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Taj Mahal Ka Tender – Satire at its Best

Taj Mahal Ka Tender,¬†AAINA Dramatics’ main production of the semester, was staged outside the Innovation Centre on 8th March. The satirical play, a result of weeks of hard work and practice, derided the corruption prevalent in India in front of an eager audience consisting of students and professors.

Set in the 21st century, Taj Mahal Ka tender¬†portrays Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan’s (played by Varun Kapoor) yearning to build a mausoleum in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal and his ultimately futile attempts to do so. Rejuvenating the art of Nautanki, the play started on a strong note with an introduction of characters and a narrative of the story.

The plot revolved around the widespread deceit and chicanery in the Indian bureaucracy, portrayed excellently by the actions of the Chief Engineer Gupta Ji (Devansh Sood) and his deputy Sudhir (Attreya Diwedi). The two, along with their accomplice Bhaiyaji (Prateek Singh), loot the king’s treasury with a well-crafted plan. To ensure the filling of their pockets, they propose the formation of Taj Mahal Construction Corporation before the commencement of the creation of Taj Mahal. With more of such iniquitous moves, Gupta Ji and Sudhir cater to their own needs, taking more than two decades to pass the tender for Taj Mahal, right before the king’s demise.

With quirky remarks, on issues such as the ease of release from jails today like in a certain scenario, Bhaiya Ji became one of the crowd’s favourites. The cast managed to overcome technical glitches as well, carrying out their roles delightfully even without the lights, a feat the audience appreciated with a roar of applause. They made good use of the set, often interacting with the audience and incorporating fire-lit torches, bodyguards rallying around the venue, and cameos from the Campus Patrol.

The evening ended with Dr Srikanth Rao congratulating the team on the successful play and exclaimed over the eventful evening. He commended the production cast over the choice of venue inside the campus instead of venturing out and thus, giving the play a more personal touch. It was a harmonious juxtaposition of humour and presenting forth an important message. Setting aside minor setbacks of mediocre turnout and frequent complaints about mosquitos, AAINA presented an excellently produced play and received a well-deserved standing ovation.