Tughlaq to visit ruins of Ferozshah Kotla

Revisiting History

Much to the delight of theatre lovers, veteran director Bhanu Bharti is returning with a landmark play in India’s theatre history, Tughlaq later this month.

life size: Bollywood actor Yashpal Sharma will essay the role of Mohammad-bin Tughlaq.The legendary play penned by Girish Karnad which depicts the eventful life of one of the most controversial emperors of Delhi Sultnate, Mohammad-bin Tughlaq, will be staged on the ramparts of Ferozshah Kotla, the 14th fortress century built by his successor Feroz Shah Tughlaq.

Organised by Department of Art, Culture and Languages, the cultural wing of the Delhi Government and Sahitya Kala Parishad, the play is being performed on a large scale at the heritage monument site after a long hiatus of four decades. Last time, the play was staged by theatre patriarch Ebrahim Alkazi, at Purana Qila in 1970s.

To be inaugurated by Sheila Dikshit, the play will go on for eight days from October 28 to November 4 and boasts of a star-studded cast with several eminent theatre, Bollywood and television personalities playing key roles. Bollywood actor Yashpal Sharma, who has films like Gangaajal, Lagaan and Hazaaron Khwai­s­h­en Aisi amongst others to his credit, will play Tughlaq.  

Bollywood and television actress Himani Shivpuri, who is best known for her portrayal of Kajol’s bua in DDLJ and Rifat Bi of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai will play the role of Tughlaq’s step mother.

The director of the play Bhanu Bharti says, “This play is very relevant to modern times as well. The unscrupulous elements that always surround the people in power do not permit even the rulers to benefit the public at large.

“They twist even the noble visions of a visionary ruler to suit their own selfish motives. It shows the psyche of the political system which needs modification.


“By the early 1970s, Tughlaq became the kind of role which every young actor felt the need to play to establish his credentials as an actor and today too, the scenario is quite similar. The adaptation of the life, his journey and philosophy is what I have focused on.
“He was a ruler, a dreamer who wanted to get power through any means,” adds Bhanu, who has over 40 years of experience in theatre.

Yashpal Sharma hopes that Tughlaq will enhance the interest of youngsters’ and people in general towards theatre which is viewed as a medium of intellectuals. “Theatre is a rich, expressive and a very effective medium of communication.

It is often viewed as the medium of intellectuals. However, youngsters these days seem to be withdrawing from the world of theatre. Through Tughlaq, we hope to revive the interest of both youngsters and general audience towards this wonderful medium.”

Whether that goal will be achieved or not in the long term, remains to be seen, but Karnad’s play is sure to receive housefulls.

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