Musical play ‘Babuji’ showcases the charm of ‘theatre of roots’

A scene from the play ‘Babuji’. —Excelsior/Rakesh
A scene from the play ‘Babuji’. —Excelsior/Rakesh

Lalit Gupta
JAMMU, Feb 2: An enthralling performance of Hindi play Babuji, in Nautanki style was presented by the Flying Feathers Arts Association, Delhi, on the second day of ongoing international theatre festival NIFT 2020, at the Abhinav Theatre, here today.
Based on Mithleshwar’s original short story, adapted for stage by Vibhanshu Vaibhav, the play’s plot revolves around the lifelong struggles and tabulations of folk artiste Lallan Singh who is completely attached with dance and music. Abandoned by his wife who moves away with their kids, he passionately pursues the calling of his heart and finally succeeds in forming a Nautanki company. Many years later he gets an invitation to perform a Nautanki show at the marriage of his own daughter. When his would be in-law misbehaves with the female dancer, the upright Babuji castigates the rich man, whose lackey’s beat him blue? Babu ji later succumbs to injuries.
Directed by Rajesh Singh, an alumni of National School of Drama, and London Academy of Music & Dramatic Arts, the play befittingly was designed in Nautanki style which being a break from realistic theatre and can truly be called as theater of roots. Marked with live music, dance and poetry, sung and performed by team of seasoned actors who inundated audience with myriad shades of emotions. At one moment one felt elated by sense of gaiety and celebration, while the other moment one was swamped by the tragic.
Today’s performance was a perfect fare in which urban audience of Jammu experienced the stylized and exaggerated theatricality, the hallmark of the folk theater form of Nautanki.
Tomorrow, Swadesh Deepak’s master piece Hindi play Court marshal will be performed.