National Rangmanch Utsav opens with coach Dhaliwal playing

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 22nd

Manch Rangmanch, founded by noted theater personality Kewal Dhaliwal, in collaboration with Virsa Bihar Association, will organize the 23rd National Rangmanch Utsav from April 21 to April 25. Shiromani playwrights and other prominent theater figures from Punjab came together on April 21 to inaugurate a festival featuring critically acclaimed theatrical works from across the country.

Kewal Dhaliwal said the festival will showcase some of the best Punjabi and Hindi plays by eminent playwrights and directors, attracting the best talent to the city. On the first day, the Punjabi play “Mahi Mera Thanedar”, written by Vasant Sabnavis and directed by Kewal Dhaliwal, was performed. It was directed by Manch Rangmanch Amritsar team.

The comedy is based on the famous Marathi folk drama ‘Vicha Majhi Puri Kala’ written by Vasant Sabnis and later translated into Hindi as ‘Saiyan Bhaye Kotwal’ by Usha Banerjee. It is designed for an urban audience while retaining its rural essence.

Following the Maharashtrian ethnic ‘Tamasha’ format, the story revolves around a king and his scheming chief minister. After Kotwal’s death, the chief executive, the chief minister, immediately appointed his incompetent and worthless brother-in-law to the coveted post. According to the hierarchy, the current Havaldar was supposed to be promoted instead.

Heartbroken, Havaldar and his lover Mainavati formulate a plan to expose the new Kotwal. Her dancer Mainavati uses her charm on Kotwal and convinces him to fulfill her numerous desires (hence the origin of her name). The play’s slapstick comedy highlights the underlying political nepotism and resonates with the current system in which things mostly work.

Today, the second day, the Amritsar Drama School team performed the play “Nanga Raja” written by Alakanandan and directed by Vishu Sharma. Another adaptation of a popular and highly acclaimed Hindi play, this production told the story of a careless and foolish king who becomes obsessed with new clothes.

His obsession makes him an easy target for some dacoits who take advantage of his foolish pursuits, while he is easily manipulated into thinking he is wearing a magical costume provided by dacoits. The king, clothed only in pride and vanity, parades naked as his subjects watch, exposing himself to all, both literally and figuratively.

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