Mumbai director of Agnes of God, the play that stirred a
debate among Catholic groups, said the cast and crew are now ready to stage booked shows in the city.
After making an impressive debut at NCPA on Monday, Kaizaad Kotwal said, “We are now planning to stage booked shows now. We will decide on this by next week.”
The first ticketed show of the play, which will be staged in Hyderabad, at Lamakaan Auditorium after the one scheduled at BM Birla auditorium was cancelled. Director of the play in Hyderabad Vinay Verma confirmed this.
“The Catholic Secular Forum (the Mumbai-based group that has been leading the protests against the show) tried to threaten us with legal implications but we will go ahead with the show,” he added.
Joseph Dias, the general secretary of the group, countered these allegations and said, “There is no truth behind these claims.”
Community groups in the city, which are in favour of the play, said the show must go on. A group led by lawyer Flavia Agnes, who heads an advocacy group for women’s rights, said, “This is the victory of freedom of speech.”
“I do believe in censorship as much as I believe in the right of expression. So I believe the play should be staged,” said John Dayal, secretary general, All India Christian Council.
Meanwhile, in Hyderabad, the stage is getting ready for the show. “Agnes of God will be staged on October 9 and 10. So far, we have received a good response in terms of ticket sales,” said Rita Ghosh, an organiser. “The play will be staged as we believe in freedom of expression,” said Ashar Farhan, a trustee of the auditorium.
The show at BM Birla Auditorium was cancelled after worries about protests. “We called off the play owing to the controversy,” said Shyam Kothari, secretary of the auditorium. Verma said, “I have written a letter to the commissioner of police to tighten the security owing to the controversies,” he said. “The legal implications have to be understood,” said Sujay Kantawala, an advocate.
The Catholic Secular Forum (CSF), Mumbai, appealed to the government for a review. “The state has constituted a committee for review,” said Elvis Stephenson, an MLA from Hyderabad.