Munshi Premchand is an icon of Hindi and Urdu literature and even a staple on the school curriculum. To pay tribute to the legend, the Ideal Drama and Entertainment Academy (IDEA) has organised Prem Utsav 2012, a theatre festival, where a hundred of his stories will be staged over 10 days.
IDEA has already performed 295 plays on Premchand’s tales, and plan to cover most of his composed writings soon.
“Our idea is to revive the great works of legendary writers like Premchand, Saadat Hasan Manto, Ismat Chughtai, Sharat Chandra and Qazi Mushtaq Ahmed and make it available to today’s youth. We have also initiated another series with stories and poems by Rabindranath Tagore,” says Mujeeb Khan, the writer and director of these adaptations.
This annual initiative was started in 2006 with 25 plays on Premchand’s work.
“It’s a difficult task to even read 100 plays by Munshiji in a period of 10 days, but seeing them on stage will certainly have a better impact,” says Khan. Some of the works by Premchand that will be staged during the festival are Budhi Kaki, Bade Ghar Ki Beti, Eid Gaha and Bade Bhai Sahab among others. All the plays at the fest will be free of cost.
“We don’t want to make money. We want to do journalistic theatre, where we stage current issues in drama form,” says Khan. In order to spread awareness among the young generation, IDEA also conducts free workshops in schools and colleges.
Plays on social issues are part of the group’s repertoire. “We have been doing plays in various parts of Jharkhand on corruption and anti-drugs. We also did a play called ‘Tsunami-the-terror’ at various railway stations and around other locales in Mumbai, to collect funds for the Tsunami victims,” says Khan.