Producer:A Padatik Theatre production
Premiere:January 2008, at Padatik Little Theatre 2, Kolkata, Invited to Bharangam 2009 (NSD Main Festival) at Bahumukh – NSD, New Delhi
Lehron ke Rajhans (1963) is inspired by the Sanskrit epic poem Saundarananda by Asvaghosa.
Set in Kapilavastu, it is the story of the Buddha’s step-brother Nand and his spouse Sundari. Nand seeks self-fulfillment and hovers between the ascetic renouncement preached by the Buddha and the earthly beauty of the self-willed Sundari.
On the day of Buddha’s return, his wife Yashodhara has also decided to join the Bhikshunis. At the same time, Sundari is holding a ‘Kamotsav’. She is humiliated because none of the guests attend.
The play presents the ensuing conflict between Nand and Sundari.
The relationship between man and woman, particularly it’s essential conflict has been central to the plays of Mohan Rakesh. It was romantic in Ashadh ka Ek Din which was retained in the original version of Lehron ke Rajhans developing into the confrontation in this revised version. This culminated into a conflict of many levels and many forms in Adhey Adhurey
Lehron Ke Rajhans was revised during my rehearsal of the play in 1966. During the rehearsal we had no idea of the direction the play will ultimately take. We were proceeding on the basis of our impression from the original version, which in hindsight appears to be so grotesque, though the play had been staged – the approach was on the impression of the original version. At that time I had an idea I shall direct the play again after a few years. I am happy to do it again, even after 41 years.
I now perceive the relationship between Nand and Sundari as one between an elderly man and a young woman. Nand is very indulgent towards her. He is deeply distressed by the challenge she poses to Buddha by holding ‘Kamotsav’– the festival of desire on the first day he returns to the city after attaining Nirvana. But Nand does not interfere, rather tries to save her from getting hurt by her abject failure. Sundari is a very proud woman. She represents all that is beautiful and desirable while Buddha stands for renunciation and negation of desire. The conflict of Nand, which is essentially the conflict of a man between these two forces, becomes a counter point to the essential conflict between a man and a woman.
I have tried to retain the core of the conflict not only in the production but also in the entire design of the play, the sets, the costume and the make-up. In fact, there are no sets – the play is being presented in an installation created by Shanchayan Ghosh where the audience settles in unobtrusively. There is no attempt to create an illusion or to make things life-like. The effort is to present the emotions and the conflict in the raw and without any trappings or tassels.
Cast and Credits:
Cast:Mrityunjoy / Pradip Roy - as Shwetang
Rajesh Bajpai / Suman Saha - as Shyamang
Nandini Panjiyara / Namrata Pitalia - as Alka
Anubha Fatehpuria - as Sundari
Vinay Sharma - as Nand
Navin Pandey - as Shashank
Rajesh Jaiswal - as Maitreya
Sujata Bharti - as Niharika
Kunal Padhy - as Bhikshu Anand
Credits:Playwright - Mohan Rakesh
Make up - Sd. Eliyas
Lights operation - Pabitra Sarkar
Sound operation - Subho Das
Stage assistance - Gopal Sarkar, Jugal Das, Manik Das
Folder - Anubha Fatehpuria, Vinay Sharma
Design:Installation - Sanchayan Ghosh
Light - Sudip Sanyal
Costume - Swarup Dutta
Music Composer - Kunal Padhy
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