New play imagines a meeting between Alexander and Chanakya

Jun 24, 2016, 08:36 IST | Dipanjan Sinha

A play imagines an interaction between Chanakya and Alexander to comment on contemporary issues

A king, who had set out to conquer the world, and a thinker, whose ideas would shape the administration of one of the greatest kingdoms, and would be relevant for over a thousand years. They even lived in the same time in 325 BC and operated in the same area of the Indian subcontinent but never met. But what if Alexander and Chanakya did meet? What would they talk about?

A rehearsal between Roxanne and Alexander
A rehearsal between Roxanne and Alexander

These questions led playwright Abhyuday Tamhankar to imagine a long interaction between these historical figures that has become a 75-minute play titled Alexander VS Chanakya to be performed this weekend. The play starts with an aged Chanakya in conversation with Megasthenes, while revisiting his past when he came face-to-face with the Greek emperor Alexander. This was when, after defeating Porus (Puru), Alexander decided to invade Magadha but his wife, Roxanne, plays a crucial role in manipulating his stance on the forthcoming war. Also, his army protests against another battle and he is compelled to return home. On his way back, he visits Chanakya in Takshila and engages in a conversation about politics, imperialism and diplomacy.

(From left) Chitransh Pawar as Ambhi and Vijay Vikrant Singh (centre) as Chanakya
(From left) Chitransh Pawar as Ambhi and Vijay Vikrant Singh (centre) as Chanakya

Tamhankar, who is passionate about history, is optimistic about the reception of the play. He believes that Chanakya’s philosophy resonates with people even now. “Chanakya was a visionary. His philosophies are still effective in today’s world. The execution of the play presents this fact in a strong manner where Alexander and Chanakya engage in a conversation about envisioning the future of the human race,” he says.

Abhyuday Tamhankar
Abhyuday Tamhankar

An avid reader of history, he says that the inspiration for the play was the fact that these two fascinating characters never met despite being so close. “I have always wondered about what they would talk about if they ever met. Eventually, I started developing the ideological distinction between East and West as the premise of the plot,” he recounts.

Tamhankar started as an actor with groups based out of New Delhi and was involved with several theatre productions. In Mumbai, he was associated with Destiny Theater and had been essaying a central character in a play, Rang Rasiya Balam. Alexander vs Chanakya, however, marks his writing and directorial debut.

The choice of this topic for the first-time playwright is to bridge the gap between cultures by exploring history and learn from it. “The goal of the plot is to depict the philosophical differences and similarities between two cultures,” he signs off.

On: June 25, 7 pm 
At: The Hive, 50-A, Huma Mansion, Chuim Village Road, Khar (W). 
Call: 9619962969
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