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Rohit Vats
Tuesday , May 14, 2013 at 17 : 51

Mandi House theatre circuit: Let's give voice to anger


There is a distinct feel to watching plays. Most of the time, they give a sense of satisfaction. The viewer believes that he is directly contributing to the process of change in his immediate society. The spectators might not be very spontaneous in shedding as mush money as he does on a first day, first show film, but nevertheless the experience remains the same.

I was naturally elated to see the poster of a free-for-all play when I was looking for an interesting way to dodge the boredom of a summer evening. Apart from the effervescent North Campus, Mandi House is one place in Delhi which can give you an option to spend a 'meaningful' day till 10 in the evening.

The background artists and technicians were casually chatting when I entered the auditorium. The play was named 'Kahaani Jaanch Padtal Ki' and not a single big name was associated with it. Surprisingly, the auditorium was full, and it appeared like the after effect of the free entry board, but soon I realised that the gathering hardly had any novice as most of them were discussing the nuances of 'Aashad Ka Ek Din', 'Sakharam Binder', 'Tughlaq' and many more such plays. It was heart-warming, if they can talk about these plays, they can actually produce something similar.

A really minimalist stage greeted the audience but something was in their mannerism which suggested that the actors are not willing to let the opportunity go.

The play turned out to be an interesting one and actors overcame every difficulty with ease, but what surprised me was the tone of their sarcasm made at well known political and administrative offices.

Those who are the regular visitors of the Delhi theatre circuit would understand that the changing pattern of the politics has diluted down the jibes of plays to a good extent. But, here I was witnessing a play where actors were not in a double mind before uttering the names of some political heavyweights. However, the play was more comic than political, so it was bounded by limits.

If new directors are coming up with such themes then the future definitely is full of hope. This visit to Mandi House demonstrated how things change at intra-personal level if someone else acts your heart out.

The Mandi House area is the cultural hub of North India because everyone from playwrights to aspiring actors to social activists to patrons come to Sri Ram Centre or NSD or to any of the adjacent auditoriums. Even the students who stage plays in the University circuit come to Mandi House for inspiration and better technical assistance.

The left wing theatre groups are also active in Delhi, so the spectator has many choices as well.

I guess it's something more than a mere commitment to a particular ideology. It's the zeal to engage the society in a dialogue about wider perspectives.

It might have been constrained to a limited area but the indomitable spirit is bound to take the legacy of anger forward.


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More about Rohit Vats

A former film student himself, Rohit 'Vats' feels that a good film is made with a zealous heart rather than brilliant technique. He thinks that films can be used as a tool of social change, as the language of cinema crosses all barriers and touches people's lives deeper than any other medium. A self-confessed film noir buff, Rohit has equal admiration for other genres as well. Currently he is trying to bud as a film commentator.