Excellence... with a speck of a slip

August 04, 2006 12:00 am | Updated March 26, 2012 12:42 pm IST


"Sabse Bada Dharam" and "Pendera" were two gleaming presentations at the just-concluded ANSDA festival held in New Delhi.

This past week, the curtain came down on the eight-day festival organised by the Association of National School of Drama Alumni (ANSDA). The festival was indeed successful so much so that it presented a platform to NSD graduates, mostly working in their own socio-cultural milieu and in their own language. And what is more, the standard of presentations generally ranged from good to very good with a great deal of innovation as in Jyoti Narayan Nath's "www.assam.com" that came from Assam and was reviewed in this column.Renu Kumari's "Sabse Bada Dharam", directed by Bharti Sharma (1987 batch of NSD ) and presented by Kshitij (Delhi) which had won Sahitya Kala Parishad's Mohan Rakesh Samman last year, deals with people stuck with poverty and unemployment in the countryside often converting to Christianity for a promise of better economic life. According to the playwright, there are many educated young people like Babu and Pakhya who feel distanced from their own religion because of deception and false hopes dished out by some of our netas. The play explores the pain and suffering of the weaker sections of society for whom life is a constant struggle and in these circumstances, conversion "is the only way to survival." And what is most surprising, the playwright only underlines the negative side of the Christian missionaries' work in the country and this plays into the hands of a communal lobby in the country. One is amazed that the judges seem to have completely overlooked this point. But in spite of this alarming weakness of the script, the presentation, Baharti Sharma's direction and the performance of the entire cast was excellent. Though one would plead with the director to explore with the playwright the possibility of a re-think about the role of Christian missionaries as presented in the play and not to forget the immense good work they have been doing in the field of education.

A hymn on Himani

"Pendera", presented by Kala Darpan, a theatre group in Uttarkashi, is based on a novel by Rajeswar Unival, adapted and directed by Suwran Rawat, (1989 batch of NSD ) is located in an imaginary village, Himani in the hills of Uttaranchal. The word `Pendera' in Garhwali, reportedly means the natural source of water, a life-giving source for the simple inhabitants of a village and the fountainhead of their culture and folklore. It is the nerve centre for all social activities and interaction between diverse characters of the village. One had first seen the play in Delhi sometime in December last year and felt that the play was rather weak. Since then the director has made a lot of changes and Himani has become the symbol of new awareness. The text of the play as it stands has considerably changed to its advantage from its earlier production but the cast, one is afraid, needs a good deal of training. But considering the many difficulties faced by theatre works in the remote areas, Rawat's work over the last 10-15 years in Uttarkashi is commendable. What they perhaps need today is regular training facilities for actors in Uttaranchal. One hopes NSD is listening.

Top News Today


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.