Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Asmita Theatre Festival

15th September, 7.30pm
Swadesh Deepak's
India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road
Tickets Rs. 50 /
16th September,7 pm
Mahesh Dattani's
Hindi translation by Smita Nirula
Sri Ram Centre,Mandi House
Tkt Rs.!00/ & 50 /
21st September,7pm
Neil Simons's
Comedy play based on Chekhov's stories
PSK, Laxmi Nagar, Vikas Marg ,Entry free
22nd & 23rd September,7.30 pm
Neil Simons's
Comedy play based on Chekhov's stories
India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road
Tickets Rs. 50 /

29th & 30th September, 7.30pm
Late Shri Nag Bodas's
Musical Comic- Satire
Music by Dr.Sangeeta Gaur
India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road
Tickets Rs. 50 /
6th October, 7.30 pm
Dario Fo’s Comic- Satire
Hindi adaptation of Accidental Death of an Anarchist
Adaptation in Hindi -Amitabh Srivastava
India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road , New Delhi
Tickets Rs. 50 /
7th October, 7.30pm
Munshi Premchand’s Musical satire
Adaptation by Habib Tanveer and Safdar Hashmi
Music by Sangeeta Gaur
India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road , New Delhi
Tickets Rs. 50 /

All Plays directed by Arvind Gaur


When respect is denied to a man for the only reason that he is borne by 'low-caste' parents, the offence cannot simply be termed as a social violence. It assumes larger proportions of crime against humanity and society at large. Yet by the turn in situation the murderer becomes a winner whereas the victim is unforgiving.The culprit may receive severe punishment at the hands of the law but, in fact, it is the society which is put in the docks. Court Martial, written by Swadesh Deepak, is a story of recruit Ram Chander who is tried for murdering one of his officers and injuring another.
The Court Martial is presided by a war veteran. Col Surat Singh who has witnessed many 'life –and –death' situation. But this trial puts him in a queer position, so far unknown to him, and during the course of interrogation he realize that the issues at stake are much larger than what meets the eye. Realizing that the Indian army is the only government agency in which reservation on caste basis is not permissible. Court Martial presents a combination of legal and poetic justice.

Swadesh Deepak is a popular Indian playwright, novelist and short-story writer. Deepak has been active on the Hindi literary scene since the mid 1960s and is best known for
Court Martial, a path breaking play that he published in 1991. Deepak's most recent book is Maine Mandu Nahin Dekha, a volume of memoirs. Deepak's work has appeared in all major literary periodicals of India, and he has more than 15 published titles to his credit. Several of his works have been staged and made into television programmes.Deepakji holds masters degrees in both Hindi and English. For twenty-six years, he taught English literature at Ambala's Gandhi Memorial College.

"Tight pace of Swadesh Deepak's Court Martial... not to be missed." - Kavita Nagpal ,(Hindustan Times)

"Arvind Gaur's hard hitting realism... his intelligent approach... strong play by Swadesh Deepak."
- Aruna Ahluwalia, (E. News)

"Kudos to Court Martial... a drama that goes beyond the limits of drama." - (The Indian Express)

"The Asmita team has created a marvelous piece of theatre out of a wonderful script... don't miss it. The time spent watching the play is well worth it." - Smita Nirula, (The Pioneer)

"Stealing the scene with revolt as the theme... Court Martial is an engrossing display of theatre for social awareness."
- Sushama Chadha ,(The Times of India)

"Excellent Performance by Deepak Dobriyal as Captain Vikash Roy... Swadesh Deepak's brilliant script... memorable production by the Asmita team and Arvind Gaur."
- Romesh Chandra, (The Hindu)

"Impressive Presentation: The much-talked about play Court-Martial, directed by the eminent young theatre director Arvind Gaur, was successfully staged here at Gandhi Bhawan Auditorium, on the first day of Shahjehanpur Theatre Festival. Court Martial is probably the first Indian play, wherein an effort to expose the rot rampant in the Indian army has been made."

