With Moliere on one end and four Hindi writers on the other, the world view that will be presented at theatre festival Hriday Manch arches across time and space. In its third year, the festival by Delhi-based Sparsh Natya Rang is sticking to its formula of wholesome storytelling with a hint of comedy. The opening production, Neem Hakeem Khatra-E-Jaan, an adaptation of Moliere’s Le Medecin Malgre Lui, set the mood with a story of a woodcutter who pretends to be a doctor. Things go swimmingly for him and he accumulates vast wealth from unsuspecting patients until the day he commits a big blunder. “We wanted to highlight how we trust doctors and take their word as the truth without asking a single question,” says Ajit Chowdhury, who has directed the play and is also one of the directors of the festival.
Sakharam Binder, Vijay Tendulkar’s complex moral and social play on a man who gives shelter to women, who have been left by their husbands, in his house but exploits them himself, was staged by Himachal Culture Research Forum Theatre Repertory on August 29. Bobby Breaker, a story of a hardworking young man who is stumped only by his stammering, was final day’s production, Aadhi Sadi, which literally translates into half-century. The play is made up of four short stories by four writers who made up the firmament of the first 50 years of modern Hindi literature. “These stories explore the different facets of love. Ussne Kaha Tha by Chandradhar Sharma Guleri is about childhood love, while it is love for a piece of jewellery in Jainendra Kumar’s Pazeb that affects the relationships in a family. Parda by Yashpal revolves around the love for status even under financial duress while Bhisham Sahani’s Chief Ki Dawat reveals a mother’s love for her selfish son,” says Chowdhury.