Playing to the funny bone

COMEDY FESTIVAL

The ‘Haasya Rang’ festival has a range of comedy plays on contemporary themes.

Comic staging A scene from the play Arre!!! Sharif Log.

Laughter is the best stress buster and humour attains new heights in theatre with ‘Haasya Rang- A Festival of Comedy Plays’ which kicked off in the city yesterday. To commemorate 100 years of Delhi, ‘Navras and Khilona’ in association with Sahitya Kala Parishad have brought together six comedy plays to be staged as part of a comedy festival.

The festival which continues till March 20, aims to share the cognitive experiences of laughter and amusement. The sense of humour and capacity to laugh for a purpose helps the humans to adapt, learn, grow and survive. The festival endeavours to cater to this demand by showcasing plays enveloping wit, mirth and laughter to entertain the viewers for seven consecutive days where something is available for all age groups.

The festival began with the well known Taj Mahal Ka Tender by Ajay Shukla.

Originally directed by Chittaranjan Tripathy, the play has had a successful run for almost a decade in Delhi and also toured various cities of the country. Targeting the Indian bureaucracy, this play is a socio-political satire dealing with the pressing issue of corruption in India.

Set in contemporary India, the play has its chief protagonist Shah Jahan, the Mughal Emperor reigning in present times and who intends to build Taj Mahal for Mumtaz. He entrusts this task to his chief engineer and owing to the deep rooted corruption he waits in vain till his death... for just the tender to come through! Through several hilarious episodes, it showcases the greed, malice and shrewdness of the chief engineer and other government officials involved in the scam. At a time when people are coming together to lend their support to the anti-corruption Lokpal Bill, the play proves apt and relevant.

NSD graduate and a Charles Wallace Fellow Chittaranjan Tripathy, has worked with the NSD Repertory for three years and has to his credit over 50 plays as director; two Oriya feature films, a Hindi short film along with a few TV serials. His first feature film Dhauli Express got five state awards and his short film Courtroom Nautanki screened at IFFI 2010 in Goa.

An expert at musical comedies and satires Chittaranjan says,“Usually theatre festivals have either a range of serious plays or are a mix. But it is rare that a theatre festival celebrates only comedy.” And comedy is thought-provoking, “Even if the format of the plays is comic, the content is serious and hard-hitting in the present socio-political scenario. We intend to communicate something very serious through our comedies.”

Theatre lovers can head to Shri Ram Centre today to watch Capitol Express once again directed by Chittaranjan. Again, Capitol Express is a socio-political farce narrating the evil,anarchist approach of the protagonist Kumar, belonging to the nouveau riche and desperate to climb the social ladder – by hook or crook. Having acquired wealth, he next desires to make his presence felt socially because for him end justifies the means.

The festival will also stage satires like Ladi Nazariya by Abhiram Bhadkampkar, which throws lighton the criminalisation of politics through misuse of religion and depicts victimisation of the common man; a farcical comedy Charcha Gali Gali by Ashok Lal which depicts the manipulative and materialistic way of life of the middle class; a parody Shabaash Anaarkali by Surinder Gulati and Arre!!! Sharif Log by Jaywant Dalvi, which revolves around four midlife couples living in a chawl. It is a social satire on mid-life crisis and infidelity.

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