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Avenues of Notoriety—In The Name of Blood by AAINA

Carrying on the tradition of showcasing their main production towards the end of the semester, AAINA Dramatics returned with ‘In The Name Of Blood’—a play surrounding the story of two of the most notorious Mafia gangsters, the Capone brothers. Held as a precursor to the main event, the street play ‘Chacha Chaubey Ke Chashme Se’, shed light on various social matters that plague the Indian society. The two plays attracted a sizeable audience which was treated to an evening of fine theatrical drama.

Chacha Chaubey Ke Chashme Se – A Street Play 

Shrijani Manna | Staff Writer

On 29th October, the talented first-year crew members of AAINA Dramatics enacted a street play outside FC 1. The play aimed at highlighting various taboos blemishing our country through the eyes of Chacha Chaubey, a local tour guide showing a foreigner around ‘Incredible India’, whilst acquainting the viewers to the realities of dwelling in a bigoted and irrational society. “In the first year, our club members are very enthusiastic about drama. Some of them do it for fun, some of them do it as an escape from academics. These first years are very dedicated—seeing the energy they have, seeing the effort they put in, it’s amazing to teach them. It’s difficult, but also a lot of fun, and an amazing experience”, remarked Rakshit Yaduvanshi, the President of the club.

The first half of the play focused on the stigma revolving around the shade of one’s complexion—a ludicrous, yet prevalent measurement of someone’s worth in India. They demonstrated this using the example of Lord Krishna, a revered deity in Hindu mythology known to have been blessed with dusky skin. He was endowed with gardens and places of worship named after him even though he had about a thousand wives in a predominantly monogamous society. This elucidates that the same profoundly devout society will respect mythological beings regardless of their flaws since it is mentioned in the holy scriptures, but will fail to extend the same courtesy to fellow human beings due to their prejudices. Through a song referencing Bollywood pop culture, they enumerated different instances where an individual’s skin tone is deemed to be more of a meritorious feature over their ethical and intellectual qualifications.

The latter half of the play shed light on the reproachful treatment of women during menstruation caused due to preconceived and often misleading notions about the menstrual cycle. The artists portrayed this by showing the narrative of a young girl, carefree and cheerful, but when the hands of the clock strike adolescence, those same hands choke out all her freedom, compelling her to a life where the sheer mention of menstruation stains the sanctity of her home. Another act in the same segment shows the tourist venturing into the temple of a Hindu Goddess while menstruating and how the temple-goers forbade her from doing so, in order to not taint the sacred aura of the place. This exemplifies that, though female goddesses are considered to be the embodiment of empowerment in India, women still face backlash on embracing a perfectly natural body process from misogynists which should be countered.

“It’s good that they were talking about so-called “taboos” like periods, which shouldn’t be a taboo. It’s a natural thing that happens to every woman and making it awkward is not right especially when there are so many instances when you’re told to hush-up. People find it weird to talk about it which shouldn’t be the case. It’s a good thing that so many people are in support of this, with AAINA doing something to influence a positive change at changing people’s mentality which is remarkable”, stated Avanti, a first-year student at MIT, in acknowledgement of the play. The significance of establishing an unbiased society, unhindered by fallacies was elucidated wonderfully in this play, imprinting a thought-provoking message in the audience’s mind.

In The Name Of Blood – The Play

Atharv Negi | Staff Writer

On November 1st, 2019 AAINA Dramatics showcased its flagship play—In The Name of Blood. Syndicate Golden Jubilee Hall was sold out yet again, and the room was filled with excited chatter at the prospect of witnessing an original murder mystery.

Set in 1920s New York, the play is an alt-history re-imagination of the time when the name ‘Capone’ struck fear in the heart of any law-abiding citizen. The play opened with a chilling radio report, which detailed civilian riots and the betrayal of various undercover officers in Capone’s mafia. This coincided with a haunting image of a lifeless body hanging from a support rail, which immediately got the audience speculating the cause and relevance. The play centred around two major parties, Jaque and Maya, two faux ghostbusters reeling from the effects of a genuine spiritual encounter, who get roped into a plot to take down the Capone brothers, Al and Cal. The plot was pronounced with frequent twists and turns and did an incredible job of keeping the audience invested in the story and on its feet.

Rakshit Yaduvanshi and Gaurav Chatterjee, playing Al and Cal Capone respectively, delivered absolutely stellar performances as the feared mafia dons. Their dynamic interactions with the rest of the cast and intimidating aura of charisma did a fantastic job of showcasing the sheer heights of power the criminals enjoyed in their prime time. Varun Kapoor and Druti Singh, playing Jaque and Maya respectively, put on an entertaining show as performers trying to make a living. Their chemistry was electric, yet joist with a subtle undertone of emotional baggage, something utilised by the plot to full effect. Shivalika Chaudhary delivered a knockout performance as a lingering ghost named Sadie and functioned as a primary element of plot progression. Druti and Shivalika made a fantastic duo in the scenes where Maya is possessed by Sadie, striking fear into the hearts of the characters and sending shivers down the spines of the audience.

Writing in a genre as nuanced as alt-history is no easy task, yet AAINA delivered on all fronts. The audience erupted in thunderous applause as the curtains closed, and there were cheers everywhere as the directors delivered their thanks. This play was, needless to say, a massive success that will leave people reminiscing it for a very long time.

Image Credits: AAINA Dramatics