“Till we change the system, not much can be changed,” shares director Salim Arif, who took a cue from this thought and decided to bring forth the wrongdoings of the political class and the existing state of governance in the country by treading the comic line, with his play, Taj Mahal Ka Udghatan. The satirical production is a sequel to the famous play, Taj Mahal Ka Tender.
Salim Arif (seated, centre) watches as Rahul Vohra (purple kurta), Amit Behl (seated, in black T-shirt) and Bakul Thakkar (seated, in white shirt) rehearse a scene
“Taj Mahal Ka Tender is about 20 years old. Since then, society has undergone several changes in terms of issues and attitudes and the way people react to socio-political affairs. Taj Mahal Ka Udghatan is a hilarious take on the contemporary society. It is an interesting exploration of a ruler who is facing anti-incumbency and needs to fight it with a big project to mobilise a stagnant economy and public opinion,” reveals Arif.
Actors Avtar Gill and Rakesh Bedi in a past performance of Taj Mahal Ka Tender. Taj Mahal Ka Udghatan is a sequel of this play
The play dwells on the plot where emperor Shahjahan is dead and the Taj Mahal is yet to be made. With nothing major to show after Aurangzeb comes to power, his main agenda becomes the completion of his father’s dream project. But judicial intervention strips Aurangzeb of his crown and he has to fight an election to remain in power. The play revolves around his struggles with political rivals and bureaucracy. Written by Ajay Shukla, the play stars actors like Amit Behl, Rahul Vohra, Bakul Thakkar, Neetu Pandey and Pooja Nair, among others.
While the play is a sequel, Arif asserts that it is a new story, with newer elements. He admits that the only connection between the two plays is the reference of the Mughal dynasty and the process of building the Taj Mahal. The director also informs that the new play is not based on any real-life incidents and is a work of fiction, entirely.
“There are no real-life incidents or characters in the script, but it is quite possible that the audience find elements that may remind them of some situations or characters that they can relate to. The intention of this play is to satirise the system and not any individual or political rivalries,” he says.
On: Today (9 pm); July 23 (9 pm) and July 24 (6.30 pm and 9.30 pm)
At: Prithvi Theatre, Janki Kutir, Juhu.