Piyush Mishra’s ‘Gagana Damama Bajyo’ on the life and times of Bhagat Singh to be staged in the city

Piyush Mishra doesn’t keep count of the number of times his play Gagana Damama Bajyo has been staged across the country. He doesn’t insist on a royalty fee too. “Any theatre group in the country is free to stage the play as long as they seek my permission to do so. I am earning enough to support myself through cinema, so I don’t charge royalty for my plays. And certainly not for this play; I cannot earn on Bhagat Singh’s name. I’ve never made my plays a commodity,” says the veteran theatre director, writer, actor and lyricist.

Piyush Mishra helped in the formation of theatre group Act One in 1990 and the group staged Gagana Damama Bajyo in 1994. The play is based on incidents culled out from the times of Bhagat Singh and follows the events from the massacre at Jallianwala Bagh in 1919 to his hanging, along with Raj Guru and Sukhdev in 1931.

“The play talks about contemporary India through an anti-character like Judas. The main character in the play, Markand Trivedi, wonders if today’s India is what Bhagat Singh dreamt of and travels through time to the pre-Independence era,” says Mishra. After travelling through time, the play ends in 1994 in Kanpur, focusing on Shiv Verma, a comrade of Bhagat Singh.

To Mishra, Bhagat Singh is the ultimate hero of the era. “He was a volcanic personality. The Congress, being a political outfit, did all it could to keep the glory of Bhagat Singh under wraps. But he was a hero whose valour couldn’t go unnoticed,” he says, without mincing words.

The play that touches upon ideological differences between Bhagat Singh and Chandrashekhar Azad was also the basis for Rajkumar Santoshi’s film The Legend of Bhagat Singh. Many of the scenes in the film were inspired by the play and Piyush Mishra also penned the dialogues. Each year, the play is staged in different parts of the country to mark Bhagat Singh’s birth and death anniversaries.

Passion for theatre

Manch Theatre, started in 2004 as a hobby club at Infosys, is now a large group of IT professionals from companies such as Infosys, Wipro, Cap Gemini, IBM and Qualcomm, and includes both amateurs and trained theatre professionals. Manch theatre will stage Gagana Damama Bajyo on August 15; 7 p.m., at RNR Auditorium, MLA Colony, Road no. 12, Banjara Hills. Tickets priced at Rs. 100 to 300 are available on www.bookmyshow.com and www.indianstage.in. Call 9989997763.