Kharaashein, a play directed by Rishi Cheema and based on the dramatic rendering of two of Gulzar’s short stories Ravi Paar and Khuda Hafiz was staged at the Principal P.L. Anand Evening Auditorium in the varsity campus. The stories have been adapted into drama by Salim Arif. The play also included an adaptation of Ritika Bajaj Vijra’s short film Ab Rab Hawale. The play was staged on 9th and 10th of April and the show was houseful on both the days.
The play was organized independently by students. Karan Gulzar, a Ph.D. scholar from the Dept. Of Panjabi handled the background music and lighting, Rishi Cheema, an MPhil scholar from the Dept. Of English and Cultural Studies designed the set and costumes while Vaibhav Pathak managed the properties. Vani Sirkaek and Mansi Rawat helped backstage. The poster was designed by Ramandeep Singh.
Ramandeep Singh, Shaleen Bharatiya, Monika Sharma, Monika Supahiya, Kanika Bhalla, Kusum Sheoran and Sumegha Vaid from the Department of English and Jaspreet Singh from the Department of Sociology were the actors who performed in the play.
Live installations were set-up at the entry of the auditorium in which the actors posed as refugees. The play which was based on the partition of India in 1947, opened with a heart wrenching scene of communal violence which perpetrated through out the nation in those times. The stories Ravi Paar and Ab Rab Hawale portrayed the impact of political turmoil and communal violence on the lives of individual families. The message was very clear- no particular community was at fault and everyone suffered equally. The last story Khuda Hafiz provided the much needed comic relief with very subtle black humour. The stories were interspersed with the recital of Gulzar’s poetry by actors. This heightened the emotional tension to another level altogether.
In a conversation with the director, Rishi Cheema, he applauded the enitre team for their dedication and hard work. Moreover he said that theatre helps one learn life skills such as teamwork, cooperation, time management and discipline in a way one cannot learn by any other means.
One of the actors, Shaleen Bharatiya, had this to say about her experience, “The entire journey has been remarkable. Theatre helps in the removal of long-held inhibitions and thus results in the holistic development of a well-formed mind. I’m eternally grateful to my director, Rishi Cheema, who envisioned a scenario where I could contribute in the portrayal of the heart-rending reality of partition, an event that has forever scarred the nation.”
The audience were mesmerized.
Himanshi said, “It really took you that time and the characters were so moving and we could connect with them. The death of the character Rahim by our side made us have an urge to help him, that was the connection audience felt. The very entry created such an impact that we entered with shaken soul.”
Another member of the audience, Jyoti, praised the cast, “All the stories shown in the play were very lifelike and emotional and the acting was superb.”
Kharaashein was a delight for the audience as well as the actors who worked hard to make it a success.
About the Author:
Sumegha Vaid (Department of English and Cultural Studies, Panjab University)