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HindustanTimes Mon,14 Jul 2014

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Bound by emotions
Navleen Kaur Lakhi, Hindustan Times
September 27, 2013
First Published: 09:52 IST(27/9/2013)
Last Updated: 09:55 IST(27/9/2013)

A theatre group that was formed a decade ago, a theatre group whose previous production was five years ago, a theatre group whose founding member is actor Ayushmann Khurrana, is back with a bang! Chandigarh’s Manch Tantra now returns with a bag full of surprises. As it unveils its new production, Souled Out, HT City gives you a lowdown on what to look forward to over the weekend. Tahira Kashyap, author-turned director. Does the name ring a bell? Of course it does!


From being the founding member of Manch Tantra to being a swanky celebrity wife to Ayushmann Khurrana and authoring two books — I Promise and Souled Out — Tahira has been in the news for the right reasons. This time around, it’s for her latest production, Souled Out, which marks her debut as a theatre director. The play, says she, is based on her previous book of the same name, which is a collection of short stories that are bound by the common thread of emotions.

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Artistes from Manch Tantra, including Tahira Kashyap (in green) and Aviral Gupta (centre). HT Photo

Four stories, one-act play Tahira shares, “We have chosen four stories from different short stories from the book; each story is played by a single character. The three actors who will be playing the three characters are Divyangana, Gaurav Gandhi and Aviral Gupta. Divyangana will be a part of two stories.”

Businessman Aviral Gupta, one of the founding members of Manchtantra, to whom Tahira also gives credit for bringing everyone together, says, “It’s the group’s revival, in a way. One day, I was thinking about coming up with a play, and the very next day I got a call from Tahira, who was thinking on the same lines. Let’s just call it a cosmic calling.”

A different concept

According to Tahira, one-act plays are rare in Chandigarh, which gives her enough reason to have butterflies in the stomach. “I’m really skeptical about the production; I hope the audience isn’t skeptical about it. Thanks to the minimal usage of props, actors would have a direct connection with the audience. Anyone who enjoys the art of storytelling would like the play,” says she.

The stories include the story of a prostitute desperate to control the fate of her unborn child, an eccentric watchman’s heart-wrenching ordeal, an athlete dealing with her fate and a lover who can’t get Bollywood out of himself.

Ayushmann’s support

Being the founding member of Manch Tantra, Ayushmann would also be present on one of the days to see the performance, which is being held at Tagore Theatre over the weekend. Now, whether he chooses Saturday or Sunday is again a surprise. As Tahira says, “He has seen the run-through and has always provided the required inputs and criticism. But, we don’t believe in interfering in each other’s work much.”

The play will be staged on September 28 and 29 (7 pm) at Tagore Theatre, Sector 18. You can also catch it in Delhi on October 6 at Alliance Francaise.


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