Five-day Theatre Carnival opens with Dogri adaptation of Garish Karnad’s English play

Lalit Gupta
JAMMU, Apr 16:  Organized by Natraj Natya Kunj and sponsored by Ministry of Culture, New Delhi, North Zone Cultural Centre, Patiala, and J&K Cultural Academy, ‘Theatre Carnival’, a five-day drama festival was inaugurated by the chief guest Saugat Viswas, Transport Commissioner, in presence of Aziz Hajani, Secretary, JKAACL,  at the Abhinav Theatre, here today.
The festival opened with NNK’s nationally acclaimed ‘Agni Barkha. Directed by Abhishek Bharti, and based on Kumar A Bharti’s Dogri adaptation of Ram Gopal Bazaz’s Hindi translation of Girish  Karnad’s original English drama, ‘The Fire and the Rain’, today performance for its high level of theatre craft, experimental design  came out to be an impressive as well as entertaining affair.
The plot of the drama, in a fascinating interplay of ancient myths recorded in Mahabharata, revolved around Pravasu, eldest son of sage Raibaya involved as head priest in 7-year long yagya for rain and who has even forsaken his wife Vishakha. The discard felt by his father, cousin Yavakri adds new dimension to the story.
Pravasu’s younger brother, Aravasu who is in love with a tribal girl is unwittingly broiled in the battle on of f supremacy between his father, brother and cousin. Yavakari seduction of Vishakha, leads to unleashing of Brahmrakshasha upon him by the sage. Aravasu’s goodness and faith makes God Indra appear, who asks to him seek a wish. Aravasu’s sense of duty and goodness results in drought ridden land being granted rain and people’s salvation.
Today’s production having the distinct stamp of young director Abhishek Bharti eclectic theatre language that was marked with an amalgam of elements of mime, rhythmic body movements, groupings with a unique mix of folk and Indian classical dance movement, and creative selection of background score that included chanting of Sanskrit shlokas, alaaps as well as  crescendos, drum beats.
Lalit Sharma as Brahmarakshas impressed the most. Others who also notable performances included Mukesh Bakshi as Aravasu, Surbhi Balgotra as Nitlai, Akshay Razdan as Yavakri/Raja, Pranav Sharma as Vajir, Aman Sharma as Parvasu, Niharika Shakshi as Vishakha, , Abhishek  Sharma as Kartanat, Kanav Sharma  as Rabhya, Karan as Anhara Baba, Aakash Sharma as Indra, Hema Shivgotra and Tejan Bharti as Chorus.   The choreography was by Romit Sawhney, make-up by Shammi Dhamir and background music by Surinder Manhas.
Tomorrow, Ras Kala Manch  Safidon, Haryana will present Hindi play Doosra Aadmi Doosri Aurat.