Dujo Kabir

Group: Vivechana Rangmandal (Jabalpur)

Dramatist: Vijaydan Detha

Director: Santosh Rajput



Group: Flying Feathers Art Association (Delhi)

Dramatist: Lakshmi Narayan Lal

Director: Rajesh Singh


Ai Ladki

Group: Parivartan Samooh (Gwalior)

Source: Krishna Sobti

Dramatizer and director: Ayaz Khan



Little Thespian’s national theatre festival, renamed Jashn-e-Azhar to memorialize Azhar Alam, featured in Hindi three renowned north Indian writers on its first three days. Vivechana Rangmandal (Jabalpur) presented Dujo Kabir by the celebrated Rajasthani oral litterateur Vijaydan Detha, telling the story of Kabir’s frank responses to the king whose daughter wanted to marry him. Unfortunately, Santosh Rajput’s amateurish direction turned it into a series of costume tableaux with the cast mouthing the dialogues woodenly. He also resorted to the awful old practice of chopped-off branches to set up a tree. For their part, the actors often confused their cues, leading to repetition of lines.

Flying Feathers Art Association (Delhi) staged one of Lakshmi Narayan Lal’s most incisive plays, Vyaktigat (1974), tracing a marriage gone sour as a result of the husband’s decline into corrupt professional ways. Rajesh Singh directed Amit Saxena and Nidhi Mishra in a postmodernist manner, gliding seamlessly from scene to scene with even their dress quick-changes on stage partially visible, both of them expressing how the complete loss of idealism among contemporary workingmen destroys personal domestic life.

In possibly their first visit to Kolkata, Parivartan Samooh (Gwalior) impressed the most with Krishna Sobti’s Ai Ladki, dramatized and directed by Ayaz Khan. This touching novella can never go wrong, relating as it does the last months of a mother-daughter bond as the former lies bedridden, awaiting death. Still, it received such fine enactment from Ritika Malhotra and Aiman Khatoon respectively (photo) that I found no justification whatsoever for another regressive bad habit, of onstage smoking—unless Ayaz actually wants his actors to inhale carcinogens and thereby follow the mother.


4 April 2023