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Unmasking the Truth—Aaj ka Bharat, Aap ka Bharat by ADA Dramatics

Yasmina Reza, the famous French playwright, once said—“Theatre is a mirror, a sharp reflection of today’s society.” These words rang true on 24th September outside FC-1, at ADA Dramatics’ street play—Aaj ka Bharat, Aap ka Bharat. The play did justice to that quote by masterfully exposing the various faults and prejudices that plague society and the media. Although unexpected rains played spoilsport to this much-anticipated event, it could do nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of the actors and the crowd they attracted.

The first segment focused on the rape of a young woman, who is shamed by society for standing up to her violator and denied justice by the court of law. Helpless and with nowhere to go, she breaks down, but later realises the power she possesses. After delivering a passionate speech, she transforms into the embodiment of Lady Justice. In a dramatic turn of events, she is shown removing her blindfold and facing the blind justice system head-on, holding a weighing scale in one hand, and a sword in the other. The character of Raavan also makes an appearance in this play. In response to the allegations made against the accused, Raavan remarks that he is more of a human than the perpetrator could ever be. Although he was portrayed as a cruel monster, in truth, he never touched Sita inappropriately, out of respect for her.

In the second segment, a group of protestors is seen opposing the negative portrayal of women in Kabir Singh, a fictional film. An actor covered in black and white body paint, meant to represent the media, had decided to give more attention to this than the Aarey Forest protests. It is brought to the audience’s attention that this major environmental concern has been receiving little to no media coverage, while the controversy surrounding Kabir Singh has been blown out of proportion. This part of the play called out hypocritical news organisations that report only the news that gives them more viewership, violating the tenets of journalism.

The play ended with a jingle called Sattarsaal, which in the form of a rap song, exposed the various problems that are still prevalent in society despite 72 years of independence. Another interesting use of music in this play was junkyard music, that takes inspiration from various Kannada plays. The use of different important elements of junkyard music like glass bottles and cymbals during the play was very prominent.

“Although it was raining, I stayed because the play was so interesting. It was my first time watching a street-play, but I didn’t expect it to be this good. The play had a good story and also sent a strong social message, which I liked,” said Adesh Attavar, a second-year student at MIT, sharing his opinion of the play.

“Our generation tends to be ignorant about problems that genuinely affect our society. Through our play, we wanted to expose the ignorance of the general public, and the hypocrisy and selective journalism of media that doesn’t report the important stuff”, remarked Isha Gadgil, one of the directors of the play. “Our message for everyone who watched this play is to open their minds, wake up and focus on things that really matter”, added Kannagi Sinha, who also directed the play. The importance of an unbiased media and a well-informed electorate was conveyed beautifully through this play, leaving the audience with a lot to think about.

Image Credits: The Photography Club, Manipal

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