Give me more, more, more... The soundtrack echoes in the background, as a dirty-faced Ali Verma begs for more food. His friend whispers behind his back as he asks the warden, “Sir, thoda aur do na.”
Sounds familiar? That’s because it is. Ali Verma is actually Oliver, the main character from Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist and he’s bringing his story from the streets of New Delhi to a real audience in the capital. With 13 other children from the backstreets of Kabootar Market and Chandni Chowk, this play is an adaptation of Oliver Twist interspersed with bits of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
Manisha Ashra, the director and the producer of this play believes that this is a good opportunity for the children of the streets to empower themselves. The stories have been drawn from their real life and the dialogues too reflect their situation. “Their stories of social injustice gave me this idea for the play,” says this 31-year-old who runs the charity organisation Going Solo. The play titled Angels with Dirty Faces recounts the love story between Ali Verma and Julie. It is a tale of consequence, anger, revenge and the truth about the underworld of Delhi. The names of the characters too have been adapted to suit the Indian accent.
But the music is that’s the most interesting part of the play. A hip-hop styled back-ground score actually uses Asian underground and ghetto American music.