Draupadi`s life, Premchand stories at theatre fest

New Delhi: When a group of women in a remote village of Haryana decide to reprise the story of Draupadi one night, they realise nothing has changed for them in today`s world. Many tales of travails of life, injustice and exploitation will come alive at a theatre festival in the capital beginning March 21, it was announced Tuesday.

The annual Bhartendu Natya Utsav, presented jointly by the Delhi government and the Sahitya Kala Parishad at the Sri Ram Centre for Arts and Culture, will start with Atul Satya Kaushik`s play ‘Draupadi’.

In re-telling certain chapters of Draupadi`s life, the director has juxtaposed the life of the wife of Pandavas in a contemporary setting, drawing parallels between her and the women of today.

"The play is set in a Haryana village where a group of women, belonging to a family of rural performers, are alone one night without their husbands. They decide to play a game where they would reprise Draupadi`s life," Kaushik said.

"It is while performing her part they realise how their lives are similar to hers. How nothing has changed in their lives and how they still have to face many things that Draupadi had to is what the play is all about," he added.

Three stories of Urdu writer Krishan Chander will be presented through the play ‘Ek Qalam Sarak Kinare’ that will put on stage the travails of life and the injustice and exploitation in the world.

Hindi writer Shankar Puntambekar`s satirical depiction of politics in ‘Democracy in Heaven’ and Munshi Premchand`s popular story ‘Gaban’ will also be staged.

"Works of eminent litterateurs will feature with some promising contemporary writers and directors," said J.P. Singh, assistant secretary, drama, Sahitya Kala Parishad.

"Through this festival, we have been trying to make theatre an integral part of the capital`s cultural life and provide valuable encouragement to artists who work hard to make sure the art of storytelling keeps evolving," he added.

The festival will end March 27.