Theatre actors Nitin Bharadwaj, Saurabh Nayyar, Ghanshyam Lalsa, Pavitro Sarkar and Farooque Syed have been close friends for a few years. After working in several productions, they realised they wanted to set up their own company that would give them an opportunity to stage plays without compromising on the original works. That’s how D For Drama was born. The group is now presenting its first play Ram Sajeevan Ki Premkatha, as the finale of the NCPA Ananda: Hindi Natya Utsav 2012 (a three-day celebration of Hindi plays) on May 6.
An adaptation of prolific Hindi poet, journalist and writer Uday Prakash’s work by the same name, the story revolves around Ram Sajeevan, a young student of Jawaharlal Nehru University, who hails from Bihar and dreams of changing the world. Through his studies, he gets completely immersed in socialism and Marxism, slowly losing touch with reality. Meanwhile, the university opens a girls’ hostel and Ram Sajeevan falls in love with Anita Chandiwala, an NRI student, whose window faces that of his room. His friends try to dissuade him, but Ram gets entangled in the web of love, oblivious to Anita’s real feelings for him and loses sync with truth.
The actors had staged the play earlier at an informal event for close friends. Enthused by the response, they decided to stage it on a professional level. Says Bharadwaj, who is helming the play along with Nayyar, “After the informal presentation, we had some requests from corporate houses to stage it for them, but we declined. Later Deepa Gahlot, Head — Programming for Theatre & Film told me about NCPA Ananda: Hindi Natya Utsav 2012, a festival that allows new groups to showcase their works and we thought this would be the ideal platform for us.”
For this event, the group has made certain changes in the play. While earlier, it had one narrator, the re-worked production has three narrators. Bharadwaj says, “We thought it would be interesting to have actors who play Ram Sajeevan’s friends as narrators. They will give viewers a perspective of the protagonist’s feelings. Also, earlier we had dialogues in chaste Hindi philosophising his feelings. But now we have toned it down and used colloquial Hindi. At places where we felt the impact would get diluted, we have retained the original word and then followed up with its English translation.”
Ask Bharadwaj what prompted him and his troupe to choose such a depressing play as their debut production and he laughs out aloud, “The story is about any other guy who is not too confident about himself. I’m sure all of us have been through such low phases in life. Though the subject sounds heavy, we have tried to make it a little light.” The group is planning to stage the play soon at Ranga Shankara in Bengaluru, Bhopal and Indore.