The other side of the story

A Muslim transgender writer wins a case against maulvis for comparing himself to God, but is shot dead outside a court. Two terrorists are shot dead in Kashmir after five days of hostage crisis situation. In a small village, a poor man dies in a midnight demolition of a mosque carried out by a group of Hindu fundamentalists. And, while all this is happening, a sex worker falls in love with his broker, and wants to flee a brothel.

Stills from the play Poora Ek Din

Rangbaaz group’s new play, Poora Ek Din, touches almost every issue plaguing the country — terrorism, religious fundamentalism, sexual discrimination, poverty, and the oft-ignored issues of LGBTs and sex workers, without hitting a preachy note. The play takes you deeper into the four incidents and how things might have been played on in the minds of its central characters.

“Most of us have read, heard and witnessed stories about these issues — terrorist attacks, religious fatwas and riots, and are aware of the status of sex workers and transgenders; yet, often, these stories miss out on the humane side,” believes Imran Rasheed, writer and director of Poora Ek Din,
a play that premieres today at Prithvi Theatre.

Rasheed who has always been working, and adapting progressive writers like Shauqat Khan (Bade Miyan — adapted from Gurbat, 1936 — and Namak Mirch), and Pitras Bukhari, among others, says that while the play delves deeper into several issues that plague the country, the aim here is not to talk about the issues, but to highlight their human side. “The play is about life. When we read a story, we don’t see the life, but the issues, which caused it. I am trying to show the side of the story, which rolls out away from the eye of the reporter,” he elaborates.¬†So, the two terrorists, who have taken a family hostage for five days, talk how poverty forced them to become jehadis, how they got fed up of fighting, and running: “I just want to sleep,” admits one of the terrorists, just before he is shot dead by the establishment.

Next is the transgender, who reveals his pain of being a transgender, and being discarded at birth by his parents. “If God accepts only boy and girl, who made the transgender?” Rasheed asks. Likewise, in the story of the demolition of a mosque, Rasheed has tried to portray the emotions of a living mosque and temple, and how they wish to be where they would rather act as a home than a centre of religious activities.¬†Rasheed adds that he doesn’t wish to make people change their mind instantly after watching the play, but perhaps, think beyond what gets reported with issues such as these.

Writer and Director: Imran Rasheed
Cast: Pawan Uttam, Gagan Dev Riar, Nishi Doshi, Dhanendra Kawade, Trisha Kale, Lokesh Rai, Swapnil Shrirao, Ravi Goswami, Ashutosh and Raghav Dutt.

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