Earth to earthhttps://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/art-and-culture/earth-to-earth-4/

Earth to earth

Alankar Theatre’s new production, titled Bhook ka Ilaaj, looks at the plight of farmers

A scene from the play

Alankar Theatre’s new production moves to the farmland, looking closely at the agrarian crisis. Bhook ka Ilaaj, directed by Chakresh Kumar, revolves around a family that earns their living by farming. “Agriculture is the central theme of the play, as we look at the many issues that farmers are facing. Even though there are government policies and schemes to secure their concerns, the corrupt system brings it all to nothing,” says Kumar, who founded Alankar in 2005.

The play is seen through the eyes of Viyas, who is met with tough circumstances. A continuous demand to produce crops that sell, the pressure to pay back debts to the money lender, financial constraints, rebellious brothers who have zero contribution to the household and a dream to provide the best to his children — all surround him, making him believe that he is unable to do anything. As the story moves, some unexpected turn of events happen. The play ends will a collective agitation against the oppressors.

For years, Alankar’s productions have been spreading awareness about social issues. Kumar says the philosophy of the group is to provide a platform to those interested to work on social issues through theatre and create awareness. “Our young actors and directors have the zeal to make a difference and they get a platform to express their creativity. By doing so, a healthy relationship among people worldwide is developed through a framework of educational theatre,” adds Kumar.

Before attempting such a subject, says the director, various questions came to his mind, and extensive research and talking to farmers gave the actors a true picture of the issues. “Farmers are our society’s backbone. Despite their efforts, they continue to be marginalised. The growing disparity is a threat to our country. This play is an attempt to put some light on their situation. By bringing their situation to the limelight, we hope to put their story on centrestage and let viewers analyse their true situation. There are many genuine matters that the government can resolve, only if it chooses to,” sums up Kumar.

The play will be staged on Aug 16 at Punjab Kala Bhawan, Sector 16, Chandigarh and later travel to other cities