Meet DJ Sunil Shanbag

The Sociology of Electronic Dance Music (EDM) is a spin on the popular genre that only theatre director Sunil Shanbag is capable of. Especially when his most recent adaptation and new play, Club Desire, has actually sprouted from one of the most classical genres — Opera. A man of many surprises, Shanbag is ready to take the audiences on to a journey that will reverberate with music that he has never tried before.

Mansi Parekh Gohil as Chahat in the play, Club Desire. 

“You know how it is, especially people of our generation who are always dismissive of Club music. We find it repetitive where certain elements of the piece keep on getting recycled,” stated the 57-year-old Shanbag who is known to be a master of many mediums. “This play is inspired by an opera that I had seen for the first time. And, earlier this year, I decided to take it up. I did not want to do an opera but have elements of music to the play,” he continues.

Seeing a string of musical patterns as Shanbag has incorporated classical and folk music in several of his previous productions — S*x, M*rality and Cens*rship, Maro Piyu Gayo Rangoon and Stories in a Song, we ask if it’s a persistent element in his dramas. “Music has become a very important part of my plays. I don’t know for how long it will be like this. In Maro Piyu Gayo Rangoon, songs replaced soliloquies that we borrowed from the musical theatre of the 1900s called Bhangwadi and in Stories in a Song, they weren’t even a component but the protagonist,” says Shanbag.

Sunil Shanbag, director of the play

The play will be brought alive by a triangle between the three main characters played by: Mansi Parekh Gohil (Chahat), Faisal Rashid (Jayam) and Karan Pandit (DJ Abir). The strife, like in Georges Bizet’s 19th century opera, is for Chahat’s affections yet the soulful serenades of Jayant, the poet, are disrupted with the entry of DJ Abir. Here, EDM, Indie Rock, Grunge and Punk enter the frame. Known for thought-provoking plays and dynamic use of theatre, Shanbag’s musings were explored. “Our DJ character sees himself as an artiste and the play looks at the sociology of Club music. The big idea in this play is the politics of love and artistic expression,” capsules Shanbag. When it comes to the challenges that Club Desire brought him, the Satyadev Dubey protégé reverts, “Managing a lot of elements that the play has, such as the text, video and different kinds of music.” Looking forward to the gala, Shanbag cannot wait to showcase his “very exciting” take on the craft.

Till October 27, 7 pm
AT NCPA Theatre, Nariman Point.
COST `300 TO `1,000; CALL 66223737

Mark the date
“On November 17, we will perform an informal piece at the Prithvi Theatre Festival that compiles contemporary theatre classics by playwrights like Mohan Rakesh, Mahesh Elkunchwar, Girish Karnad, Vijay Tendulkar and many others. As of now, Nagesh Bhosale and Divya Jagdale are confirmed,”
says Shanbag.  

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