Diverse stories, brilliant acting make for enjoyable evening

Diverse stories, brilliant acting make for enjoyable evening

Even in a film-crazy city like Delhi, there are enough young professionals taking active interest in theatre, and they may very well form the next line of theatre artistes in the years to come once the veterans decide to retire from the scene.

This past weekend, 40 trainee actors with the Asmita Theatre Group came together to stage a stupendous production called Dus Kaha­niyan. In a span of just about two and a half hours, the energetic actors staged no less than 10 powerful short stories.

Each story belonged to a different time in history, genre of story-telling and dealt with different socio-political issues; yet, the youngsters managed to carry the whole show on their shoulders quite effortlessly.

In fact, majority in the audience couldn’t even tell that these actors were not regular members of the troupe but came from different professions and practise only
on weekends.

Asmita, much-loved among the politically-conscious gentry of Delhi, has been running theatre workshops for the interested for the past two years now.

Dus Kahaniyan is the maiden venture of these theatre prodigies and a fresh production from the stable of the Asmita group.

A racy anthology, it incorporates a range of short stories varying from Bhishm Sahani’s account of a child’s forced conversions Paali to Saadat Hasan Manto’s 1947-riots-based Thanda gosht, and Swadesh Deepak’s act on police excesses Kisi apriya ghatna ka samachar nahi to Amrit Lal Nagar’s comic take on wife-beating Qadir miyan ki bhauji.

Then there were three plays written by the director himself, Arvind Gaur, namely Purity, Apratyaksh and Dabi Huyi Awaaze.

With these, Dus Kahaniyan covered a whole spectrum of societal issues spanning communalism, insensitive administrations, modern relationships, atrocities on the third gender and even child sex abuse.

The actors delivered passionate performances in keeping with the subjects. Nikhil Dixit essayed the character of a jovial Sardar ji, who rescues his Muslim neighbour from rioters, exactly as one would conjure him reading the short story.

The frustration of a woman convinced that her husband has slept with someone else shown through clearly in Abhilasha’s portrayal of Kulwant Kaur in Thanda gosht.

Even the performance of the three policewallas in Kisi apriya ghatna..., buying matchboxes from roadside shops without paying and abusing the poor at will, could be identified by everyone in the audience.

Arvind Gaur’s able-direction added to it. Enacting two scenes on the stage at the same time to denote related events playing out in different cities, creative additions like victims of child sex abuse constantly scratching their bodies and beating of a eunuch with slippers (as is done traditionally to symbolise their wretched lives), all came in for appreciation.

The young actors couldn’t be happier with the show. Sahil, who played the ladies’ man, Qadir, in Qadir miyan ki bhauji, spoke to Metrolife, “I am a Punjabi and extremely shy by nature, but I was made to play a Casanova, that too in Bhojpuri.”

Sheetal, who executed the role of a eunuch in Apratyaksh, said, “We were made to visit eunuchs to talk to them and understand their problems in reality.
This is an experience I will never forget.”