Plays on Premchand`s anniversary

New Delhi: As the nation observes the 130th birth anniversary of Munshi Premchand tomorrow, a number of theatre groups have lined up a series of plays based on the literary legend`s works across the country including in his ancestral village in Varanasi.

Mumbai-based Ideal Drama and Entertainment Academy (IDEA) has made elaborate arrangements for the occasion.

The group, which started the `Aadab Main Premchand Hoon` series in 2005, will stage 54 plays on the writer`s stories during the 10-day-long `Prem Utsav 2010` from August 1 in Mumbai.

IDEA`s head Mujeeb Khan, a theatre activist writing and directing plays on social issues since the past 28 years, said, "On Munshiji`s birthday tomorrow we are staging three plays `Sawa Ser Gehoon`, `Mandir Masjid` and `Qatil in the city`".

IDEA is in its fifth year of celebrating its annual drama festival Prem Utsav.

"In five years, we have staged 238 out of Premchand`s 283 stories in 257 weeks," Khan told reporters.

According to Khan, stories of Premchand, whose real name was Dhanpat Rai, only add to the dramatic presentation and the issues he addressed are relevant even today.

"His stories are contemporary and relevant to the society. Most of them attempt to correct the wrong in the society. That is why we have staged them so many times," he said.

The Actor Factor Theatre Company will present Premchand`s `Kafan` in the national capital tomorrow. An original stage adaptation of Premchand`s last short story, `Kafan` is a dark comedy.

In the play, puppetry is being explored to depict the tussle between two classes and the plight of Budhia, who is caught in the crossfire. Bleakness of hope in the story and awfulness of a father-son duo find a delicate balance. At times the situations break into morbid humour. In the end a wine-house becomes the stage for Ghisu (father) and Madhav`s (son) rebellious dance, defying not only the laws of the land but also that of the gods.

"What a good day to stage a play on Premchand`s birth anniversary. All we have tried is to bring it a little closer to the present society by giving a slightly new approach and innovating on the design part," said the theatre company`s president Sunit Sinha.

A three-day function comprising seminars, stage shows, exhibitions and folk music has begun in Lamhi, the writer`s native village near Varanasi.

A prolific writer, Premchand left behind a dozen novels and 283 short stories. `Godaan`, which dealt with the exploitation of a farmer in feudal India, ranks among his best known works along with other novels like `Rangbhoomi`, `Gaban` and `Nirmala`.

His books `Shatranj Ke Khiladi`, `Sadgati`, `Gaban`, `Godaan` and `Heera Moti` were made into films. Premchand died in 1936 at the age of 55.


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