Annual Theatre Production

Click title of the play to watch video

  • "LEELA" (2019)
    Devised, designed and directed by: Ajay Manchanda
    Date: January 29 & 30, 2019

    The play ‘Leela’ is based on Bhisham Sahni’s ‘Muavze’ and Rewti Sharan Sharma’s ‘Parmatma’. It is a satire on the social norms and conditions that we live in and informs about the extent to which we lack in understanding the scenarios and facts which are presented to us. The word “Muavze”, meaning compensation is a relieving word and it is an irony that everyone is eyeing for ways to distill some form of personal advantage from what is expected to be most bloody communal fighting. Apparently a dead horse is instigation for entire community to go into riot prep mode. While no one thinks of ways to prevent the riots, everyone is preparing for them from politicians who are keeping prepared speeches to be given at the beginning and end of the riot, to speech writers, to police team going on high alert ready to intervene after the riot begins, but not before, to arms and knives sellers hawking their wares to the highest bidders. Even some brave individuals are preparing to sacrifice the men in their families so that the remaining members of the family can benefit from the compensation that the government has announced, for anyone killed during the riots.  It is such an irony that value of life and limb is predetermined and therefore the riot is now looked at by everyone as a mere fact of life to deal with and benefit in ways they can. ‘Leela’ is also a commentary on the greed of people and how greed and thirst for power drives people to commit heinous crimes.

  • "Tughlaq" (2018)
    Devised, designed and directed by: Ajay Manchanda
    Written by: Girish Karnad
    Translated by: B.V. Karanth
    Date: January 31, February 1 & 2, 2018

    The play explores the life and ideology of Muhammad bin Tughlaq, the Sultan of Delhi. From his accession to the throne in 1325 until his death in 1351, Muhammad contended with 22 rebellions, pursuing his policies, consistently and ruthlessly. Tughlaq’s ideas of secularism, equality and unity in a country like India were very ahead of the times because at that time the people were led by saints and religious heads. Tughlaq, initially an idealist who wanted to give his people peace, freedom, justice and progress, turned into a shrewd politician, a callous and heartless murderer who employed religion for his political motives and hurled the country into turmoil and troubles. He had been a man of controversies and crisis and faced dissent within his own support group and rebellions for a very large and diverse population. The play does not merely present a picture of the past, but highlights its implications in the present. Even after years of its first publication, the play continues to be perceived as being contemporary. The play makes us introspect and think about the heights we're willing to go through to ruthlessly achieve our aims, abandoning humanity on the way.

  • "Ajab Nagaria Gajab Tamasa" (2017)
    Design & Direction: Mr. Ajay Manchanda
    Script: Mr. Ajay Manchanda and Mr. Anis Azmi
    Dates: February 28 & March 1, 2017
The play is a satirical comedy based on a mash-up of three well known pieces of theatrical productions ‘AndherNagri, Bhagavad Ajjukam and CharandasChor’ which by themselves have been stupendous works of art. It depicts the tale of a city which is unusual in every possible way. Two thieves enter the city with the hope of finding a quiet, comfortable place to plunder. They are surprised beyond their imagination, when they discover that this is ‘AndherNagriChaupat Raja, TakkeserBhaajiTakkeserKhaaja’. The police isn’t capable of catching thieves, the ministers are corrupt and the king is unable to render out justice. Even the Yamdoot of the city is a flop. The thieves ignore the advice of their guru, who asks them not to stay in a place which follows the maze of events going ulta-pulta, culminating in death. With it’s carefully veiled satire, this play is a reflection of current scenario of society that controls us.

    The play is an attempt to showcase two stories of Saadat Hasan Manto, namely Naya Qanoon and Toba Tek Singh. Saadat Hasan Manto, a playwright, an author and a noted writer on South Asian history, has many collections of short stories, novels, series of radio plays, collections of essays and personal sketches to his credit. His work including Toba Tek Singh and Naya Qanoon are held in high esteem by connoisseurs wherein Manto talks about people who are slaves to the whims of their own mind and society in general.
    Naya Qanoon is set during the pre-independence days wherein a tonga driver, Mangoo, while despising the British, dreams about new Act which he believes will rid India from the clutches of slavery. His dreams shatter when no such new Act came and he is arrested for assaulting a ‘Gora Sahib’. Toba Tek Singh set in post-independence era, describes the mental anguish Bishan Singh goes through when he is deported to India only to find himself uprooted from his hometown of Toba Tek Singh which has since been territorially integrated with Pakistan.
    It is significant to note from the play that attaining independence wasn't the end, but just another beginning of a long arduous road where the undercurrent is that “Hindustan had become free, Pakistan had become independent soon after its inception, but citizens were still slaves in both the countries” - slaves of prejudice and inhumanity.

  • "Kasauti, The Quest for Truth" (2015)

    The play addresses the very contemporary societal concerns taking the trilogy of ‘Mantra’, ‘Panchayat’ and ‘Budi Kaki’ as a yardstick – stories that are individual works-of-art by well known writer of Hindustani literature Munshi Premchand. The play strives to bring to the fore problems of modern day living wherein stressful life coupled with greed and egoistical existence has transformed man into a maniac.
    The play showcases the belief that basic human nature to help others in need never ceases to exist, even if it gets eclipsed momentarily with the trappings of life. Rich-poor, hindu-muslim, upper-lower caste divides that exist only in the minds of people are temporary while credence of good human nature ingrained by God outshines every other malady afflicting the society and has a permanent stature.
    The play spins a web amongst the trilogy and very succinctly espouses triumph of age-old values including respect for elders, dedication to one’s duties and selfless service to all over the demonic vice including self-centred approach.  
  •  "Spartacus, The Broken Shadows" (2014)

    The play that espouses values of freedom and hope is adapted from a novel originally written by Howard Fast. The play envisages bringing to the fore saga of Spartacus - a slave who stood up against the tyranny of the Caesar and his mighty Roman empire and epitomized the constant human struggle against anti-people policies much akin to the David and Goliath story.
    This modern day adaptation of the play strives to portray the existing grim scenario in society wherein the common man continues to suffer the ignominy of miserable conditions and get discriminated against based on caste, power, status and gender.  
    The play tries to showcase a belief and a need for a modern day Spartacus to rise a-la Phoenix to fight for rights which is rightfully ours by ringing in a change in the oppressive political and social system. It is only then that a vibrant and independent India would relive its glory.

The play selected from the noted fable Arabian Nights recounts, how greed of an individual leads to total mayhem in an otherwise close-knit family. The modern day adaptation of play portrays the grim scenario existing in our society wherein unending desire for money and building flamboyant careers has robbed the society of its conscience. The only silver-lining akin to Alibaba’s character in the play, is the educated and enlightened youth of India, who have the will and means of defining the country’s future.

The play tries to portray the extent to which our society has degenerated and has moved away from what our freedom struggle stood for and the values that it epitomized.

The play depicts the life and times of a modern day “Robin Hood” who believed in giving it back to the society, what its so called protectors snatched away on the sly.