A new ray of hope for regional writers
Actors Rasika Agashe and Zeeshan Aayub, are the brainchild behind Sanhita Manch, that allows writers the chance to convert their stories into plays.
Sanhita Manch, an initiative started by Being Association, a Mumbai-based theatre group, started their journey of looking for fresh talent -- writers who write in Hindi. Entering into its third year Being Association, they are back again with four original plays. Now, so far they have around 300 original, newly written plays to their credit. This year, four scripts were picked from the entire lot, produced, and all of them will now be performed.
Actors Rasika Agashe and Zeeshan Aayub, who are the brainchild behind this initiative were keen on producing original work. Speaking about it, Rasika says, “We couldn’t find any Hindi scripts and we were under the impression that nobody is writing in Hindi anymore. When we started, we got so many scripts. Most of these scripts were by new writers and then we realised that there are like-minded people who want to direct these scripts. That’s how this initiative too shape and three directors from three different parts of the country are now directing the plays.”
This year, they have also extended their search in Marathi and got a panel of judges from the Indian theatre industry to judge the event. Ranjit Kapoor, Ratna Pathak Shah and Atul Tiwari came together to select three Hindi plays and Satish Alekar, Jayant Pawar and Irawati Karnik picked the one Marathi play. The plays will be presented in four cities — Mumbai, Pune, Delhi and Bhopal.
Actor Rasika Agashe
“The plays will be compiled in a book as well which will be released during the festival. The whole idea is to make these scripts accessible to directors all over the country. For instance, if there is a production company or a director who is based in Amritsar, and wants to pick up the script to work on it, he will be able to,” Rasika says.
Talking about one of the play, Radhey, which is directed by Rasika herself, she says, “It is a take on Mahabharata and it basically talks about how war ruins everything.” Another play, Kabab, directed by Rahul Rai, talks about mob lynching, and is reflective of what is happening in our country today. Romeo Juliet in Smart Cities of Contemporary India, the third play, is about the “real problems” that people of this country face in larger cities. It is directed by Saurabh Anant. And, the fourth play for the festival is, Adhyat Mi, Sadhyat Tu, Madhyat Ma Kuni Nah (Marathi). Directed by Apurva Sathe, this play explores human cruelty, its extent and variations.
Both graduates of National School of Drama (NSD), Rasika and Zeeshan, consider the entire experience of this initiative “therapeutic”.