They took night walks in Chandni Chowk, made it a point to meet those living on the streets and visited night shelters to get a feel of the metropolis’ pulse, particularly of those living on its margins. And when they step on the stage for their first performance of Dawat-e-Khichdi, they will pose a question for those watching — has the country’s conventional economic development left out a large number of people in the lurch?
For these group of students of Delhi University, theatre is not just a medium of expression but also a medium of internalising and debating the trends playing out around them.
Under the banner of Deen Dayal Upadhyay college’s Yavnika theatre group, the students are working on their satirical production, which intends to lay bare the uncomfortable truths of urbanisation and its impact on the displaced as well as on the existing city dwellers. “I strongly believe in theatre of conscience. When students come together for such productions they should be able to judge what the society has in store for them,” says senior theatre person Lokesh Jain, director and scriptwriter of the play.
Hence, as part of their education, Jain took the students around the city to introduce them to its dwellers. “We went around Chandni Chowk all night. We met people who lived on streets and in night shelters. Talking to people we realised how much we crib despite having all the facilities of life,” says Ankur, a second year student of English (hons) who is part of the group.
Set in the poor quarters of Delhi, the drama talks about the futility of the growth bubble for people of a certain section in context to Mahatma Gandhi’s talisman that says that any progress starts with the benefit of the poorest man. “What comes to mind when you talk about ‘khichdi’? The dish stands for a different composition for everybody. Hence the title of the play,” says Jagat, a final year student of the college. PTI
Catch them live
* What: Dawat-e-Khichdi, a theatre production
* Where: KC open air theatre, Near Ganga Dhaba, Jawaharlal Nehru University
* Time: 6.30 pm
* When: October 22
* Entry: Free
* Nearest Metro Station: Hauz Khas on the yellow line