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Watch 75 plays in 70 hours

Admirers of the oeuvres of Munshi Premchand can now watch a marathon of 75 plays based on the writer’s stories. The real feat is that theatre group IDEA, which is organizing the festival in celebration of the famous Hindi- Urdu writer’s 131st birthday on July 31, plan to showcase their entire round-up in just 70 hours.

art and culture Updated: Jan 24, 2012 20:05 IST
Pooja Maheshwary

Admirers of the oeuvres of Munshi Premchand can now watch a marathon of 75 plays based on the writer’s stories. The real feat is that city theatre group Ideal Drama and Entertainment Academy (IDEA), which is organizing the festival in celebration of the famous Hindi- Urdu writer’s 131st birthday on July 31, plan to showcase their entire round-up in just 70 hours.



Says Director Mujeeb Khan, who conceived and adapted the scripts, “Seventy-five of our most talented actors have been trained in Premchand’s Hindi-Urdu language over the past three months. These include television personalities like Siddharth Arora, Jayesh Yadav and Ajay Shukla and film actors Neetu Chandra and Nakul Mehta. They practiced for six to seven hours every day to do justice to Premchand’s stories.”



Titled Prem Utsav 2011, the festival will be held from July 22 to 31 at Sathaye Auditorium, Vile Parle (E). Some of the writer’s most notable works including

Kafan

(

Shroud

),

Bade Bhaisahab

(

Elder Brother

),

Sadgati

(

The Deliverance

),

Thakur Ka Kuaan

and

Shatranj Ke Khiladi

(

The Chess Players

) will be part of the showcase, which has no entry fee. Premchand had written about 300 short stories and 14 novels, as well as many essays, letters, plays and translations in his lifetime.



Khan adds, “Many critics believe that Premchand’s stories and novels hold no contemporary relevance, but I disagree. Premchand’s Kamini Kumar propagates women’s rights, while Mandir Masjid talks about Hindu-Muslim issues. Also, Miss Padma, written in 1914, advocates live-in relationships. How can his work be orthodox if the ideas they propagate are still relevant today?”



While he’s optimistic about the festival, Khan rues the lack of response Mumbaikars have had to Premchand’s literature in the past. “When we performed Premchand’s plays in Jamshedpur, Ranchi, Bangalore and Pune, we had people lining up outside the building despite the auditoriums being filled to maximum capacity. But reactions in Mumbai were subdued. I hope this time will be different,” he says.