New Delhi: There is a sense of subdued tension inside the auditorium at the National School of Drama (NSD) as director Faisal Alkazi takes his crew of 45 differently-abled children through their final rehearsal. The little actors through their play 'Dastan-e-Dilli' give a kaleidoscopic view of the national capital's mythical and revolutionary past.
From adolescent Krishna's cheeky antics to Razia Sultan's splendour, leading up to Mangal Pandey's inspiring legend - they say it all. All barriers are broken, new endurance levels are achieved as these young thespians put their best act forward.
Play director Feisal Alkazi said, "The show is theirs. I am not worried about the quality of the show, what matters is that the children in the show should have great experience."
And for some of these children, this has been a one-of-a kind experience. Belonging to marginalised backgrounds, most have overcome their daily battle for survival amidst their severe disabilities. Alkazi added, "Actually the barrier is in our mind. We never push the child, we never stretch the ability. And the purpose of the play was to stretch the ability."
Apart from Dastan-e-Dilli, there were two other special acts by differently abled children at the 11-day-long NSD festival. Tagore's play 'Dakghar' directed by Sushanta Mondal and Buddhuram by Guwahati-based Seagul Theatre were performed by severe sight and speech impaired children.
Backstage, before the curtain raiser, excitement and drama ran high. As lights dimmed in the auditorium right from the word go, Daastan-e-Dilli warmed the viewers heart with their child play. They're bold, they're fierce and they're full of life. Playing the bold characters of a cultural past was not a difficult task for them because it's in their blood. All they are asking from us is not let barriers be there and give them an opportunity.