"Mirror of the Society: Court Martial is not just a play, but more aptly the real picture of the Indian society that brings us face to face with the caste-based feudalism, despite the constitutional & legal objections of the democratic procedures…Indian Army is one such government institution, which does not permit caste-based reservations. The play presents the truth very much prevalent in the Indian society. That, a person with merit, is traumatised just because of his low-caste origins. Can we march into the 21st century with such a narrow mindset? This is an important question that seeks an answer of us. Can we answer this question in this 50th year of our independence? Perhaps not!"
-Amit Kumar ,Rastriya Sahara

"Court Martial, scripted by Swadesh Deepak and directed by Arvind Gaur was staged at the Sriram Centre, on the first day of the ‘Asmita Theatre Festival’ organized by Asmita Production. The play is based on the caste-based discrimination rampant in the Indian Army. The strength of the play lies in its powerful dialogues that take it forward."

"Not Just a Play: ‘Court Martial’ is not just a play written by Swadesh Deepak, directed by Arvind Gaur & enacted by Asmita-artistes. It is a burning truth of the Indian Society. Sensing that Indian Army is the only government institution, which does not permit caste-based reservations, ‘Court Martial’ presents a mixture of natural and legal justice, which is not only the truth of the Indian Army, but that of the whole Indian Society. That, despite all his qualifications, an individual is traumatised because of his low-caste origins is not merely social violence, but a crime against humanity. The monotony of the long court-trial was pre-empted by the seasoned performance of the Asmita artistes. This Asmita-presentation has proved to be a soothing experience, after many years, for Swadesh Deepak who created a countrywide flutter through this play. "
Excellent acting, live and memorable…..worth visit.
- Ajeet Rai (Nav Bharat Times)

A play about love and betrayal, 'Thirty Days' treats the sensitive and generally taboo issue of child sexual abuse. 'Thirty Days' endeavors to lift the veil of silence which surrounds child sexual abuse and addresses the issue unflinchingly.
It builds on the trauma of Mala who lives with the haunting memories of her abused past.
Her abuser - her uncle – subconsciously lives with her all the time, as part of her dirty reflections. He damages her natural growth, deters her from pursuing her love interests beyond the ominous 30-day period and scars her soul every now and then. As Mala withers under the psychological pressure extorted on her by the abuser, her mother watches silently, living her own pain - suffering mutely. Exploring the painful problem, Mahesh Dattani raises valid concerns and structures a world of optimism where the wrongs can stand corrected and resurrection of brutalized faith is possible. But none of this happens without another man's willingness to help the two women bury their traumatic past and find ways of rejuvenating their present.
Deepak, Mala's boyfriend, becomes the agent of change here. He dares to unmask the evil, even at the cost of his love. He hits the women hard until they hit the rock bottom. Finally, there is no way but to come up - face the wrongs and dare to correct them, notwithstanding the challenges the process of correction entails. By marking a daring departure from norm, the play ensures that we, as a society, no longer take comfort in the routine of uttering word "incest" in gutless undertones.
The play also brings us closer to the reality of abused children -pleasure does form a part of their pain, but finally the consequence of dangerous games can only be dangerous. Our only way to fight danger is to recognize it and crush with generous doses of brutality lest we are ready to condemn innocence to lifelong death.

Arivnd Gaur's "30 Days in September" is worth watching.Mahesh Dattani builds his play around child abuse and tries to lift the veil on the hush-hush subject. Lifting the veil

About Translator
Smita Nirula has been involved with theatre since her college days. She has a Master's degree in theatrefrom the State University of New York at Stony Brook, USA and a Bachelor's degree in theatre and journalism from McPherson College, Kansas, USA. She has been a theatre critic for the Indian Express,The Hindu and the Pioneer newspapers over the last 15 years. She has written extensively on theatre for various websites including ICICI's Café Dilli. She has worked in numerous productions both onstage and offstage(light design, set design, stage management) in India and America. She has written plays which have been produced and published. Currently she is busy translating some of Mahesh Dattani's plays (including Dance Like A Man and Seven Steps Around The Fire) from English into Hindustani, and studying

