There is life in this land

There is life in this land
Aditya Chaudhary

Mansi! Why are you taking so many poses? Stupid girl.” Mansi (Rawat), who has become Ulupi after being scolded sweetly, captures the pace, rhythm, ups and downs and emotions of the dialogues better: There is a doubt that you are the same man I loved. Mighty Arjuna and so senseless! Swati (Dubey), five-feet tall, sharp-eyed and with erect ears, turns her attention in the next scene to Arpit (Khatiq), who has missed ringing the bell from backstage: “Kahan khoya hai tu?

Don’t forget this time, will kill a lot. Phir se maro ghanta.” In another scene, she scolds Jyotsna (Kataria): “I am going to cut your scene. Late pick kar rahi ho tum topi.” Meanwhile, Ashish (reader) sitting on the sidelines after having known the pictures for a long time, now interrupts with his observation on the text of the dialogues: Buddy! Speak the poetic lines very clearly, word by word. This whole drama is like a poetry. If you speed up or slow down, the audience will not be able to catch it.

Coming down to the big hall of the first floor of Parsai Bhavan in Wright Town area in the middle of Jabalpur city, this evening of December is full of excitement. Samagam Rangmandal, which has carved a special niche for itself in the field of Hindi theatre, is busy giving final touches to the latest play Bhoomi written by Ashish himself. Written in Bundeli, unlike the group’s popular play Agarbatti, it is in Sanskritised Hindi. Through the story of Arjuna and Chitrangada, it underlines the politics of self-expansion versus land expansion.

He has his first show in Jaipur after a week. At the break of four o’clock, these 18-20 artists (eight girls) crouch on the floor for lunch and taste the dal, rice, roti, vegetables brought from their nearby restaurant. Swati snatches a plate of chickpeas from Ashish’s plate while sitting crouched in saffron T-shirts and knickers like kanwariyas. Meanwhile, another observation of Ashish comes: “One has to do a lot of gable (practice of speaking dialogues at a fast pace).”

Rang Samagam with its smart creative approach has increasingly caught the attention of color lovers in recent years. Playwright-director Ashish Pathak (45) and actress Swati Dubey (33) have, in the last 5-6 years, created a wonderful nursery of youth from Jabalpur and surrounding areas with artistic dreams in their eyes. Preparing the play of these budding artists is just one aspect. His struggle to reach this platform is no less interesting and dramatic. Especially in a far-flung conservative town like Jabalpur, how important it is to have eight strong actresses with this group, it will be clearly visible by looking at the entire theater area of ​​North India.

Awarded with the biggest META award in theatre, Agarbatti, which has been played 40 times in 25 cities in the last six years, is a drama of only eight actresses. In this, 12th class student Harshita Gupta, who played the strong character of Thakur fraternity’s Damayanti, was a fan of the serial Kabhi Saath Nibhana Saathiya. She was thinking of going into modeling. But when the elder sister and Sakshi, who played the role of little Bai in Agarbatti, came to the theatre, they also came along. Father does vegetable business. Sakshi wanted to go to Anupam Kher’s institute Applause for acting, but due to high fees, that way was stopped.

Mansi, who has done MSc-Bed, laughs, “Destination wedding was my dream. Then gradually the uneasiness increased that man, it seems like I will die.” Every artist adds dramatically at the end of his story that “that’s why someone here told about (Rang Samagam)”. In words, “After coming here, a lot of illusions were shattered.” There is a kind of swag in his personality. Ashish also adds, “It forces me to write roles for myself.

Theater children I wrote the poem after observing such children. When Sakshi Dubey, who has done M.Com, who played a domineering character like Phoolan Devi in ​​Agarbatti, moved here, it was told at home that this dance-drama is not the work of Brahmins. But after seeing the incense sticks, the family members did not complain again. Today mother supports him the most.

Ayushi Rao, an MBA and employed, had seen incense sticks at Bharat Bhawan (Bhopal) in 2019. It was a coincidence that she returned from Mumbai during the lockdown and has been a part of the group since then. MA in music Shivanjali Gajbhiye is from Manegaon near Jabalpur. Jyotsna of Sindhi family had reached Delhi’s final workshop last time for admission in NSD. Despite being the only child of his parents, he has been a part of Rang Samagam for the last seven years by persuading them.

But an even bigger role of Rang Samagam is to nurture those talents who come from the most deprived and neglected environment. B. com. Pass, English stenographer and state level swimmer Vidhan Katare gets choked up while telling his story. “I was annoyed after hearing wrong things about my family and people. Somehow I survived all of that. Worked at press binding, bangle shop and medical store etc.

