DU students gear up to indulge in theatrics

Hansa Malhotra, a third year student of English (Hons), Hansraj College, is excited and brimming with confidence as the dates for the ‘Mahavidalaya Natya Samaroh’ inch closer.  After all, it is for the first time she is directing a play and that too for a theatre festival where different colleges of Delhi University are participating.

“I am thrilled because it is an extremely new experience for me,” says Hansa, who will be presenting street play Rehaayi with her 20-member troupe on the third day of the festival. “Our play revolves around the mentally ill criminals and targets the mental health Act which exists on paper and is not put into practice. According to this Act, if during a trial judge finds a convict mentally ill he has to send the person to a psychiatric hospital. Apparently, mental health hospitals in our country are in a deplorable condition. It leads to further exploitation of criminals,” she says.

Hansa came across this unusual subject after the December 16 gangrape case. “I came across the term ‘Insanity Plea’ during the trials of December 16 rape case. I got the story for the play where it tries to take you beyond the mask of hatred for criminals. It addresses sociological, psychological and genetic aspects in the making of a criminal,” she says.

On the other hand, Vishnu Sinha, second year student of Economics (Hons), Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) is also trying his luck with direction for the first time with the play ‘The Nerd’. “It is based on American playwright Larry Shue’s widely popular play ‘The Nerd’, a comedy about three friends. We have adapted the play to the Indian context and have added some fresh elements to it,” says Vishnu, who is also acting in the play.

Since it’s a competition among various DU colleges, Vishnu is of the opinion that competition is secondary. “More important is to have an impact of the play on the audiences’ mind. Winning a trophy will be an achievement but even if we don’t get it, I’ll be happy to a bring smile on the audiences’ face,” says Vishnu in a confident tone.
Other plays to be performed at the festival are Aisa Kahte Hain, a light-hearted comedy by students of SGGS College of Commerce on January 30. Kauva Chala Hans Ki Chaal, a funny story of a middle class man hoping to rise up the class structure, will be enacted by students of the ARSD College on January 29, Room for Doubt by students of Kirorimal College, Kutte by Shivaji College, Nishanchi by Ramjas College, and Batch 2002 by Hindu College.

Supporting the budding talent, J P Singh, Assistant Secretary (Drama), Sahitya Kala Parishad says, “When we talk about promoting theatre and its artistes, it is very important to start promoting fresh talent in schools and colleges. A number of promising theatre artistes wither away over time because of lack of support and platform to display their talent. The festival of students is part of our endeavour to
promote the art of theatre among students.”

From January 28-30, plays will be staged at Shri Ram Centre, Mandi House from 4 pm onwards.

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