Ek Mamuli Aadmi

The play tells the story of last few years of Ishwar Chand, a retired man, who recently died. When his son tries to invite his father’s colleagues for the funeral, he receives the rude responses. Even the priest is not interested in attending to the rites. The son is in shock. After all, his father was a common man! What can a common man do to cause angst to so many people? Especially when the departed was such a simpleton as his dad. What is even more surprising that while even the dead’s colleagues excused themselves from attending final rites, there is crowd of seemingly unknown people who have come to pay a final visit. What can a common man do to inspire such respect from so many people? The play answers these questions and more by switching between Ishwar’s flashbacks and his office colleagues’ accounts, as the audience and Ishwar’s son learn about his father he never knew.

The play excels on all parameters. The portrayal of Ishwar by Aanjjan Srivastav is done so well that audience fails to differentiate between the performer and the character. Other characters also act very well, especially Niraj Pandey.

The play is a must watch and among the best performances in Mumbai theatre with an engaging script and tight screenplay. The play evokes complete spectrum of emotions and is highly recommended.

AglaPlay Verdict: Must Watch
AglaPlay Rating: 4.5/5
Language: Hindi 
Duration: 2 Hours (Approx.)
Writer:  Ashok Lal 
Director: Raman Kumar
Cast: Aanjjan Srivastav (Ishwar), 
Pramod Dubey,
Nivedita Baunthiyal,
Shivkant Lakhanpal, 
Akbar Khan, Niraj Pandey
& Others

Below are few relevant links. The play is inspired from Japanese movie ‘Ikuru’ whose trailer link is also provided.

Play performed by IIM Lucknow 
Review on HT [Potential Spoilers]
Ikuru (1952) Movie Trailer


The play Kashmakash is a gibe at political hypocrisy and opportunism. The protagonist of the play is an honest poor book-binder who is living a hard life with his daughter and wife. In the moment of need, he approaches local politician for help. The politician suggests him to fabricate the story of being a freedom fighter and earn a pension. The poor soul, the hero of our story, agrees to it. The plot gradually unfolds to show the audience merriment, pangs of exploitation and inner-conflicts aka Kashmakash of the family.

The performances of all characters are laudable. The central character is played effortlessly by the common man of the 80s – Aanjan of Wagle Ki Duniya fame. But that is the least expected from seasoned cast of IPTA under the direction of Ramesh Talwar. What this play excels at is the story line. The situations and scenes are written extremely well and are matched perfectly with realistic presentation and paraphernalia. The feelings that the play evokes in the audience are almost palpable. The audience feels sad when for family’s poverty, but also shares the joy and pride of public felicitations.

A motley of all emotions, this one is for everyone! Also, if you have time, ‘Wagle Ki Duniya‘, a famous TV series from late 80s by R K Laxman. The episodes are available on YouTube.

AglaPlay Verdict: A very very good play
AglaPlay Rating: 4/5
Language: Hindi 
Duration: 2 Hours (Approx.)
Writer:  Debasis Majumdar, translation by Santwana Nigam 
Director: Ramesh Talwar
Cast:    Aanjjan Srivastav, 
Sulabha Arya, Avtar Gill, 
Neeraj Pandey/ Vignesh Sinkar, 
Manju Sharma, Ranjana Srivastava, 
Omprakash, Prashant padale, 
Rajeev Jha

Below are a few relevant links, including the YouTube link to Wagle Ki Duniya TV Series.

Other Links
Review at TribuneIndia
Wagle Ki Duniya Wikipedia
Wagle Ki Duniya YouTube

Shatranj Ke Mohre

Director by famed Ramesh Talwar in 70s, this is the longest running play of IPTA group. The title loosely translates to ‘Human Pawns’ in the context of the play. These human pawns, like their fellow Chess pawns; are expendables, and are stuck between the fight of two contrasting ideologies (kings). The central characters here are Kakaji and Acharya Ram Bhajan. The story unfolds between the contrasting ideologies of these two, identifying pawns of the system. This satirical play provokes the free decision-making ability of the characters itself.

The play is a treasure. A must-watch, it balances the bitter satire with precise comic timings and light notes. The seasoned cast of IPTA delivers yet another outstanding performance. The set and lightnings compliment the topnotch performances to create this classic. It is also a good opportunity for the audience to watch so many famed artists performing together on the stage!

