Bin Mandir Ka Bhagwaan
Directed by: Shivank Garg & Shreya Hans
Written by: Shivank Garg, Shreya Hans & Pradyumn Awasthi
Assistant Director: Pradyumn Awasthi
Production Managers: Mohit Soni, Shashwata Sinha
Form: Street Play
Date: 9th February 2016
Pranjal Deep, Aakash Juneja, Aishwarya Sharma, Shivank Garg, Shreya Hans, Deepansh Bhargava, Akansha Mittal, Kaushik Ramesh Iyengar, Arjun Mahendru, Pradyumn Awasthi, Gunjan Agarwal, Ayush Raj, Durjai Sethi, Mukundan Singh, Alanckrit Jain.
For decades, from pre-independence to post-independence era, volumes have been spoken about the plight of farmers: the backbone of Indian economy, their tales of ill-treatment and ignorance towards the fundamentality of their contribution. Unfortunate incidents in the so called “modern contemporary India” reminding us of horrid atrocities against farmers under the British Raj, fuelled the writing for this play.
With the directors & assistant director researching about various incidents across the nation, formulating notions and taking ideas from the plays performed in Bumboo(intra-club street play competition) wrote a gem of a script. Series of events throughout the play depicted different life stories of individuals, especially farmers, drowning in unfair debt, being tormented for more outputs for meagre reimbursements, tricked into giving up their land, and all of these possessing stark resemblance with the atrocious conditions and impositions the farmers had to survive during the British rule. Bin Mandir Ka Bhagwaan questioned about the idea of true and actual freedom. When freedom itself had failed to reach a specific, major chunk of the population, even after 6-7 decades of independence, were we really free?
Starting with a self-written poem, interspersed with songs, rhymes and melodies to interact with the audience in an aesthetic and expressive way, the play majorly consisted of high intensity scenes, depicting stories of a mother killing her own child to save her from a future imminent death from starvation, unfurling the horrific irony of the food-producers of the nation dying from the lack of the same. The other stories consisted of a farmer being burdened with the impositions of an unfair pending debt in the name of his deceased father, trapped by the nexus of money-lenders, zamindars and politicians trying to capitalize on the farmer’s forced suicide. With other heart-wrenching tales and exact facts guiding the play throughout, Bin Mandir Ka Bhagwaan instilled sympathy for the farmers, made the spectators aware about their adverse situation, and made them doubt whether freedom reached every Indian or not.
On the chilly night of 9th February 2016, a horde of teary eyed spectators, a more aware audience ignited to catalyse changes, left the FD-2 QT, leaving behind a group of red-kurta clad actors marinating in the success of dissipation of ideas and emotions that they could be a part of.
Memories of the play:
- · The idea of the play, stemmed from Shivank’s father suggesting him to write about the plight of Indian farmers, to not focus on how frequently it has been talked about, but to focus on how and why the condition has still not improved.
- · Pradyumn, in his tenure as AssD, spent around a month living in Shivank’s room to catalyse the scripting process.
- · Many a times, during the blockings, the songs wouldn’t come out in perfect coordination. To ensure that this doesn’t happen again, the directors made everyone walk (and sometimes even sing simultaneously) at the same pace, which they varied from 1-10(slowest to fastest); everyone had to walk at the pace, the number of which was instructed by the diros.
- · According to the diros, this street play was different from the other street plays they had been a part of as it was much more serious as compared to the humorously interactive plays they had done before. This play spoke about a gravely serious issue and demanded the emotional intensity to be maintained and connected with the audience on a different frequency altogether.
- · The diros had their set of favourite scenes: one being when the mother(Aishwarya) is forced to strangulate her own child, and the other being when a destitute farmer (Alanckrit) is beaten up by a moneylender. These scenes made the audience well up, some of them later contacting the actors as to tell them how impactful the scenes were and how much connected they felt with it, essaying comments like: " Why did you beat him up?”, “I cried in the scene when the child was being put down”.
|The hurdle before the play.|
|Aakash Juneja exuding passion & intensity.|
|The thespians humming "Baisakhi Punjab di".|
|The destitute farmer(Alanckrit) being tormenting by the vile moneylender(Durjai).|
|The cast involved in a structure replicating the farmers committing suicide, |
much like during the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre of 1919.
|The mother(Aishwarya) singing a lullaby to her child, eventually forced to suffocate her to death.|
|The cast resonating at the same frequency, mid-song.|
|A zamindar(Kaushik) after coercing a farmer to sell his daughter(Gunjan) to him,|
against his debt, molests her.
|A 3 pyramid structure that emphatically speaks volumes about the British hierarchy and dominance.|
|The poor farmer(Alanckrit) evidently petrified by the zamindar.|
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