Vicky Solanki’s hutment at Shankar Bhuvan, a slum in Ahmedabad, was demolished last week.
But that doesn’t deter the 12-year-old from regularly rehearsing for a play that he will be a part of, as he tours the country. For more than nine months, Vicky and 15 other street children from Gujarat have been preparing for a 90-minute musical, which they will enact in six cities. Their show will premiere in Mumbai on December 4.
The eight girls and eight boys will perform a musical, Ekatva, based on the Gandhian ideology of oneness at Nehru Centre in Worli.
“From convincing their parents to making the children understand the techniques of dance, drama and acting, it has been a long journey,” said Nimesh Patel, an organiser from Manav Sadhna, a non-profit organisation in Gujarat. Born in Los Angeles, Patel was a part of a band, Karmacy, and directed TV shows. But he quit everything to join Manva Sadhna two years ago.
“The 16 children face their own challenges. Most of them are anaemic because they never had a nutritious diet, and would get tired quickly. But the children had a will and have given their best,” said Patel.
The children would practise daily for four to five hours. Two months ago six of them shifted to Manav Sadhna to be able to focus entirely on rehearsing.
Asha Parmar, 13, plays the character Chandralika written by Rabindranath Tagore. Chandralika, who is from a lower caste, is not allowed to drink water from the place where pandits and brahmins live. “I did not understand Chandralika’s character. But as I learnt about the caste system, I understood her and now I think I can play her character,” said Parmar.