In Asmita’s latest presentation, young playwright Rajesh Kumar’s “Ambedkar aur Gandhi” was marked for healthy audience response both for its content and the director Gaur’s overall production design.
The cast gives a power pack performance which includes the likes of Bajrang Bali Singh playing Ambedkar being excellent particularly in his last speech after Gandhiji’s death. Viren Basoya’s Gandhi, calm and collected and upto the mark. Apart from the two lead players, others who stand out are Shilpi Marwah as Rama Bai, Pankaj Raj Yadav as Devdas Gandhi, Malay Garg as Kedarkar, Raj Sharma as Sadanand and Rahul Datta as Sardar Patel.
To lend colour to the presentation, there was, as usual, excellent music by Sangeeta Gaur and some popular songs that brought back old memories.
The play gives a very good understanding about Ambedkars’ and Gandhis’ views over Indian society and its development. It show cases their conflicts with each other. Director Arvind Gaur in his 64th endeavor very wisely tries to put across a very sensitive subject of caste system in front of the audience.
Bajrang Bali Singh especially gave an exceptional power packed performance in form of Ambedkar where he questioned Gandhi with cutting edge questions and says “I have no country.”
With references made to the Poona pact, Kala Ram temple entry satyagraha, round table conference and Communal award the play unfolds the limitation of Gandhi in addressing the problem of untouchability and also his failure in attacking the root of the problem.
The play also voices out the dissatisfaction in Ambedkar about the efforts put by Gandhi for the removal of untouchability. The dialogue by Ambedkar saying, “Why doesn’t Gandhi fast unto death for the cause of removal of untouchability?” summarizes the dissatisfaction and also the dialogue saying, “Efforts of Congress to address the problem of untouchability is like getting a new dress stitched during the festive season, every year.”
Though the reaction by the audience present was mixed one, during the post play discussions initiated by the Director some people from the audience were not happy in the way Mahatma Gandhi was portrayed, since in some scenes Ambedkar was truly seen dominating Gandhi which didn’t go down well with some members of the audience and Ambedkars’ referral to Brahmins again and again as self serving community was also cause of concern.
Overall a must watch play as it will make think about Indian society structure.
I give 3 out of 5 to it..