The Djinns of Eidgah, which opens the MetroPlus Theatre Festival today, showcases Kashmir’s traumatised generation
Fable, fantasy and harsh reality seesaw in Abhishek Majumdar’s The Djinns of Eidgah, showcasing a traumatized generation in a beauteous landscape lost to conflict. Orphaned siblings Ashrafi and Bilal are caught in Kashmir’s ravaged past, but also haunted by hope. Bilal dreams of escape with the football team. Thespian Rajit Kapur as Dr. Beg, plays many nuanced roles in the unresolved conflict. The play was developed in a Rage Productions & British Council project, and premiered at the Writers Bloc Festival (2012). A revised version will be premiered at the Royal Court Theatre (Oct 2013).
Multilingual playwright Abhishek Majumdar, artistic director, Indian Ensemble, winner of the Metro Plus Playwright Award and the Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Award, studied at London International School of Performance Arts, and attended the Royal Court International Residency in 2011. He explains that his interaction with people in Kashmir, particularly with doctors at the psychiatric hospital, helped him to access subconscious layers in their mindset and narratives.
“People are in the process of making up their minds. Political stances are dilemma-ridden, choices double edged. Vote and you accept being an Indian subject, abstain and you are outside the pale of development.”
But Majumdar’s play is not about slogans. He meshes multiple stories and voices in a large cast production that appeals to the senses while retaining painful, political conundrums.
The sports motif becomes the expression of youth and aspiration for freedom, while heroic adventurer Amir Hamza, waging war against the spells of the djinns, creates a mythic subtext.