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Drama and mythology

In "Yama Gatha", mounted recently in the Capital, the playwright makes excellent use of mythology to hit out against the current socio-political situation in the country, says ROMESH CHANDER.



A scene from the play "Yama Gatha".

THIS IS the season when theatre halls in Delhi are difficult to book but perhaps because of weather conditions these last two weeks the audiences have been rather thin even for Asmita's new production like Doodh Nath Singh's "Yama Gatha" directed by Arvind Gaur.

In "Yama Gatha", the playwright makes excellent use of mythology to hit out against the current socio-political situation in the country. Indra of our mythology is the playwright's epitome of world power and Brahmana, Rishikul and the Raja are his tools to exploit the people and even kill those who oppose him. Religion is an important tool for him not only to exploit the people but even to kill those who oppose him. To fight Indra we have Vashishtha and Pururava who organise the people to fight for their rights. In Pururava, Indra sees a dangerous enemy and is afraid of his popularity among the people.

He tries to win him over through many temptations but fails and so has him killed in the name of religion.

In the past we have seen quite a few plays that have tried to draw a parallel between mythology and the current socio-political scene with varying degrees of success but "Yama Gatha" brings the message home without being propagandist.

Present-day realities

The play underlines well the commonalities between mythology and the present day realities so much so that the director has the cast wear present-day clothes instead of the period costumes.

The production, however, is at places a little loose and the script needs some more editing. The cast as a whole plays well and we have some strong characterisation among the players. Gaurav Srivastava in Pururava's role, Naresh Kabir as Vashistha, Shiraz Khan as Indra stand out and of course Sapna Khatana in Ila's role and Amita Walia as Urvashi project well the question of feminine identity but one feels the playwright could have given the two characters a little more weight to underline the problem. Indeed, "Yama Gatha" is one of the best interpretations of mythology in terms of our present-day socio political situation and is a must whenever it is on the boards again.

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