged of the society,including the inequalities faced by women and of class and caste differences.
The first production of the festival is Nirmala,which is based on Premchands novel of the same name. Directed by Vandana Vashisht,with the set,lights and music by Asif Ali,the group is known to work with a variety of themes,constantly innovating and experimenting. In this story of a 16-year-old girl who is married to a man as old as her father,Vashisht saysthat the play explores sexuality and gender at a time when it was unheard of. Except for a few scenes,its a very stageable novel and yes,really not much has changed since the time it was written, adds Vashisht,who says her young and dedicated team of actors has done a commendable job.
Namak Ka Daroga by Chandershekar of the Community Theatre Workshop is based on Premchands story,with the director interpreting it in his own way to showcase todays materialistic society and the constant tussle between money and values. The British government had launched a new department for salt. As a result corruption bred in the system and the middle class became a part of it, says Chandershekhar.
Known to stage satires dealing with a cause,Rajiv Mehta of Theatre Arts Chandigarh has chosen Riyasat Ka Deewan. The story depicts the desire of every human being to be successful and to have a status in society,but the path of achieving it is not easy. We have to make compromises,and lose a lot to be on top. When this story was written,we were ruled by kings. Now we are ruled by the netas, quips Mehta.
Relating to todays times and conditions,Chakresh Kumar of Alankar Theatre Group has chosen Mandir . It has new interpretations,but the soul of the story is intact, says Kumar,who says that as opposed to earlier times,money is the new caste and class divide. The story depicts the plight of a woman,who wants to go to a temple to pray for the life and health of her only surviving child,who is really ill,but is not allowed to enter the temple,for she is from a lower caste.
The plays will be staged at Tagore Theatre,7 pm onwards.