Madhur Tankha

Celebrating the undying spirit of Raj Kapoor

Show to make the elderly nostalgic

Laced with various inherent messages

NEW DELHI: Sharing the common link between legendary Bollywood actor Raj Kapoor and the aged is a theatrical musical extravaganza to be staged at India Islamic Cultural Centre here this Friday.

Being organised in aid of non-government organisation HelpAge India which works for elderly folks, the Hungry Heart Festival’s latest production, “Rubaru: R.K. in Russia”, is basically an audio-visual presentation. Directed by Rima Chibb and Smita Bharti, the theatrical musical is an amalgamation of cinema and theatre in which both mediums intermingle to realise the vision of the play.

A tribute to the undying spirit of age and stage, the show for a noble cause has been conceived to make the elderly nostalgic as they go back in time to the days of Raj Kapoor.

Pitching in her bit for the cause of the aged is photo artiste Naina Kapur who has generously offered to give a part of the proceeds from the sale of her photo art emerging from the visuals of the play to HelpAge.

Explaining that the production intends to recreate a time of nostalgia for the elderly, HelpAge chief executive Mathew Cherian said it gave the younger generation an insight into what made their parents and grandparents smile when they were of their age. “Aged people have also had their fun and enjoyed life, and can still do. HelpAge in association with the Hungry Heart Festival aims to use the medium of theatre to spread the message of active and positive aging,” he added.

“Rubaru” journeys through the life of an old-time theatre director who is influenced by the films of Raj Kapoor. The director takes his theatre troupe on a performance tour abroad. They start their journey from Moscow after having performed in 47 cities to packed houses and standing ovations. Heady with success, this once successful theatre director is reluctant to end the tour. The last performance is in Beijing. He decides that they will cross the Gobi desert by a caravan trailer. But then under mysterious circumstances the troupe gets stranded in the desert.

The play unveils the troupe’s dichotomy as they are caught in a mirage of endless wait and face a conflict between the real world and theirs of make-belief. The material world around them in the form of their costumes acquires new proportions and meanings. Sounds from their rehearsal scores dwindle into the cacophony of their internal conflicts as the silence of the desert takes over, consuming the last vestige of melody.

Conflicting emotions

Desire, jealousy, hope, love, trust, betrayal, varied emotions and conflicting values jostle for supremacy in this harsh setting as the actors dance, sing and chant lines from old evocative Raj Kapoor films as they wait to be rescued. Interlaced and cleverly woven are a kaleidoscope of various inherent messages — of peace, love, generosity, beauty, truth, honesty and surrender.