Depicting lives of everyday mortals "LOG-BAAG" reveals myriad of moods, class distinctions and various shades of mind and attitude. A play with eight short stories of
chekhov woven together, each individualy depicting a slice of life. Yet, the common thread that binds them together is the essential conflict between "What should be" and "What is" and also the typical Chekhovian end that undercuts each story as a very first last moment.The stories can be seen as seemingly transaprently simple yet with great subtlety Chekhov undercuts mammoth institutions like, Bureaucracy , parenting , marriage , medicine ..... yet at the same time chekhov goes behind social institutions and with great sensitivity revelas glimpsis of human emotions of insecurity, namelessness, confusion , pain .......The playwright Neil Simen has brilliantly selected the short stories such that each one dipicts the complex facets of the writer in the play. The writer's conflict at penning down his experiences as stories, itself is an organic story in the play.

Critics says
LOG-BAAG" one of Gaur's best play ... Best play of the year award...classy play of high standards.
-The Hindu

Real life stories ... Effective Satire and Comic
-Rashtriya Sahara

Interesting and Encapsulating..... Effective -Jan Satta
Competently witty direction..... Pleasant and entertaining evening
Amusing play.... Built in fun.... Outstanding theatre
-Hindustan Times

Amma Tujhe Salaam
Amma Tujhe Salaam written by the late Shri Nag Bodas is a social satire centred on the lives of beggars, a class of people who have been made outcasts by a consumer-centric society that rejects its own children in their hour of need. The play exposes the hypocrisy of social rules and norms, through the story of Bhura, a handicapped mechanic who loses everything when he is betrayed by those closest to him. In spite of the harshness he faces in his new world, he maintains his integrity and continues to dream of small joys. When he runs into Chhalni and her two children who have never known a world outside beggary, he teaches them to do the same.
In the meantime, Jaggi "Boss" and his two sidekicks Tanny and Teja, who are aspiring underworld dons, portray another facet of social disharmony.
Their story reflects the frustration of having un-met needs, and the other side of social impact: a struggle for power and finally emergence into a mirror image of the system itself, symbolizing ambition and ruthlessness.
The issue of trafficking of women and children also forms a sub-plot of this play. The horrifying transformation of innocent childhood joys to mental instability and lifelong scars is worthy of thought, and adapted well into the main storyline.

Operation Three Star
(Hindi adaptation of Accidental Death of an Anarchist)
Grounded in a very specific, disturbing political reality the Operation Three Star offers a scathing comment the real events which are criminal and obscene in their brutality: Crimes of the state .With his seemingly insane logic the maniac is instrumental in unmasking the criminal folly of the law enforcing agency in its attempts to cover up heinous action. He persistently ridicules the police's shaky case and forces them to re-enact the situation in that led to the 'suicide' of a 'terrorist' under their custody.
Subsequently, they contradict themselves to dismantle the whole issue of half-truths and non-sequiturs.
An escalating series of impersonations and misunderstandings extend a particular viewpoint. The jerk from comic gags to a fuller awareness of serious issue becomes a potent device as the crude violence of the power-that-be is recognized.

Mote Ram ka Satyagrah
the play is a comic-satire with all the elements of a musical. On the surface, the play appears to be a simple story about a Brahmin from Banaras . The town of Banaras adorns itself to receive a Vice Roy, as per the directions given by the Magistrate- Sir William Parkinson. Pandit Mote ram Shastri, the protagonist seems to have bitten more than he can chew, and agrees to go on a hunger strike to stop the people of the town from declaring a "Hartal". Whether or
not the pundit succeeds in controlling his hunger brings the play to its comical climax. There is more to this play then meets the eye. It deals with larger issues of the relationship between Religion & Politics. The play Wright, intricately
weave the threats of this rather sensitive subject into a cohesive and entertaining play.
The issues raised are as relevant and contemporary now, as they were under the colomset's rule.

Thanks for your kind support to relevant theatre.
Viren Basoya