Fantasy on stage

Bollywood inspired: A still from 'Baware Baware'.  

“Zangoora”, a musical play, opens with drum beats, sounds of trumpets and a variety of musical tunes unfolding a fantastic vast panorama before the audience. The stage properties, the set, drums and trumpets are incredibly huge in size which is illuminated by dazzling lighting effects operated by high technology. The stunning visuals splendour, the vigorous and enchanting choreography and its interesting romantic storyline forge a fantasy on the stage.

Produced by Great Indian Nautanki Company, “Zangoora” is being staged daily at Kingdom of Dreams, Gurgaon. It celebrated its 1000th show this past week with a sense of joie de vivre. The producers, performers and crew members described the production as a historical event, expressing their satisfaction with the tremendous response of the audience.

Transcending the boundaries of a realistic theatrical presentation, it borrows its expressive elements from Bollywood, including its star performers. As many as 20 hit film songs such as “Pehla Nasha Pehla Khumar”, “Baware Baware”, “Choli Ke Pichhe” and “Mehbooba Mehbooba” are used in the appropriate situations in the original form. Naturally, these songs have their own appeal. The choreography has typical Bollywood flavour, fast pace, vigour and skilled dancers to form a variety of patterns in a jiffy. Even the script written by Javed Akhtar reflects popular appeal containing a straightforward structure far removed from reality – a stuff that belongs to the make-believe realm. Love triangle and court intrigues are its core elements. It has a romantic aura about it.

According to Wiz Viraf Sarkari, director of Kingdom of Dreams, Rs 30 crores have been invested in this project which features 110 actor-dancers. Inspired by similar commercial ventures abroad, it took the organisers 15 months to conceptualise, design and rehearse this show. So far, six lakh spectators have witnessed the show. In a way, this is an attempt to build theatre audience by providing them entertainment to forget the worries of humdrum routine daily life while in the theatre, engrossed in a fantasy world.

The musical opens on a note of high suspense. We watch an unidentified kingdom. In an atmosphere of pomp and show, hectic preparations are made to declare the coronation of Prince Rudra. A huge stage appears from which announcement is made. The whole kingdom is in a celebratory mood. Female dancers occupy centrestage to dance, holding variety of colourful objects to create enchanting dance patterns. To add choreography more colour, multiple variety of patterns and lavishness, male dancers join the females. In contrast a group of courtiers conspire to overthrow the rightful ruler, kill him and usurp throne. To protect Prince Rudra, a loyal attendant takes hold of the prince and escapes to a faraway place but he is desperately chased by the killers hired by the traitors. Finding the killers close, the wounded faithful attendant hides the prince, who is just an infant, in a deserted place.

This is an area inhabited by banjaras — gypsies. A gypsy couple, who are issueless, find the infant. Wonder struck, they take the infant with them and adopt it and take care of the baby with great love and care. As the child grows up, he is named Zangoora. He is adored by the gypsy community who has now turned into a handsome, clever prankster. He is a favourite among gypsy girls. One of girls becomes very possessive of him.

Now the action shifts to the kingdom being ruled by the traitor and his ruthless style of governance. He is promoting his son to become the future ruler. Meanwhile, he receives a message from the “princess” of a certain kingdom which is full of gold mines. The usurper wants his son to win the heart of the princess with the ulterior motive of grabbing her vast wealth. A storm sweeps the forest through which the princess is passing. While she is wandering alone in this deserted forest, she confronts Zangoora. After initial uneasy moments and reservation, the princess finally falls for him. The scene exudes youthful romantic fervour.

There are lots of turns and twists to the narrative which captivate the audience. Some of the scenes are remarkable for their irresistible charm. The hero, Zangoora, descends from the high ceiling of the auditorium, sitting on a beautifully crafted object which appears to be Pushpak (the aerial vehicle of Kuvera). The hero sitting in the Pushpak moves up and down in the space between the floor and the ceiling. Similarly, the heroine also uses the same space at one point, displaying feats like an acrobat.

“Zangoora” is an extravaganza dominated by high technological effects featuring a large number of trained actor-dancers, providing rare spectacles on the stage. This kind of show has not been performed on the Delhi stage before.

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Printable version | Apr 15, 2021 4:09:21 AM |

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