Taking refuge in one's alter ego

Taking refuge in one's alter ego

Following a prophecy, when three modernised avatars of god descend upon earth, they do not find shelter anywhere in the Capital. On their lookout for kindness in a world that is fast running out of virtues, they find traits like kindness and hospitality well preserved in the house of a young prostitute, Ramkali.

How her kindness becomes a trouble for her when the lords leave her with a message of keeping the light of her virtues alive, no matter what, roughly sums up the story that follows ahead.

The troubles and tribulations one may suffer for the goodness one emanates is sourced from the German playwright Bertolt Brecht’s famous play, The Good Person of Szechwan. Well adapted into a Hindi play, Ramkali, is a story enacted over a number of times by Asmita theatre group in Delhi as its satirical approach finds relevance in the social scenario we live in.

Directed by Arvind Gaur, this Hindi play is an adaptation by Amitabh Srivastava, with lyrics by Piyush Mishra and music by Dr Sangeeta Gaur. Ramkali, the protagonist of the play is an ebullient girl full of zest for her life. Treading a life on the principles laid down by the gods, she struggles to keep up her morality alive. Avoiding to get abused by her so-called friends, lovers and well-wishers, she gives birth to an alter ego, her own brother Ramlal, whenever she finds herself embroiled in a situation where her generosity becomes her own enemy.

Interplaying the story of Ramkali set in the city of Delhi with a horde of chorus performers and singers, the play introduces us to the picturesque lanes of Delhi in scenes such as the one where Ramkali ventures out early in the morning to find the fresh green vegetables brought inside the city.

Leaving the solution to the audience, the play concluded in an open-ended manner where Ramkali pleads that she can no longer keep up a disguised appearance and live a life full of virtues, but the gods still leave for their heavenly abodes. At the end, the director prodded the audience’s conscience by saying, “We lost one of our actors Ginny Singh to a road accident. Out of 1500 to 2000 cars that might have passed by on that road, nobody offered help to the boy. It is for us to introspect and know why such things happen.” Interestingly, this play was first enacted in the year 1943, and still finds its
relevance in today’s world.

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