Return of the Sadir Theatre Festival


The fifth edition of the Sadir Theatre Festival, which promotes latest unique plays, will be held from March 18 to March 20, at the Dinanath Mangueshkar Kala Mandir and the Kala Academy Open Air Theatre, Panaji.

Swati Bhise, the artistic director of Sadir Cultural Association, which organises the festival of plays said that every year, the event poses a challenge as large number of events takes place in Goa, and creating a niche for the Sadir Theatre Festival among these events becomes necessary. “We want to be relevant, and we want to present top quality, cutting-edge productions to Goans as watching such plays have become the privilege of stage connoisseurs and aficionados from only two cities namely Mumbai and Delhi,” she said.

Speaking further, Bhise said that the four plays, which would be performed at the theatre festival, have leading names in playwriting, direction and acting linked to them. “For example, ‘Wedding Album’ is written by Girish Karnad and directed by Lillete Dubey. It is a happy production covering the whole aspect of marriage, while talking about an urban family at a wedding and politics behind it,” she said, observing that the theme of the play would be appealing to Goans, and the audiences will be able to take something with them back home.

“We also have two back-to-back plays – ‘Hamlet and the Clown Prince’ and ‘Quli: Dilon ka Shahzaada’ – with a half-an-hour interval between them; the former to be performed at the Dinanath Mangueshkar Kala Mandir, while the later at the Kala Academy Open Air Theatre,” Bhise said, adding that the open air theatre will be covered with facilities of fans provided to the audiences. She also stated that ‘Quli…’  to be performed in Urdu/ Dakhhani is a historical-musical play, and has Hindustani classical music as well as Kathak dance accompanying it, while ‘Hamlet…’ has all its characters in the form of clowns, throwing around the text of the original Shakespearean play.

“The final play ‘Black With Equal’ is about people living in a housing society and how the issues and situations pertaining to the society come up,” Bhise mentioned, noting that the play is especially important with the backdrop of intolerance, which is now hotly debated around the country. “All these plays are socially relevant and fulfilling productions, and also form a source of relaxation across the families,” she concluded, while informing that every year, newer people are attending the festival.

(The tickets of the

plays are sold at the Kala Academy counter and are available at various denominations from `1,000 to `100.

A discount of 20 per cent is provided on

purchase of a season ticket covering all four plays. In addition, teachers would be given a 30 per cent discount on every

ticket they purchase, while students are entitled for 20 per cent discount.)


About the plays

Wedding Album (English)

(March 18, 6.30 p.m. Dinanath Mangueshkar Kala Mandir/ 120 minutes)

The play narrates the story of a normal, urban middle-class family: a daughter who lives abroad with her professional husband, a brother who is a software designer, a younger daughter happy enough to marry a suitable boy from the US she has never met, and then, of course, there is the doting mother and the loyal cook. Utkarsh Mazumdar plays the role of Appa, the head of the family, which is educated, liberal, and modern. Each snapshot shows its members frozen in a projection of respectability, but each figure has a double image, with the shadow of a hidden life. On the surface it’s a familiar picture – a joyful event when members of the clan come together to celebrate and reaffirm loyalties, but behind the picture perfect smiles, simmer long suppressed suspicions, jealousies, frustrations and aggression. Written by Girish Karnad and directed by Lillete Dubey, the play stars Utkarsh Mazumdar, Ira Dubey, Rajeev Paul, Suchitra Pillai, Deepika Amin, Maneesh Verma and Rasika Agashe.

Quli: Dilon ka Shahzaada (Urdu)

(March 19, 5.30 p.m. Kala Academy Open Air Open Air Theatre/ 60 minutes)

Quli is based on the 17th century ephemeral tale of the poet prince, Quli Qutb Shah’s love for the singer-danseuse Bhagmati. Their marriage eventually led to the founding of Bhagyanagar, which later came to be known as Hyderabad. The structure used in the play is of a dialogue between Quli and Bhagmati with added elements of choreographed shadow dance, period sets, costumes, and live qawwali with original nazms (verses) written by Quli Qutub Shah. Written by husband-wife team of Noor Baig and Mohammad Ali Baig, it is conceived and directed by Mohammad Ali Baig. The writing team also stars in the play.

Hamlet and the Clown Prince (Hinglish)

(March 19, 7 p.m. Dinanath Mangueshkar Kala Mandir/ 90 minutes)

The production is based on William Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’. A bunch of clowns are putting up a show of ‘Hamlet’; they sometimes misinterpret the text, sometimes find new meanings in it, sometimes try and understand it, and very often make a mess of the order of things as if the pages got mixed up. Through this, they all are simply looking for the essence of ‘Hamlet’, and trying to find a context for it in our own times. The play isn’t just a parody of the original ‘Hamlet’; it’s also a digression into the lives of the clown characters. The scenes where Hamlet is interacting with the ghost of his father and the monologues by Hamlet and Ophelia are worth a watch. Written and directed by Rajat Kapoor, it stars Atul Kumar, Puja Sarup, Sujay Saple, Namit Das, Rachel D’Souza/ Kalki Koechlin, and Neil Bhoopalam.

Black With Equal (English)

(March 20, 7 p.m. Kala Academy Open Air Open Air Theatre/ 120 minutes)

This is a satirical black comedy that takes an unsentimental look at a contemporary housing society, ultimately becoming a scathing comment on the human condition. The play starts with an annual general body meeting of a housing society – attended by a Hindu, a Sikh, a Parsi, a Christian, two Muslims, a single woman, and a gangster – which starts out amicably, but later, after a series of bizarre circumstances, is propelled to its doom. The meeting, which symbolises law, order and civility, goes to pieces when fear, mistrust, suspicion and prejudice take over and shatters the basis of a secular society based on mutual respect. The mask of civility is peeled off, layer by layer, and the core of bigotry is exposed, the play thus becoming an ugly mirror of the current human situation. Written and directed by Vickram Kapadia, the play stars Utkarsh Mazumdar, Vickram Kapadia, Dinyar Tirandaz, Daniel D’Souza, Sourabh Pathak, Seema Mishra and Jayesh More.


A stage too far

Sadir Theatre Festival, a fiesta of elitist Indian plays from the professional stage, into its fifth year in Goa, could be forced to shift its regular Kala Academy venue from next year, if everything does not augur well for the premier art and culture complex in the state as well as the organisers of the particular event.

Swati Bhise of Sadir Theatre Festival said that Kala Academy, and the department of art and culture do not respond well to the request for booking the Dinanath Manguesgkar Kala Mandir, even if the booking is done in a year advance.

“The booking of Kala Academy theatre is a problem constantly nagging me, which has resulted in pushing the Sadir Thetare Festival 2016 from its scheduled time slot in January to February to further in March,” she said, pointing out, “I am organising this festival due to the sheer passion for art and culture; plays in this case.”

Speaking further, Bhise herself a Bharatanatyam dancer said that in spite of being prepared to put in money for booking the Dinanath Mangueshkar Kala Mandir, a full year in advance, she had to settle for the Open Air Theatre of Kala Academy, to show two of the four plays at the festival. “I could very well have brought more plays for the festival, say even six to ten plays, but the unavailability of the theatre prevented it,” she informed, noting that she is now hunting for new quality venues in the city for the Sadir Theatre Festival to be held next year.