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Gandhi: The people?s hero

The Father of the Nation still inspires artists, musicians and playwrights, writes Gitanjali Dang.

india Updated: Jan 13, 2006 04:01 IST

January 30 will be the 58th death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the patriarch of the world’s largest democracy.

Two theatrical productions, Mahadevbhai and Sammy, will offer their individual salutations to the fortitude of Gandhi. While the former will be staged in Mumbai, the latter will be staged in New Delhi.

Mahadevbhai, written and directed by Ramu Ramanathan and performed by Jaimini Pathak first premiered at the Prithvi Theatre Festival in 2002. Today, the 89th performance of the play will inaugurate the Mumbai Theatre Utsav at the PL Deshpande auditorium. Mahadev Desai was Gandhi's secretary from 1917 till his death in 1942. Desai maintained a diary of his years with Gandhi where he recorded Gandhi’s correspondence as also his conversations. Pathak explains, “The play is an authentic account, since it is based on Mahadevbhai’s diaries and has been painstakingly researched by Ramu Ramanathan and Kinnari Vohra. Mahadevbhai was in their minds for a full 10 years.”

Pathak holds forth, “The play is ultimately a political comment on our times, as much as it is an analysis of our freedom struggle. Received wisdom is as dangerous as received cynicism.”

Lilette Dubey’s Sammy, which premiered in mid-2005, will be showcased in the capital as a part of the National School of Drama’s Theatre Utsav. For Dubey, Sammy was an extremely challenging experience primarily because of the surfeit of plays on the Mahatma. People around her kept insisting that Gandhi was not ‘hip’ and hence irrelevant. But with violence burgeoning around her she decided that Sammy would be appealing and thought provoking.

First Published: Jan 13, 2006 04:01 IST