By The IST NewsNetwork
Sydney November 10, 2017: The second South Asian Theatre Festival organised by Nautanki Theatre was launched on November 9, 2017 to a full house at Raffertys Theatre, Riverside Parramatta. The festival was a series of three plays in different languages and touching current themes.
The festival started with high voltage topic of non-violence in the age when terrorism is engulfing the world. “Bapu Down Under” in Gujarati depicted in Gujarati folk lore style Mahatma Gandhi with Ba Kasturba boarded a train to Melbourne to attend a peace conference. Their co-passengers were a bunch of aggressive youth who wanted to end violence with violence, fire with fire. Gandhi intervenes and tries to convince them that anger is the enemy of non-violence. An eye for eye only ends up making the world blind. Each one has to find his peace from within and peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances. The youth are care convinced and agree that non-violence still is the answer to terror. Surely we need a circuit breaker for something to work. The play was written by Dinsha Palkhiwala and directed by Vipul Vyas. the cast included Hemal Joshi, Saral Somaiya, Aparna Tijoriwala, Dinsha Palkhiwala, Alisha Mistry, Vedant Tijoriwala and Tanya Bhatnagar.
The second play,Thara in Singhalese was also on the similar theme. A war hungry King is confronted by his daughter who shows compassion and ahimsa(non-violence). The king invites his daughter to join his campaign to conquer countries but she refuses. The conspiring ministers then instigate the King to punish the princess. The princess is assassinated. The Ministers then by another trick render the King blind and rejoice the events. But a court doctor cures his blindness and a Devi appears to convince violence is no answer. Win the world with compassion and love. The play was written and directed by Champa Buddhipala and starred Dinesh Perara, Champa Buddhipala, Upekha Pasqual, Sampath Jayaweera, Thilak Ranasinghe, Mihir Fernando, Sriya Ranasinghe, Chanaka Hennadige and Gayara Welegama. Music was by Indu Prematilake(Harmonium), Sanjeewa Warnakulasuriya (Maddala Drum)
The third and final presentation was in Urdu “ Jehan Ara ke teen Roop”
the three sides of Jehan ara, empress of the universe. Historically, Jehan Ara was a daughter of Mughal emperor Shahjehan but here Uzma Gillani, the writer, director shows three phases of a persons life beautifully depicted by Uzma, Kumud Merani and Reema Gillani. It was nice way to reflect upon the three phases of life. All the three artists excelled in depicting young, middle-aged and old Jehan Ara. In this play the ageing and ailing Jehan Ara brings back to life her youth, her child birth and the middle age where she recollects her name and fame though a mirage. But all three come together to give solace to the ailing Jehan Ara in her last stages.
The story by Reema Gillani who was the younger Jehan Ara in the play brought the anger of the injustices meted out to her to the fore. Kumud Merani, the flamboyant of the three was seen often regretting her rise to fame and Uzma depicted how painful the old age can be specially the lonely period.
All the performances were powerful.