Thespians hold protest over admn move to stop staging of play

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Jul 20, 2014 23:01 IST

Theatre artistes across the city held a protest in Sector 17 on Sunday evening against the decision of the UT administration of not allowing them to stage a play at Tagore Theatre on Saturday evening.

As a mark of protest, holding placards, several artistes, with their hands and legs tied and mouth covered with black ribbons, sat on dharna at the Plaza for over an hour.

The artistes termed the UT move as 'curbing their freedom of expression' and urged the administration not to succumb to pressure from religious 'bigots'.

"It never happened in the past that artistes were asked to get the plays' scripts cleared from the administration and religious groups. It was a satirical play. We did not want to hurt anybody's sentiments,"Saavi, an artiste said.

The administration, on Saturday, did not allow artistes to perform a play " <> "following protests from members of Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and other religious groups.

"The play was about to start at around 6pm at Tagore Theatre, but a meeting between officials of administration, members of religious groups and artistes failed to reach any consensus following which the play was cancelled,"said an official of the administration.

Director, Tagore Theatre, Kuldeep Sharma said, "We got an order from administration not to allow the play and we followed it."

"We have asked the artistes' group to submit script of the play. Some members who attended the meeting had some reservations about the script. A decision will be taken only after going through the script,"deputy commissioner, Chandigarh, Mohammed Shayin told HT.

Artistes, on the other hand, castigated the administration and religious groups for the move.
"It had nothing objectionable. It was a comical presentation of social evils,"director of the play, Sangeeta Gupta told HT.

Gupta added that artists were threatened by the religious goons and posters of the play were also torn by them.

Working president, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Chandigarh, Vijay Singh Bhardwaj said, "The play was aimed at playing with the religious sentiments of Hindus."

"We will not allow such things. We will write to all theatre groups and administrations to check scripts of plays as every now and then, theatre groups play with the religious sentiments of Hindus,"he added.

What was the play about

Director Sangeeta Gupta said the play was a satire on issues like drug abuse and corruption, and those involved in crimes. The play shows what happen when they reach heaven and how are they dealt by the Dharamraj.

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