Sunday, April 29, 2007

AURANGZEB


NATWA- a Delhi Theatre Company which made a mark on the Delhi Theatre scene in 2005 through its innovative first production of OTHELLO, now through its 5th production promises the audiences a unique contemporary interpretation of the historical ‘AURANGZEB’.
Indira Parthasarathy’s AURANGZEB was originally written in Tamil in 1974 and performed between 1975 & 1989. It was translated into English by T. Sriraman and Shahid Anwar further translated the English version into Hindi/Urdu. K. S. Rajendran whose mother tongue is Tamil, chose to perform this play in Hindustani as he wanted the characters to come alive and create the period, in the language of the mughals. Delhi audiences may pleasantly recall the recent NSD student production ‘Panchali Shapatham’ directed by Rajendran which was performed in Therukkoothu style.

About the play 'AURANGZEB'

When Emperor Shahjahan fell ill in 1657, a war of succession broke out among his four sons, Dara Shukoh, Shuja, Aurangzeb and Murad. The main contenders were Dara and Aurangzeb while Shahjahan’s two daughters Jahanara and Roshanara, supported Dara and Aurangzeb respectively. The Emperor himself lent his support to his eldest son Dara, who alone of the four brothers, was present at Agra and sympathetic to Shahjahan’s dream plan of building a black-marble-mahal for himself on the other side of Yamuna facing Mumtaz’s Tajmahal.

The play begins with the conversation between two of Aurangzeb’s spies in Agra Fort, who tell us of others spying on them, indicating Aurangzeb’s suspicious nature as well as his attempt to be in control. The play selects, telescopes and fuses events to capture the fissures as well as the peaks of a period of history. The war of succession to throne and issues and ideologies that the major players in the drama represent: Shahjahan symbolises a decadent, self-indulgent, romantic astheticism; Aurangzeb articulates and fiercely fights to establish an Islamic fundamentalist state; and Dara projects himself as a philosopher-statesman striving to preserve a pluralist society and nation. Shahjahan dreams about a balck-marble-mahal for himself, Aurangzeb dreams of ‘one nation, one language, one religion’, while Dara fears that Aurangzeb will destroy the precious heritage of Akbar.

The play has as its theme the struggles of mutually contradictory dispositions of the various characters: Shahjahan and Aurangzeb; Dara and Aurangzeb; Jahanara and Roshanara; and finally Aurangzeb versus Aurangzeb. Shahjahan lives in the past, Dara in the future, and Aurangzeb in the present. Aurangzeb’s success is the triumph of pragmatism but he has to pay dearly as we find him in the last scene sitting not on his Peacock throne but beside it on the floor. His loneliness becomes his tragedy. The play ends with him asking himself he question: ‘Am I a devout Muslim or a fanatic?’ He is left awaiting the judgement of history.

About the DIRECTOR

K. S. Rajendran teaches at National School of Drama and directs play- mainly in Tamil, as he prefers to do theatre in his mother-tongue—and occasionally in Hindi/English when the situation demands. A graduate of NSD, Rajendran worked with koothu-p-pattarai, Chenai based theatre repertory. He was a Fellow of the Tamil Nadu Council of Historical Research while working on a research project in 1985-1987: ‘Theatre of the Dravidian Movement’. His major productions include: Na. Muthuswamy’s ‘Kattiyakaran’ (for SNA); ‘Suvarottikal’; Brecht’s ‘Caucassian Chalk Circle’ and ‘Mother Courage’ (for Max Mueller Bhawan, Chenai); G’ Shankara Pillai’s ‘Moornu Panditharkal’; Vijay Tendulkar’s ‘Silence! The Court is in session’; Ionesco’s ‘The Lesson’; Denet’s ‘Deathwatch’; Seigfried Lenz’s ‘Gunah Begunah’ (for NSD); Indira Parthasarthy’s ‘Ramanujar’; C.S. Lakshmi’s (Ambai) ‘Nadi Paar’; ‘Tamil Ponnu’; Omchery’s ‘Kallan Kayariya Veedu’; ‘Nokku Kuthi Thyam’; Chandra Shekhar Kambar’s ‘Mahamayi’; H.S. Shiva Prakash’s ‘madhavi’; and Satish Alekar’s ‘Mahanirvan’. His production of Kalidasa’s ‘Malavikagnimitram’ (2005) and ‘Panchali Shapatham’ (2006) at NSD were highly acclaimed by critics and theatre lovers. He has been conductiond theatre workshops regularly in various parts of the country and abroad. He was the course director for the UNESCO workshop on Ancient Indian Drama’ held in Sinaia, Bucharest in 2006. Rajendran is also the editor of ‘Theatre India’, a prestigious theatre journal in English published by NSD.

Cast & Crew of AURANGZEB

ON STAGE (Main Cast)
Aurangzeb Mahendra Mewati (NSD Batch 1995)
Dara Shukoh Shrivardhan Trivedi (NSD Batch 1994)
Shahajahan Sanjay Goutam (NSD Batch 2001)
Roshanara Laxmi Rawat (NSD Batch 2006)
Jahanara Manleen Kaur

OFF STAGE
Hindustani Translation Shahid Anwar
Lights Ram Ji Bali (NSD Batch 2001)
Production Controller Renu S. Chopra
Stage Manager Tanmay Sarkar (NSD Batch 2005)
Executive Producer Sanjiv Chopra
Design & Direction K. S. Rajendran (NSD Batch 1984)

Shows on 28th and 29th April 2007
7.00 PM
Hindustani translation by
Shahid Anwar
Design & Direction
K. S. Rajendran
Executive Producer
Sanjiv Chopra

Sri Ram Centre, Safdar Hashmi Marg,
Mandi House, New Delhi
Play Duration: 1hr 30mins
Ticket Rate Rs. 300, 200, 100 & 50
Telebooking: 9871138382, 9810977174
Tickets available at SRC Box Office on
Show days
Children below 10 years not allowed
Website: www.natwattheatre.com;
email:info@natwatheatre.com

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