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Street play to defend city strays

A Hindi street play to stop cruelty towards animals is being held in the suburbs this week and the next. The 30-minute performance of Mujhe Jeene Do (Let Me Live), borrows its name from the 1963 Hindi film directed by Moni Bhattacharjee, starring Sunil Dutt.

art and culture Updated: Apr 23, 2010 14:34 IST
Naomi Canton

A Hindi street play to stop cruelty towards animals is being held in the suburbs this week and the next. The 30-minute performance of Mujhe Jeene Do (Let Me Live), borrows its name from the 1963 Hindi film directed by Moni Bhattacharjee, starring Sunil Dutt. The play will continue till April 28.

The performance will take place on Friday at a Santa Cruz (E) slum.On Saturday, April 24, the troupe, made up of students from KC College, will perform behind Taj Lands End in Bandra. On Sunday, the venue will shift to a slum in Khar Danda.

The play has been written and directed by Mumbai animal activist, Durga Rai, who also acts in it. She is a volunteer with animal welfare NGO, Karuna in Andheri and a graduate from the National School of Drama in Delhi.

The message of the play is that cruelty towards animals is a crime and offenders can have FIRs lodged against them if they commit any such act. The play has been on tour around Mumbai since January. It has been staged at Colaba, Worli, Nariman Point and Mumbai’s notorious red light area, Kamathipura, so far, attracting 100 to 400 people in each spot.After the weekend, the troupe will perform at Khar East, Lokhdanwala and Jogeshwari.

No permission to perform,“We are targeting different places,” Rai says, “In slums, there are several cases of cruelty to animals, which is why we are going there. In housing societies, high-class people commit such acts.People don’t understand that this is all against the Constitution of India.”

“We have been unable to get permission to perform in any housing societies. It is a big problem because the animals are so afraid that we can’t even catch them to get them sterilised..I hope this makes people have more respect for animals and they treat them humanely,” she adds.