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The best of Indian theatre

Shilpa Raina, New Delhi, March 2, 2016, DHNS 23:50 IST

Competitive stage

On fateful July 7, 2007, 19-year-old Reyhaneh Jabbari’s life changed forever. The Iranian women met Sarbandi, an interior decorator at his office. He tried to rape her and in that moment of self-defence she stabbed him and then fled the scene leaving him to bleed to death. The story of Jabbari, who was hanged in October 2014 for killing him, has been made into a play 07/07/07 which will be staged in the capital during Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards (META) on March 8.

Faezeh Jalali, who has been nominated for Best Director and Best Original Script, has also got in touch with Jabbari’s mother to give her story a voice.

Exploring emotions of love, separation and homelessness is Mein Hun Yusuf Aur Yeh Hai Mera Bhai. The Urdu-Hindi play would take the audience back to 1948 when the British Mandate is ending in Palestine and the UN is voting on who will control what part. Through the lens of political chaos a love story takes shape that explores the helplessness and humiliation these people go through every day in their lives. Directed by Mohit Takalkar, the play has received eight nominations.

And then there is an experimental play Akshayambara that uses modern theatrical tools and the dance drama form of Yakshagana to create a contemporary narrative that raises questions on female representation and male ownership.

Such moving, poignant and relevant stories have been shortlisted for the 11th edition of after a selection committee carefully reviewed over 300 entries. The ten selected plays are vying for awards in categories like Best Play, Best Stage Design, Best Costume Design, Best Actor in a Lead Role (Male), Best Actor in a Lead Role (Female) and Best Choreographer, among others.
Directed by Vikram Mohan, the play After Death - The Spiritual Journey has also received eight nominations and the story explores the ancestral beliefs of the Bhil tribe and its varying
visual culture.

“This year’s selection of plays from various parts of our nation strengthens our belief that Make in India is true and alive in the arts as well. A plethora of languages, ideas and cultures will be staged during the festival,” says Jay Shah, head, cultural outreach, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.

The complexity of human mind and its many shades will be explored in a multi-layered fashion in The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, and in Agnes of God the narrative revolves around a novice nun who gives birth and insists that the child was the result of an immaculate conception.

The nominated productions across eight languages will be staged at the FICCI and LTG auditorium from March 6 to March 10.

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