When Theater Meets Social Cause

While the world is racing against time to get wealthier the theater group Asmita has been trying to make a difference to society through their plays. A group of young enthusiasts under the able guidance of their director, Arvind Gaur of Asmita, has been creating waves in the Delhi’s theater circuit.

This noteworthy group was founded in 1993 with the purpose of making aesthetically innovative and socially relevant theatre.

Asmita presented their collection of five plays called Unsuni on June 29 in the India Habitat Center in New Delhi on sultry summer evenings. This play is based on the novel “Unheard Voices” by Harsh haytheatre.com Mander. Directed by resident director Arvind Gaur and scripted by the famous theater personality Mallika Sarabhai, Unsuni is more of a reality check!

The play reveals the misery and despair of the multitudes in our country still hankering for a single meal! Through five stories, Unsuni attempts at drawing the attention from the educated and often ignorant class of people in the society.

The plays

Anand is the story of a bunch of people that fight it out, living on the footpath. Viren Basoya, who played the protagonist of the play, tells the story of their lives and how they all live happily on the footpath often changing their home subject to the police chasing them around.

This dark play makes one realize the plight of these people. A social reformist Father John finally finds these people shelter in a home for the destitute. The play ends with the actors breaking into a hopeful dance sequence from a popular Bollywood tune with lyrics of their lives and optimism.

Jagatu Gond Ka Gaon the next story throws light on the plight of farmers in the rural India. Jagatu, the protagonist played by Pankaj Yadav grew up on the hope of becoming the collector of his village some day in order to give his father back his own piece of land that was taken away from them by force by the Sethji.

Jagatu gets hopeful when the new law was passed in 1982 where farmers were to rightfully get back their lands. Jagatu ends up selling his house and all that he possessed to run from pillar to post from one court to the other to realize his dream. Broken, tattered and penniless Jagatu and his wife still put up a good fight for years on end till they finally get back their land.

Naraini Amma the next play is a powerful act enacted by the protagonist Shilpi Marwaha. This is a story of the plight of the five million people across the country that earn their living by cleaning human excreta.

This is a shocking revelation for the audience as Narayani Amma in a monologue talks about her life and how it revolves around her profession. Shilpi Marwaha, a superb actress, is an absolute hair raiser.

Malika Begum revolves around the ever gaping issue of riots, again played by Shilpi Marwah. The play begins with Begum telling her story–she grows up in a friendly neighborhood where Hindus and Muslims live in peace. However, as the riots would have it, Malika Begum’s Hindu friends get down to murdering the Muslims in the village including Begum’s family.

She is the only survivor of this horrific incident and gets grilled by the lawyers and police for years on end on the pretext of lying about the incident.

The next play named Jatin (the secret wounds of Jatin) revolves around leprosy. Jatin suffers from leprosy all his life and gets condemned from his own relatives’ house after the death of his parents.

Jatin finds luck in love and marries someone suffering from leprosy as well. However, the storm strikes when their son gets dismissed from his school when the school authorities get to know of his parents.

Jatin and his wife then admit their son in a faraway school never to meet him again.

With a stimulating collection of Unsuni plays, Arvind Gaur proved his mettle as en efficient director and a socially active individual..

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