In a fictional town, connected to surrounding cities by the 9.45 Express, a family mourns the passing away of the patriarch. Relatives descend on the house from different places and, soon, old memories are revisited and buried histories get revived. One of the skeletons that tumble out reeks of child abuse. 9.45 ki Express Ki Citee, a play in Hindi, written and directed by Avijit Dutt, enters into the heart of a household that has an abuser and a minor victim. Dutt, who has been seen in recent films, such as Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Madras Cafe and Jolly LLB 2, has acted in more than 50 plays and written scripts such as Bombay Bosnia, Mahatma Mar Gaya and Hazar Chaurashir Ma (with Shyamanand Jalan).
Excerpts from an interview about 9.45 ki Express Ki Citee, which marks 10 years of Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights:
The script is inspired by the experiences of a girl I know who was abused during childhood. The person who abused her was the husband of somebody who was extremely powerful in the social sector.
Steps in the right direction
I have worked in the area of child rights and had launched the Child Line in 1995-96 with UNICEF and NHRC. I have also done a film called Akkar Bakkar that went to Cannes, and was shown in the Parliament. I feel that theatre cannot change people but we can try to affect some minds. Every little way we can empower the system against this beastialty goes a long way.
Wielding the pen
The story has eight kinds of people, six from one class and two from another. There is tremendous amount of sub-text and every line hints towards what is not said.
Rising statics of child abuse
We are seeing more and more abuse in the country. It should concern anybody who is a right-thinking human.
(The play is at India Habitat Centre on September 2. Tickets on BookMyShow)