Saturday, August 05, 2017

Taj Mahal Ka Tender

Directed by:                         Abhinav Bhardwaj & Vrinda Dharmarha
Playwright:                          Ajay Shukla
Assistant Director:          Puneet Keshtwal
Production Managers:  Kaushik Ramesh Iyengar & Utkarsh Agarwal
Form:                                    Stage Play
Date:                                     8th April 2016
Type :                                    Semester Production


Guptaji:               Utkarsh Gupta
Sudhir:                 Pranjal Deep
Shah Jahaan:    Mohit Soni
Sharma:              Deepansh Bhargava
Bhaiyaji:             Arjun Mahendru
Neta 1:                  Shashwata Sinha
Neta 2:                 Pradyumn Awasthi
Sethi:                    Durjai Sethi
Darbari 1:          Mukundan Singh
Darbari 2:          Ayush Raj
Chapraasi:        Aakash Sharma

The Play

This play is a satirical comedy on the Indian bureaucratic system. It delves deep into the corrupted root causes of why & how development gets delayed. Instead of making the audience feel depressed about the harsh realities, by giving insights on the inside scene that happens in the offices, Ajay Shukla deftly tries to convey the same as a hilarious comedy which is bound to leave the audience with a thought.

The plot revolves around a modern-day Shah Jahaan and what all hindrances he'd have to face just to get the tender for Taj Mahal's construction get passed. He beckons Guptaji, an experienced civil engineer, to commence the construction of this memorial. Unaware of Guptaji's innate, inherent corrupt nature which is depicted with subdued subtlety as a result of the entire corrupt system affecting him, Shah Jahaan gives Guptaji the contract. 

The hindrances that follow become hilariously annoying with various politicians protesting to Guptaji occupying the land of villagers, some revolting to the cutting down of trees, some officials halting the passing of the tender for an absurd pollution check, but all having one ulterior motive of making money out of this.

During this entire process, the construction gets delayed by decades altogether, and the timeline of the central characters is shown across this time gap, surrounded by these humorous hindrances.

Memories of the play:

  • One of the main challenges for the diros was the depiction of the central characters and their evolution and changes throughout the entire timeline. For the same, after every scene, a dedicated production team was involved in make up involving hair coloring, facial lines, changing of props, being as smooth and quick as possible, as there was hardly any time between the scenes.
  • A lot of experimentation was done with Shah Jahaan's character, making a lot of changes and finally settling for a modern-day, neo Shah Jahaan, rather than the classic image of a Mughal ruler people have in mind, to give a fresh, tacky tinge to the play.


Guptaji showing Shah Jahaan the blue print of Taj Mahal.

Shah Jahaan unleashing his rage on Darbaari 1.

Neta 1 threatening Guptaji to halt the construction.

Neta 2 asking for his cut.

The jovial Sharmaji from the pollution control department.

Shah Jahaan in the later stages of his life inquiring about the status of the tender.

Sethi sahab subtly inquiring about the delay in the payment of bribe. 

The Brochure:

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||गर  हो  सके  तो अब कोई शमा  जलाईये ||