5-play Fest by Sangam Theatre Group opens at Abhinav Theatre

A scene from the play ‘Ek Aur Birbal’ staged at Abhinav Theatre on Monday. -Excelsior/Rakesh
A scene from the play ‘Ek Aur Birbal’ staged at Abhinav Theatre on Monday. -Excelsior/Rakesh

Lalit Gupta

JAMMU, Mar 12: Supported by Ministry of Culture, New Delhi,  the second edition of Theatre festival of Sangam Theatre Group from Reasi, opened at the Abhinav Theatre, here today.
The five-play festival was inaugurated by Kavinder Gupta, Speaker, Legislative Assembly. Ajay Bharti, MLC, and Aziz Hazani, Secretary, J&K Academy of Art, Culture & Languages, were also present on the occasion.
‘Ek Aur Birbal’, written by Rakesh Roshan Bhat, directed by Rohit Bhat, and performed by Vomed Rangmanch as the first performance of the Festival, came out to be an engrossing presentation that revolved around the life and heroic deeds of Kashmiri Pandit Birbal Dhar, who in the early 19th century, at a great peril showed exemplary courage to put an end to the Afghan rule of Azim Khan and secretly ventured to Lahore to seek military help from Sikh Maharaja Ranjit Singh, whose armies ultimately liberate Kashmir from Afghan tyranny.
Today’s performance enacted with minimum sets, came alive mainly due to good acting by the entire cast which included Puneet Bali as Azim Khan, Sunny Muzoo as Birbal Dhar, Vinay Pandita as Mirza Kak, Rajni Bhatti as Birbal’s wife, Meenakshi as Raj Kak’s wife, Rahul Pandita as Raj Kak, Ashiesh Bhat as Anwar Khan, King C. Bharti as Bassa Ram, Sukh Ram as Abhay Rajput , Anmol Pandita as Mirza’s son, Anmol Pandita as Maharaja Ranjit Singh and narration by Kamal Razdan.
The use of typical Pandit costumes and well-executed make-up Shammi Dhamir helped in creating the feel of the period and uniqueness of Kashmiri culture. The bhajans sequence in the Mahadev worship scene, an addition from the last versions of the play, came out as an interesting musical interlude, especially with the well designed Shiva Linga by Veer Ji Sumbli as a backdrop.  However, the fluctuating volumes and miscuing of the background musical score many times drowned the dialogues.
Speaking at the occasion Akram Khan, director of Sangam Theatre Group, Reasi, gave an account of the activities of the group. Kusum Tickoo, senior theatre, and TV artiste conducted the program.
Tomorrow, Dogri Sahitya Mandal, Ramnagar, will present Dogri Lay Dangar.