Panna Bharat Ram Theatre Festival brings veterans to capital

New Delhi, Dec 24 (IANS) : With veteran directors like K.S Rajendran, and K. Madavane staging their works in the upcoming Panna Bharat Ram Theatre Festival, aficionados in the city are definitely in for a treat.

The third edition of the festival beginning on Saturday will showcase eight plays written by renowned writers like Girish Karnad and Mahasweta Devi. The week-long festival, to be held at Shri Ram Centre, will conclude on January 1, 2016.

Touted as one of the best known plays written by Girish Karnad, “Tughlaq” in Hindi will mark the opening of the festival. Helmed by well-known director K. Madavane, the 150-minute play deals with the events surrounding the shifting of the capital from Delhi to Daulatabad during the time of Muhammad bin Tughlaq who ruled India in the 14th century – a move that turned out as futile as it was ridiculous. The play demonstrates the fact that there is a streak of Tughlaq in all of us.

Veteran writer Mahashweta Devi’s “1084 Ki Maa”, directed by Sameep Singh, explores the story of Dibyanath and Sujata, a middle-class married couple and their children. Their life is turned upside down when their youngest son Brati is killed. As Sujata tries to piece together Brati’s story by meeting his friends and his girlfriend, she finds out that her son was part of a militant group.

Renowned director K.S. Rajendran’s “Agni Aur Barkha” written by Girish Karnad is about reliving the age-old myth with multi-faceted characters that transcend time and play out its inexorable end.

English play “Revised Kama Sutra”, directed by Anusuya Vaidya, is based on Richard Crasta’s amusing, nostalgic story of a young boy growing up in the 1960s-1970s on India’s southwest coast, and his quest for love, sex and salvation.

While Hindi play “Godan”, based on one of the finest novels of Munshi Premchand, will also be staged during the festival, “To be or not to be Macbeth”, also in Hindi, by K. Madavane is one of the must watch in the list. The play talks about the blurred line between creation and crime through the story of a renowned theatre director.

The Hindi play “Mahabharata of Women” directed by K.S. Rajendran is another major draw of the festival. In a contemporary take on Mahabharata, the play originates from an old Tamil legend about a young woman burnt alive by her brothers to save the family honour and who before dying cursed all the descendents of the clan. The point of view of women – where three contemporary characters interact with women characters of Mahabharata like Kunti and Draupadi questioning their acts and empathies with their pain.

Another play from K. Madavane, “Tartuffe” is the story of Orgon, a wealthy bourgeois, who is in awe of Tartuffe, an imposter and a fraud. Tartuffe is a vagrant before he met Orgon. Both Orgon and his mother are swayed by Tartuffe’s piety. The plot heats up as Orgon announces his decision to give his daughter Marianne’s hand in marriage to Tartuffe. The drama ends well, and Orgon announces the wedding of Marianne with her lover Valère.

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