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|NATWA’s premiere production, Prof. Mohan Maharishi’s translation of Shakespeare’s timeless play ‘Othello- Moor of Venice’ opened to spellbound audiences on 5th & 6th Novemeber 2005, at Sri Ram Centre, New Delhi. The 'magic' was reproduced on 1th, 12th and 13th November, 17th & 18th December and once again at the NSD festival on 13th January, 2006. The production’s unique set design and its 21 member cast, consisting mainly of NSD alumni, kept the audiences glued to the seats with pin drop silence .Delhi audiences were treated to the ‘never before experienced’ magic of theatre.|
|Mahendra Mewati’s portrayal of ‘Othello’, Shrivardhan Trivedi as Iago and Harvinder Kaur as Emilia along with the rest of the cast put up performances that parallel nearly the best in the world. This marks the beginning of professional theatre performances in Delhi.|
Aurangzeb was performed at the National School Of Drama Theatre festival:
Delhi: 8th January 2008 at
Mumbai: 15th January 2008 at Nehru Centre at 7:30 pm (tickets at venue)
|About the Play
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.
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.
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)
NATWA successfully performed its 2nd production ‘HO RAHEGA KUCHH NA KUCHH’ at SRC Delhi on 25-26 February 2006. Mohan Maharishi’s adaptation of Marsha Norman’s ‘Night Mother’ is a taut and fluid drama that deals with the ultimate existentialist issues. Performed by a two member NSD alumni cast, it forced the audience to honestly think about the meaning of life and the relationship of man with the sacred. The play subsequently was invited to NCPA Mumbai and was on show at the NCPA Experimental on 6-7 May 2006. The South Mumbai audiences were mesmerized by this unique play.
Coming Soon from NATWA
YAHIN KAHIN BAHUT DOOR
directed by Mohan Maharishi