Inspired from Khaled Hosseini’s popular title, The Kite Runner, the play I Bo Kaattey, tells the story of two childhood friends separated during partition, and how its protagonist Aazad comes to terms with its past after 20 years
There are millions of tales based on the Partition of India, some of heartbreak, others of deep-rooted in hatred and violence, while a few are forgotten or hidden behind closed doors. And each time, one goes back to them, emotions swell up like a river. Putting spotlight on such issues is Hindustani play, I Bo Kaattey. After two limited-audience stagings, the play, directed by young theatreperson, Akshay Anand Kohli is all set for its third stage performance at the NCPA, today.
(Above and below) The cast of I Bo Kaattey, rehearsing scenes from the play. PICs/Kaushik Thanekar
Inspired by Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner, tales from family elders, and news reports from the time of Partition, and with references to the works of literary greats like Mirza Ghalib, Saadat Hasan Manto, and poetry of Bahadur Shah Zafar, the play takes you to the Lahore of an unpartitioned India, and to New Delhi of the 1970s.
“Though, over half a century has passed, the wounds of Partition remain in most affected families. We have tried to tell a story that explores that era: its language, culture, the choices people made and how it changed their lives,” shares Kohli.
The 22-year-old director adds that though, the plot of I Bo Kaattey is inspired by The Kite Runner, there are many differences, especially with its characters, their portrayal, the events that motivated them and the dialogues.
“There are new characters in the play, and they react differently to the situation. Our goal was always to ensure that whoever sees the play, undergoes the nine emotions of performing arts, whether they have a history connected with the Partition or not,” says Kohli. The scripting took six to seven months, as research was crucial. “The language is a mix of old Urdu and old Punjabi, something, which is not spoken anymore. Hence, we had to read many plays and scour historical material to get a hang of the language and costume of the era,” he reveals.
A still from I Bo Kaattey. Pic Courtesy/Theatrewaalas
It is produced by the young theatre group Theatrewaalas. Kohli says that the cast comprises mostly of youngsters, many of whom will be performing on stage for the first time. Despite the age gap in the characters — some are 10-12 years old while the others are 28 years old — the group has managed to play most of them with the same number of actors. So, you have grown-ups playing children in the play. “The play is very close to us. It’s not just about recreating an old world, but also announce our arrival, that we are here, a roar, similar to what’s usually uttered after one defeats a kite — Kai Po Che (Gujarati) or I Bo Kaattey (in North India),” he adds.
The cast of the play includes Sarang Patwardhan, Umang Khanna, Ankit Sharma, Kamal Singh, Nadeem, Saloni Batra and Prashant with music by Mahesh Kapoor.
On: Today, 6.30 pm
At: Godrej Dance Theatre, NCPA, Nariman Point.