Thursday, July 20, 2017

Das Maathe Sau Naam

Written & Directed by:  Aishwarya Sharma & Pradyumn Awasthi
Production Managers:   Shashwata Sinha, Utkarsh Agarwal, Rishabh Gupta
Form:                                   Oasis Street Play
Date:                                      20th October 2016

Cast Members:

Aakash Juneja, Aishwarya Sharma, Kaushik Ramesh Iyengar, Arjun Mahendru, Pradyumn Awasthi, Gunjan Agarwal, Ayush Raj, Durjai Sethi, Mukundan Singh, Aakash Sharma, Gunraj Singh, Apoorv Singh Chandel, Harshit Gandhi, Shraddha Jain, Anirjit Hom Roy, Aditya Vikram.

The Play:

Das Maathe Sau Naam, a masterpiece of words, penned by Aishwarya Sharma and Pradyumn Awasthi, managed to convince its audience that a flip-side to the classic mythological tale of Ramayana did exist. No character deserves to be judged based on a story narrated from a biased single-sided perspective. Yet, since times unknown we have blindly believed in Ramayana being Ram’s eulogy and a tale that decimates Ravana’s character, regarding him as the epitome of evil.

On the first day of Oasis ’16 under the scorching sun: passion, enthusiasm, conviction and belief resonated in every actor’s voice in the FD-2 QT. Every actor who entered the street play circle, surrounded by hundreds of spectators about to witness a paradigm shift in their ideologies about good and evil, had one motive in mind, to convince every soul witnessing this play that stories aren’t just black and white, they do have greys and more often than not they are like yin-yang. The script had to be cautiously written, keeping in mind while presenting a conviction of the good in Ravana’s evil, any fact should not be sabotaged or tampered with; or the play should not turn out to be a forced eulogy of Ravana instead.

The play consisted of scenes from the Ramayana, shown from Ravana’s perspective: how his concern for his sister after being assaulted was justified, how Sita was swayed from her morals without using any force, of how her sanctity was kept intact even when in Ravana’s kingdom.

The eventual feeling of ecstasy for the club, of securing second place in Oasis after 7 long years would still be trivialized by the sense of accomplishment felt, when during a scene in the end of the play every spectator was successfully convinced of the side of the story the play was narrating.

A script, no less than a masterstroke, brimming with thought provoking notions, voiced by hard hitting dialogues, ensured that Das Maathe Sau Naam would shine eternally in all its glory and be remembered as an inspiration for years and batches of thespians to come.

Memories of the play:

  • ·         With around 11 actors playing the role of Ravana in different scenes spread throughout the play, the directors had to make extra efforts in maintaining a similar character that was consistent throughout regardless of the actors’ prominent individual traits.
  • A major issue to be tackled during the blocking was that entire script was poetic, and to actually demarcate between the songs and dialogues was a task.
  • ·         The writing of this play was fuelled with volumes of research, namely reading the book Asura by Anand Neelkantan, watching plays, videos and readings off the internet based on the same or similar topics.
  • ·         In this demanding duration of developing this play, 4 senior members of the club whilst in Delhi (to watch a play for more ideas), to relieve themselves of the bottled up frustration that was taking a toll on them, had to go to spend a day in “Machaan”, which they would remember forever as a day of unquantifiable disclosures and memories.
  • ·         During the blocking and rehearsals of the play, Pradyumn(2014 batch) stayed for a month in Aakash Juneja’s (2013 batch) room, to catalyse the development of the play with a senior’s inputs. In Juneja’s words, “ajeeb tha, 3-1 mein main Diro, aur 4-1 mein Assistant Director?!”

The Gallery:

"Common Call" before the play starts, to attract the audience and indicate that the play is about to start.

The hurdle, with the directors giving their final pep talk,  seconds before the play is about to start.

Aishwarya Sharma (the director also) performing the role of Shroopankha,
 accusing Ram of ill-treating her solely because of her unrequited love.

Structure depicting Sita's cottage in whilst serving exile.

Another structure depicting how the society kept Ram on a pedestal.

Aakash Juneja essaying the role of a battle lost Ravana.

In a hypothetical parallel universe, where Lord Ram could be condemned
for the unjust treatment he imposed on Sita.

Lord Shiv, the deity Ravana worshipped, performing "the Taandav".

Pradyumn Awasthi, taking a bow, in the final credits.

Hindi Drama Club, 20th October 2016.

Follow Hindi Drama Club, BITS Pilani on Facebook and @hindidramaclub on Instagram for updates.
||गर  हो  सके  तो अब कोई शमा  जलाईये ||