AglaPlay Verdict: Must watch
AglaPlay Rating: 5/5
Language: Hindi
Duration: 2 hours 20 minutes (Approx)
Writer: P L Deshpande 
Director: Ramesh Talwar 
Cast:   Aanjjan Srivastav, 
Rakesh Bedi, 
Avtar Gill, Ramesh  Talwar, 
Rashmi Sharma, Bansi Thapar, 
Javed Khan 
& Others

Below are a few relevant links. The web link to the play performance by IIT Kanpur students is also provided for those who cannot see live performance.

Other Links
Image Gallery at IPTA Mumbai site
Ramesh Talwar Wikipedia
Aanjjan Srivastav Wikipedia
Avtar Gill Wikipedia
Rakesh Bedi Wikipedia

Ek Aur Dronacharya

This unsparing, hard-hitting play showcases ground realities of world through events in lives of two teachers across eras. One, the mythical master of archery and scriptures – Dronacharya and another – Arvind, an honest modern-day college professor. Divided by the eras and times, the two unite in the conundrums they face as the practicality hit their idealism hard.

The play is unforgiving in its portrayal of ever-existing conflicts between idealism and the reality; an individual against the system. The idealism, which needs to stand upright with its head held high, is repeatedly drawn into submission for human needs. Did ideals took a bashing from Kaurvas Gold in Mahabharata period? Will ideals genuflect to Rupees in modern world?

The IPTA group delivers yet another sterling performance in this play. Aanjjan and Akhilendra particularly are exemplary in the characters they portray. The play is tightly written. The costumes and stage set is done well. Especially the costumes of Mahabharata-era are very nicely done. A must-watch for the theatre goers who would enjoy a hard-hitting play with great performances!

AglaPlay Verdict: Do watch!
AglaPlay Rating: 4/5
Language: Hindi
Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes (Approx)
Writer: Shankar Shesh 
Director: Subhash Dangayach 
Cast:  Aanjjan Srivastav (Arvind), 
Sulabha Arya (Arvind's wife), 
Akhilendra Mishra (Dronachaarya), 
Nivedita Baunthiyal (Dronacharya's wife)
& Others

Below are a few relevant links. The web link to the play performance by IIT Kanpur students is also provided for those who cannot see live performance.

Other Links
Image Gallery at IPTA Mumbai site
Shankar Shesh Wikipedia
Performance by IIT K 

Taj Mahal ka Tender

A period drama setup in corrupt times, this play is a satire on current bureaucratic system. Emperor Shah Jahan wants a memoir of love to be built for generations to remember his love. The bureaucracy has other plans, though. Hand-in-gloves with contractors, the bureaucrats milk the opportunity at the cost of the royal treasury. The question is if Taj Mahal will get built, or… not?

Different groups perform this play regularly across India. The full length videos of the play performed by various artists and groups are also readily available on YouTube. I watched IPTA’s first-rate performance with Avtar Gill (as contractor) and Rakesh Bedi in the cast. The execution of IPTA was flawless as always, which is expected from it with the tenured ensemble it has. It is always a delight to see IPTA’s troupe performing on a stage!

The plot does justice to the topic it picks up and showcases gradual ascend of greed in people. It also captures the gamut of possibilities of corruption in a government construction. Continued relevance and simplicity of the plot would be two strong pillars of the play’s performance anywhere.

That said, the plot lacks the content to hold the audience for 2 hours, which is regular run-time for the play. Audience may feel the play to be boring and over-stretched at times. The comic situations, which are either absurd or predictable, do not help much.

AglaPlay Verdict: Average play
AglaPlay Rating: 2.5/5
Language: Hindi
Duration: Approx. 2 hours
Writer: Ajay Shukla
Director: Salim Arif
Cast: Rakesh Bedi (bureaucrat),
Avtar Gill (contractor), 
Rajan Kapur / Bharat kapoor, 
Manju Sharma, Abhishek Srivastav, 
Pramod Dubey, Omprakash & others

Below are a few relevant links. The web links to other reviews are also provided for easy reference.

Other Links
Full Play by Swatantra Theatre Group
Review on Repaitxt
IPTA Mumbai Official Site 
Avtar Gill Wikipedia
Rakesh Bedi Wikipedia