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Ties That Bind—Zanjeer by ADA Dramatics

“Invisible ties are the strongest threads.”
—Friedrich Nietzsche.

On 12th November, ADA Dramatics released its latest online production, Zanjeer. Directed by Aayush Jha and Aditya Raj Srivastava, Eric Cole’s Ties That Bind inspired this riveting tale. Zanjeer, which in English means “shackles,” follows the story of a young man, Manav. Since his childhood, Manav was deprived of the free will that every human being is entitled to. Emasculated by his parents, who were themselves criticised by the society for their misgivings, Manav grew to become an underconfident adult. His stutter did not help matters and attracted a lot of snide comments.

The protagonist, Manav, is played by Aman Goyal. He has no dialogues, and primarily expresses the character’s emotions through his expressions and body language. The rest of society that torments Manav are characterised by six members of ADA’s acting crew—Aaryaman Awasthi, Dhawal Dixit, Poorvi Mittal, Rudraakshi Suryavanshi, Shivani Mate, and Shresth Singh.

Aman Goyal said, “There were a lot of challenges that I faced while preparing for my role. Since everything is online, I had to act in front of a camera during auditions and for the final shoot as well. I also had to act with my entire body because I had no dialogues, which is why my expressions mattered a lot. It was my first mime, so it took quite a bit of effort to bring about the required emotions just through my body and expressions. I found the character very relatable too. Since I was good in studies, I took science after 10th standard. After taking science, people started nudging me towards engineering. Even when I took up acting in ADA, my parents were a bit concerned. But I convinced them that this is something I wanted to do for myself. Hence, the character Manav was definitely relatable, even if playing him wasn’t easy.”

Vidushi Tandon, an Assistant Director (AD) for the production, mentioned that “When we read the script, it instantly clicked with us. Each one of us has faced the same thing in life in one way or the other. The way Manav reacts to society’s good and bad comments, and his fight, is what gave light the sheer strength that each of us has experienced. Working as an AD in this project opened me to loads of new experiences. I didn’t know that so much effort goes into the backend work. Working behind the camera is really tough. You need to give your days and nights, until the last minute.”

Zanjeer portrays the emotional ties and conundrum that plague humans from birth. It illustrates a fact that is little talked about—men’s mental health. Neither society nor Manav’s family was kind to him. Manav’s story related to many who are living their own versions of his story, and find themselves in similar situations. Breaking through shackles that society puts one in is a trying task, and this struggle is magnificently portrayed in ADA’s Zanjeer.