When I came to know about this place, for one and a half months out of fear, I just wandered outside. When told by other comrades that “he had used a sword on the teacher in the tenth standard,” he remains silent. Now he works as a security guard from 6 to 2 in the morning for the convenience of working in the drama. It was a great adventure for him to play the role of Paravasu in Girish Karnad’s play Agni and Barkha at Prithvi Theater (Mumbai).

Anmol Kirar, a 12th pass out, recalls that one could often hear talk of gambling, betting, drinking and killing around. What made him fond of watching Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah, the desire to become an actor also arose. And when he reached here, he came straight from the airy dreams to the firm ground of studying and learning and acting with understanding.

Similarly, now when Shivakar Sapre (Bobby) goes out for rehearsals on his bike through the narrow lanes of Khatik locality near Futa Tal, there are discussions about his work. Bobby’s mother asks him about his work, placing another roti with manuhar on the plate: “Is it okay?” He will emerge better from there.” Similar are the stories of Utsav Hande, Shivam Bawariya, Sitanshu Pal and Naman Sen. Harshit Singh also had to rebel against his family. Ankit belongs to the military family originally from Ballia.

Well, the rehearsal ends at four in the morning. And start again in the afternoon. In the rehearsal of Som Thakur’s painful but optimistic poem Jao Par/Sandhya Ke Sang/Laut Aana Tum, it is clear that singing while the female chorus is not working, she has to stop and sing at one place. The poem composed by veteran color-composer Sanjay Upadhyay adds more impact to the presentation.

But what do the people of the city think about this whole venture of Ashish-Swati? Veteran critic Gyan Ranjan, who was the editor of Pahal, has been coming to see his presentations. Babusha Kohli, a prominent contemporary Hindi poet and lyricist, shares puris and bhandara-like vegetables at her first-floor flat in Hathital area: “There is no doubt that Swati’s arrival (in 2017) has led to a rise in the number of women artistes in Rang Samagam.” Numbers, power and trust have increased.

But my experience says that girls have had deep faith in Ashish earlier also. A feminine element has been present within it. It staged a fragrant drama about the uncouth women of the city.” Significantly, Babusha reaches Parsai Bhawan every Diwali with a box of Rasgulla.

However, the next day in the afternoon, the Samagam team left for Delhi in a sleeper coach of the Jabalpur Nizamuddin Express and rehearsed the ground sitting on the upper berth. But tomorrow the show at Delhi’s Shri Ram Center is of incense sticks? Ashish says, “We will repeat the same thing tomorrow.”

His fear is not there.” The Delhi show is successful but Bhumi’s show in Jaipur two days later? In Ashish’s own words, “We didn’t intentionally get the videography done. Don’t know how the show is. Had there been hope of so much success, we would have got it done here. The whole team said that the second purpose after the incense stick was found.” The 1.30-hour show of this Bhoomi is now on January 23 at the Shaheed Smarak in Jabalpur.

Ashish and Swati have prepared a strong seed of actresses in a traditionalist city like Jabalpur. At the same time, he has brought such talents on the stage who were not able to take a big flight due to the turbulent environment around them.

and here and there

Whenever you are very lonely in life, call Radha once.” In the last phase of life, Krishna reached near Mahaprayan in Dwarka, remembers Radha’s words and calls Radha’s name, and Radha who reached from behind says ‘Kanha.’ Famous playwright Javed Siddiqui has written the play Shyam Rang with the story of Krishna, his flute and Radha along with the Pandava family, Satyabhama and Rukmini etc. It is a part of the 27th National Theater Festival of Vivechana Rangmandal being held in Jabalpur from February 1 to 5. Its director is Dimpy Mishra, a painter from Agra.

Actually this is the centenary year of famous Hindi satirist Harishankar Parsai. Vivechana Rangmandal is going to organize some events later keeping them at the center but right now this is its annual function which is happening for the first time after Covid. Apart from Shyam Rang, Vinay Sharma (writer-director) of Kolkata is to blame and End Game (writer: Samuel Beckett; director: SM Azhar Alam) of the Little Thespian group there is also to blame.

Vivechana Group has its own presentation on the story of Parsai’s novel Rani Nagphani by the same name. Prayagraj’s artist Praveen Shekhar will present his backstage group’s famous play Hawalat (Author: Sarveshwar Dayal Saxena). Praveen will also be given the National Rang Samman for this year. This will be the 17th honour.

Actor Naveen Choubey, one of the hosts, explains, “Praveen gets Rs 11,000. This honor of the amount was to be given in 2020 only. All preparations were made for the event, but then Kovid knocked and everything got destroyed. This time it is expected that the city’s visitors will be able to enjoy the wave of colors in the wave auditorium of Jabalpur.