A Search for Humanity—Bhagua Ki Prateeksha Me by Aaina Dramatics
On 28th March 2019, Aaina Dramatics entertained students from across Manipal with its performance of ‘Bhagua ki Prateeksha Me.’ Originally staged in front of the IC stairs, the vibrant play was then moved over to the area near the AB-1 main entrance.
The play started with two monkeys in contemplative postures and a determined look on their faces. One of the monkeys started crying as he tried to yank off his tail in an attempt to be closer to ‘insaan,’ because of whom the monkeys could not live in peace, even in the jungles. The premise of the play lied in the death of the ‘Bandar Raja’, and the subsequent human occupation of the jungles. The monkeys were confined to the tops of the trees and were reduced to mere second-class citizens. While one monkey expressed his anger towards and disapproval of humans others tried to be like them. At the same time, the other monkey attempted to pacify him with mythical stories, while reminding him of the purpose of their visit to that particular forest.
The monkeys awaited Bhagua’s arrival, a human who had instructed them to wait for him near a particular tree. Amongst the chatter, entered Hariya Haridas, another human along with his slave, who had purchased the monkeys’ land from the government. A character vastly different from the monkeys, he is smartly juxtaposed to them as one who ate cooked meat, sat on a chair, smoked tobacco, spoke English, and even drank a ‘cocktail,’ consisting of water, milk, and ‘gaumutra.’ What ensued among the four was sheer brilliance in writing. With generous amounts of comedy and piercing instances of drama and gravity, the play kept the audience on their toes at all times.
The story progressed further, as a soldier bearing a message from Bhagua found the two monkeys. The play captivated the audience for another ride of emotions as the turbulent story-line left little to yearn for. “It was amazing how the intense performances and silent setting of the play make you feel stranded along with the characters too. At one point even I started waiting for Bhagua,” said Saharsh Ranjan, a first-year MIT student from the audience.
With enough drama, suspense, and hilarity coupled with the brilliant acting all around, the play was a testament to the thronging talent in Manipal grounds. The audience was engrossed in the play for its entire duration and seemed to have thoroughly enjoyed themselves.