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Classic tales revisited

Theatre aficionados have a reason to rejoice next week thanks to Nehru Centre’s 17th Theatre Festival that offers a retrospective of 15 plays in various languages. The festival, which kick starts tomorrow, will feature productions in Bengali, English, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Punjabi and Urdu, which are based on classics.

Mitro Marjani is a play based on the 1966 novel by the same name, depicting the story of a married woman who is vocal about her carnal desires
Mitro Marjani is a play based on the 1966 novel by the same name, depicting the story of a married woman who is vocal about her carnal desires

Latafat Qazi, director of the cultural wing of the Nehru Centre, said, “Every year we try to offer something new to our patrons through the festival. This time we have focused on classics, as we want the younger generation to become aware of the treasure trove of works penned by Indian writers. Also, the eight-day event is aimed towards promoting the multi-lingual and multi-cultural spirit of India.

The festival’s highlights are plays based on Mirza Ghalib’s life, the Dakhani Urdu version of Quli-Dilon Ka Shazaada designed by veteran filmmaker MS Sathyu, Gandhi-Ambedkar, Kannada play that premiered in the ’90s and Marathi production Ashadatil Ek Divas based on Mohan Rakesh’s iconic work Ashad Ka Ek Din.”

Preeta Mathur Thakur of Ank, who will be staging Sahitya Akademi Award-winning writer Krishna Sobti’s Mitro Marjani based on the 1966 novel by the same name, says, “The story is about Sumitravanti, better known as Mitro, an unapologetic portrayal of a married woman who is very vocal about her carnal desires. Since we wanted to portray the richness of Sobti’s use of Hindustani language, we adopted a new format of story-telling. We didn’t adapt the 100-page novel but edited it in such a way that the play had an equal mix of narration and dialogues. The audience can see actors playing the dual roles of narrators as well as their characters. The narration helps viewers to understand the richness of the novel’s ethos as well as the characters’ dilemmas and thought process.”

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