Wednesday, July 15th, 2020

Still keeping audience on the edge of their seats


New Delhi, 


The audience was still gripped after the play as they had many questions for the Cast and crew of the play ‘Ballygunge 1990.’ The play was praised by the critiques and the audience immensely said that it was as if the role of Kartik was made for Anup Soni. To which he answered that it took him time to adopt the role of Kartik what helped him was internalisation and he said “the role should not look unnatural it should be done in a way that it should be keeping the audience enamoured.”

Meet the Director

Meet the director invited the directors of Manimugdha, Mahishasur Mardini, Ballygunge 1990 and Thoothukudi Massacre 13. The dialog started with the play Manimugdha in this play central character of the version was Rupalim, a timeless play written by Jyoti Prasad Agarwala, one of the torch-bearers of the literary and cultural field of Assam. The conversation then was started with Cast and Crew of the plays aforementioned discussed their hardships, laughs and experiences. The cast and crew of Ballygunge 1990 was welcomed warmly by the audience, like the play the audience was kept on the edge of their seats even while the discussion was happening. Sharing his experiences about his life at NSD Anup Soni recollected, “I was enriched by NSD. I learnt the importance of learning, appreciation of actors their acting and other different elements of a play or performing art.” When he was asked about choosing this role as it was of a supporting actor he remarked, “As an actor I had .1% doubt in my mind. But when I read, and then role rehearsed Kartik’s character I wanted to feel the thrill. I believe if you have even got five or six good scenes then you can leave an impact.”

Today’s Play



Babai is a trans-creation of August Strindberg’s The Father. Taking inspiration from the original, playwright Ishita Mukherjee has adapted the play into an Indian locale and has given it a relevance to the socio-economic reality of today. The play is about an extremely complex relationship between a husband and a wife, which culminates when it comes to the question of the future of their only child. Not wanting to lose her custody over the child, the wife induces suspicion in her husband’s mind about him not being the real father, thus pushing the husband into an abyss of doubts, and taking over the household and making everybody believe that the husband’s sanity is under question. The husband, unable to bear this painful predicament, gradually loses his mind and in the end the family, under the vigilance of his wife, sends him to an asylum. The play talks about the eternal power politics between man and woman, state and religion, and society and individual.




In 1886, the British made the Avadh Rent Act and implemented it. In the Act, the Kings and Talukedaars got the right to collect Rent. Since their tax collection was arbitrary, the poor farmers opposed this recovery and under the leadership of Baba Ramchander, this movement spread in the districts of Rae Bareli, Barabanki, Sultanpur, Pratapgarh and Faizabad. Baba Janaki Das took over from Baba Ramchander, and was later captured along with his companions and put in the Rae Bareli Jail. Till then the Kisan Sabha had been formed. In 1920 farmers gathered in Munshiganj, across the Sai River, to free their leaders from jail. The farmers were fired on and hundreds of them were killed. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru came to Rae Bareli to meet the farmers, and the District Magistrate took him into custody. The commissioner, Colonel Founteray, realizing the gravity of the incident of the Munshiganj firing, ordered the injured to be shot as well so that they do not become witnesses of the massacre. Some of the dead bodies were loaded into Ikka-Taangas and drowned overnight in the Dalmau Ganges River. For the remaining corpses, four big pits were dug in Munshiganj, and a hundred corpses each were buried in them. Munshiganj is also called the second Jallianwala incident.




The play opens with Manjula Ray in a television studio, giving one of her countless interviews. Manjula is a successful Bengali writer whose first novel in English has got favourable reviews from the West. She talks about her life and her darling husband Pramod, and fondly reminisces about Malini, her wheel-chair bound sister. After the interview, Manjula is ready to leave the studio but is confronted by an image. Gradually Manjula starts unfolding her life showing two facets of the same character. The conversations between the character on stage and the chhaya-murti go on and Manjula peels layer after layer, revealing raw emotions and complexities of the relationship between Manjula, Promod and Malini. We can relate to both Manjula and Malini… all of us being flawed in some way or the other, and that’s what makes us human.


Note: As a tribute to the first Director of National School of Drama Satu Sen and Repertory Chief Om Shivpuri Monographs on the life of these veterans and legends of NSD will be launched tomorrow. National School of drama publication department cordially invites your esteemed presence at 3:00 p.m. Chaumukh Auditorium, National School of Drama.  



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