Monday 23 December 2019

"Gandhi Ne Kaha Tha" presented by 'Colourblind' at Versova (Mumbai) on 20.12.2019

A theatrical symposium on Gandhian, Godse and Zihadi philosophies 
It is not worrisome that communalism figurs out in news but that the news are growing communal

The play is a high-pitched brainstorming on the most controversial topic of India i.e. the ideological differences between Gandhi and Godse. The saga of family goes well when a Muslim boy is adopted by Hindu parents on the advice of Gandhiji and that too when their real son has been killed by the goons in a communal riot. 

Tarkeshwar Pandey and Sumitra lose their child Suraj in a communal riot but even after this Tarkeshwar couple adopts a Muslim child Aftab as their son. They raise him with love and care. When the boy grows up he feels the neglect meted out to Muslims in general by the society. Completing his academic research on this issue he is there to have a face-off with his father. The son is not convinced with his liberal thoughts and leaves home. He joins the ranks of Islamic terrorist organisation and one day his group kills the people of other religion travelling in a passenger bus. When this news reaches Mr Pandey he is broken to know that the boy whom he gave such a affectionate upbringing could be so brutal! It was a murder of his ideal thoughts the Gandhian philosophy. He is about to put the picture of Gandhiji on fire when his son Aftab appears suddenly and clarifies everything. He says that though he was radicalised and had joined the extremist organisation he never thought that the passengers of the bus were to be killed. He thought that his boss has just singled out some passengers for churning out info about the informers. But when the commander began to shooting out all of them I fled with this little boy and he produces a boy. Now on he will be my son and your grandson. But the story does not end here. It ends when Mr Pandey is shot dead suddenly by some unknown terrorist while moving towards the little kid with lot of affection in his heart. A Gandhi is killed again.

The viewers are introduced to the theatrical symposium on communal violence at the very outset of the play through a number of normal life anecdotes. In one of the scene the neighbourer women complain of Aftab saying how they could tolerate the highhanded behaviour of a Muslim boy Aftab over their Hindu children. In another scene the people watching cricket match on TV holds the will of muslim viewers responsible for the setbacks of Indian team against Pakistan. The paranoia is to such an extent that when Kapildeo is out they say since you did not support him so he was out. On this a Muslim viewers think how unfair is it to consider them traitors when their forefathers have given their blood in the freedom struggle of India.

In another conversation some fanatical Hindus are shown peeved on the partition of India on communal grounds. Gandhi is blamed by them for not letting to send all the persons of one community to the newly formed country. All the issues are raked up how the population of Hindus are dwindling down year after year in neighbouring countries while the minorities are pampered in India.

In the hot debate with his Hindu father, Aftab elaborates on the anti_Muslim policies of several governments since independence of India. This was reflected in the miniscule percentage of their participation in government services and rampant economic backwardness that forces them to live an inhumane life. The father says that the Muslims did not concentrate on real issues of development and rather were remain entangled with the appeasement policies of the governments that kept them to stuck to the archaic customs. They never tried to make themselves progressive and did not listen to the modern ideas of development. On this the son accused his father of becoming pro-Hindu and steps out of home.

In a scene Pandyji mourns that It is not so worrisome fact that communalism figures in the news the more painful truth is that news are growing communal day by day.

The artists who acted in this play were Faraz Khan, Vyan datta , Piyush yadav, Abhimanyu Tiwari , Ajay sharma , Priyanka Minhans , Aryan Raj , Atul shaswat , Abhishek Malik, Amit, Rajnish Kumar, Avnisha Dubey , Sudipta , Mayuri , Kunal , Himanshu sood Suraj and Atul Shashwat, 

Artists on backstage were Gaurav shrivastva,  Jai Singh Raghav, Ravi Singh, Chandan P Singh. Priyanka minhas and Ratnesh singh.

The script of Rajesh Kumar is very effective not only in presenting a whole round of dialogue on ideologies of Gandhi, Godse and Zihadis but also in converting them in a family drama quite interestingly.

Acting by onstage artists was realistic and they successful in carrying out the  theme of the play in soulful manner. Pandeyji was amazing with his two completely different sets of demeanor for youth and old ages of his character. Artists was successful in showing up the heartfelt stress  of religiously persecuted man through his concerned facial expressions and all. Sumitra was also very true to her character through her voice and body language. 

Acting of Brahmin friends and women neighbours was up to the mark. The three complaining ladies were standing in a row vertical to the audience whereas they should have positioned slightly askew so that their faces should be visible to the viewers. 

Flickering light was used as a technique by the Light manager to highlight a scene which worked well. The director Rahul Datta has shown his skills also in maintaining the tempo and rhythm of the play so that the viewers never get a jerk and the story flows down to their attention quite naturally.

This performance shall stay in memory for long. The team deserve a wholehearted clap for their amazing job.

Review by _  Hemant Das 'Him'
Photographs by - Colourblind and Bejod India blog
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