Theater fans in Hyderabad have something to cheer about this weekend. And if you're not a theater fan, here's a chance to turn one.
The Qadir Ali Baig Theater Foundation is presenting Habib Tanvir's Raj Rakt, on 3rd June, at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Auditorium in King Koti. An internationally acclaimed play based on Rabindranath Tagore's Visarjan and Rajrishi, it features tribal and folk artistes from Bastar and Chattisgarh.
Raj Rakt is a commemorative production to mark the 23rd death anniversary of theater doyen Qadir Ali Baig on June 3rd. The foundation marks the occasion with a production every year. Last year, it was Suhasini Maniratnam's 'Reading Between the Lines', and the year before that, it was Rohini Hattangadi's 'Aparajita'.
Raj Rakt was originally written in 1897, but Habib Tanvir drastically re-structured the form of the play featuring a big cast of 25 people including tribal and folk artistes from Bastar and Chhatisgarh with original live musicians.
Raj Rakt is the story of a kingdom and its individuals playing out the conflict between the religious and secular authorities. When King Govinda Manikya bans all sacrifice in response to a young child's traumatization by the blood of an animal's sacrifice, the priest Raghupati does everything to break the decree. The priest's beloved son is caught between his loyalty to his father, his goddess, the king and his love Aparna who wants to take him away from all this.
Habib Tanvir's daughter Nageen Tanvir plays Aparna, with other seasoned actors like Himanshu Tyagi, Anup Pandey and a host of urban and rural actors and singers also featuring.
The Qadir Ali Baig Theatre Foundation was founded by Mohammed Ali Baig, an advertising wizard, in memory of his father Qadir Ali Baig, who was a doyen of Hindustani theater. It was established in an attempt at revival of theater, which had lost its sheen in India. The foundation has on board danseuse Vani Ganapathy, artistes Rohini Hattangadi, Suhasini Maniratnam and Urmila Matondkar, lyricist Javed Akhtar and director M S Sathyu.
The foundation not only stages plays regularly every month, but also imparts basic training in all aspects of theater, so that young talent gets nurtured. Begum Razia Qadir Ali Baig, wife of Qadir Ali, is the Chairperson of the foundation, while Sathyu is the National Director and Mohammad Ali is the President.
Entry by donor passes of Rs. 500, Rs. 250 and Rs. 100, available at A A Hussain's, Walden's, Music World, Ofen and Sangeet Sagar, and at the venue prior to the show. Please contact 98490-66522 for further details.