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Nice plays, nicer moments

SOCIAL SATIRE A scene from the play "Muavze" mounted at New Delhi's LTG auditorium this past week

The art of producing a play is very complex. Various artistic ingredients are integrated harmoniously to offer great theatrical moments to the audience who applaud actors and directors, forgetting the contributions of backstage artistes in making the production a work of art. To recognise the creativity of these dedicated but forgotten artistes, Chaman Lal Memorial Society has been honouring every year five backstage creative collaborators for the past 11 years. This year's awardees are Dharam Pal Sharma, Syed Ahmed, Raghunandan Singh, Bachchan Singh Rawat and Ram Dulare. The Society has launched yet another ambitious programme in the form of five-day theatre festival called Naipathy Natya Samaroh. This year two plays from Delhi and one each from Lucknow, Udaipur and Bhopal are featured. LTG auditorium was the venue of the festival. Beginning from this past week, "Muavze" is one of the plays of the festival that offered rewarding experience, often provoking and entertaining. The play has been written by the late Bhisham Sahni, a noted Hindi novelist whose works depict antagonism prevailing in Indian society, exposing corruption, obscurantism, communalism and exploitation.

"Muavze", directed by Surendra Sharma, a graduate of the National School of Drama, is a powerful social satire that exposes rank opportunism of Indian political class, utter inefficiency and apathy of the police force towards the common man and a social climate that allows criminals to acquire control of the state apparatus. The core of the play is the way communal riots are turned into a trade by unscrupulous elements of society. At another level, it shows the depravity and inhumanity of those who are condemned to live in lower depth. Though the script is not well knit, director Sharma has imaginatively conceived mass scenes, making them visually captivating and vividly alive. The production is suffused with wit and humour, retaining the sharp edge of satire. The climactic scene is a tour de force with undercurrents of anxiety, suspense, fear and irony.

The cast consists of nearly 40 performers. Vijendra Kaushik as an anti-social element turned into a powerful political force who gives a convincing performance. Dhruv Singh as a confused and overworked police commissioner, Mohan Yadav as Gumasta, Sharan Makkar as Soothra and Vidya Bhushan Kulshreshtha as the cruel and greedy father of a hapless daughter give impressive performances.

Laxmi Naranin Lal's "Vyaktigat" presented by the Performers, Udaipur conveys the absurdity of the man-woman relationships and the futility of the attempts to communicate with one another.

Obsession with amassing wealth through corrupt means finally leads the destruction of the noble feeling of love. Directed by Anukampa Laeek, the production is neat.

By using the projection to reveal the past and inner conflicts of the characters Anukampa displays innovative approach to a production that had been directed by some eminent directors before.

Her stress appears to be to highlight the external attributes rather than creating an ambience that enables the performers to penetrate into the inner turmoil of their characters. Manish Sharma as the husband gives an impressive performance. Shipra Chatterjee as the wife should have imparted intricacy to her portrayal to make it convincing.


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