Pic source: 19brm.nsd.gov.in
Venue: Kamani Auditorium
Date: 5 February, 2017
Mahabharat is probably the largest epic in the world in terms of its vast canvas and innumerable characters. Apart from the main story, Mahabharat is known to have several sub plots and smaller stories that either run parallel to the main story or branch out in some chapter (parva) as related by one character to another. On one hand these smaller incidents are pivotal to take the tale of Mahabharat forward and on the other hand these are very interesting standalone stories.
Many of us in India have grown up listening to some of these stories from our parents and/or grandparents. The stories of Eklavya, Shravan Kumar and Karna are few examples. Apart from these famous stories there are some lesser known narratives that are very interesting and have inspired many a stage directors and filmmakers to adapt these as plots to create plays and films.
One such story from Mahabharat has been adapted by Girish Karnad for his play Agni aur Barkha. This was later a Bollywood film called Agni Varsha and again staged as a play Toye by Jyoti Dogra and her group during Samanvaya – Festival of Languages.
We were pleasantly surprised to see another story from Mahabharat staged as a play Mohe Piya during the recently concluded Bharata Rang Mahotsav 2017. Written by Mahakavi Byāsa this play was staged as part of NSD’s initiative to include classical plays at this biggest theatre festival of India.
The story involves Bheem, his abandoned wife and son Hidimba and Ghatotkach and a brahmin family. Due to a twist of fate Bheem comes face to face with his wife and son after several years. The mother and son who were never accepted by the father refuse to welcome Bheem in their world now when he needs them for the epic battle of Mahabharat. Caught between the crossroads of duty and love, Ghatotkacha takes a decision that costs him his life.
Directed by NSDs director Prof. Waman Kendre and acted by the group Rangpeeth from Mumbai Mohe Piya managed to recreate the era of Mahabharat on stage, in this 1.5 hour long play. The costume department needs special mention here as the clothes, head gear and makeup helped in developing the personality of characters big time. Big thanks for not making the characters look like TV serial Mahabharat’s characters.
The peculiar way of dialogue delivery (especially by the character who played Hidimba) sounded funny at times and left the audience laughing in parts that were actually emotional. We can’t make out if it was a directorial glitch or the director actually planned it this way.
Apart from this, Mohe Piya was a decent attempt in recreating a story that many of us have never heard of and made it relevant to the contemporary audience. We look forward to many more classical plays in Bharat Rang Mahotsav 2018.