Seldom have we come across beautiful and sensible poetry, lesser in theatre. There is no blinking to the fact that there are nice poets all around us, but very few of them make use of the poems in a meaningful manner as Raghav Dutt does. “Baawla” is a play which must be remembered for its simple yet striking craft, beautiful dialogues and the critical analysis of the society which it does.
Written and directed by Raghav Dutt, Baawla has been been produced by Rangbaaz Group. The play was performed at the India Habitat Center, Delhi and the Epicenter, Gurgaon on 29th, 30thNovember and 1st December 2013. The Mumbai based group gave the theatre lovers from Delhi something which is missing in the city- original theatre.
The play captures extremely innocent moments from our lives and simply puts it on stage. The honesty in the script is all pervasive. People who have followed Manav Kaul can understand that Raghav has worked with Manav, and still makes a difference. There is a point when one can clearly see that Raghav has his own style which is different from Manav kaul, and with time he will certainly make his own way as an original writer and director.
The play is a simple story of Raghu. Raghu, an innocent boy, witnesses a transformation from being a Hindu to being a Musalman. This journey explores the violent realities of our society and how a child’s psyche is affected by the “religion” he is part of. Raghu finds solace in poetry, and becomes “Baawla”. A beautiful poem from the play sums up what Raghav must have tried to convey,
“Jab Main Hindu Tha, Mujhe Sab Musalman Dikhte The
Jab Main Musalman Tha, Mujhe Sab Hindu Dikhe
Ab Main Baawla Hoon, Aur Mujhe Sab Baawle Dikhte Hain”
The play deserves applause for the brilliant light design. The show at Epicenter, Gurgaon had extremely beautiful light design and there were few moments which were as perfectly framed on stage. Raghav’s direction also deserves applause as he beautifully creates scenes which look effortless. The effortless scenes add to the beauty of the play.
It is good to know that we have younger writers who are reacting to the era they are living in and not addressing the questions of the bygone era. Disconnect between the stage and the real world has already been seen. It is high time the thespians discover their own truth.
This review was first published in MyTheatreCafe.com on December 2, 2013