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Street Theatre ( Nukkad Natak)

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Theatre for Social awareness

Play of rules - The ongoing Auto Expo at Pragati Maidan,New Delhi is all about cars. With nearly 2000 people having died on Delhi roads this past year, safety however, is the issue of prime importance. Addressing this reality, Maruti Suzuki is running a road safety play near the exhibition area.

Road safety play Edit

Staged by the Arvind Gaur, “Hatke Bachke”, is street theatre at its best. It uses simply the power of acting, devoid of all artifice to lay out a message. Through humour and creates the story of a young boy and his doting mother. The boy is killed by a bus. And the audience empathises with the mother’s loss. Through pointed incidents like this it beseeches the audience to go to automobile training schools, like the one run by Maruti.

To the credit of the acting and direction, the play grabbed a sizeable audience. Businessmen and laymen stopped in their busy tracks to decipher the action. Engrossed by it they responded wholeheartedly. Feedback from the audience is essential to all street theatre. After a resounding applause, the actors merged into the crowd. People freely gave their time and comments. An elderly gentleman said that the problem started at home, with parents giving their young sons two-wheelers. Another audience member added, “Rules sab jante hain. Lekhin koi manta nahin.”

This play ought to be taken to other public spaces because of its essential message and powerful presentation.

-by Nandini Nair,The Hindu

Four Street Theatre Shows at IHC Edit

It was a long Friday, stretched longer till Saturday morning in office, assisting Ankit in his work; 2 hours of sleep and up I went to greater Noida for some work with Prabhakar. Here goes the whole day. Tired and sleepy I request Prabhakar to visit IHC as we have Asmita group presenting street plays today, ah, street play, and I see those pictures in mind, kurtas, loud throats, social message, aggression, amazing actors, stunned audience, an observant director, many questions, few answers. Nostalgia, the word ‘street play’ triggered nostalgia.

Road safety

The stage was set, and then there was this explosion! The first street play talking about road safety had around 25 artists, and the sudden outburst of energy shook the awaiting audience. ‘Gaddi jaandi hai chhalanga maar dee, ho mainnu yaad aaye mere yaaar dee’, the play very subtly talked about how indifferent everyone is about road safety in a highly crowded city like ours and how we deny to take control of whole situation. Be it the drunk truck driver, politically shielded bus driver, a young biker or just one of us walking on the road, it makes no difference to us whatsoever, until we become part of the victim list. Lack of thought, that’s all, traffic is such a wonderful example of the great Hindustani instinct of ‘we can but we won’t’.

Ego VS ethics The second one was called ‘Rahul Boxer’, and displayed ego VS ethics, how all of us want to prove a lot of things all the time. That urge to win, to exceed, to leave the world behind, irrespective of the ‘how’, we keep aiming. It’s a different world these days, more competitive, more needs, more desires, higher aims, lower reasons! We are living it, kind of. This was done by a few novices, and considering this, it was wonderful. Bhenchoodo apni apni Maa chooda Lo.......

Play against Child abuse Edit

The third one, again by a few other novices talked about a young rape victim, a ten year old school girl, who was raped by her tuition teacher. Time and time again, questions have been raised on the respect rape victims must receive from police, judiciary and the society, still many unanswered questions revoked. Let alone successful trials of rapists, I am not even sure if the number of rape cases registered are even a fraction of total rapes that happen in a society which feeds everyone with dignity and pride, teaches every man to walk with high head and broad chest. They say the world is nearing its end, I say it hasn’t yet evolved fully, and it’s still a man’s world.

Violence against women Edit

The fourth and the last play again talked about violence against women, and primarily talked about eve teasing and domestic violence, about the grand male ego and their ‘needs’ from their woman. There are times when people compare American marriages to Indian marriages and feel proud that we have such a small divorce ratio, I believe that this isn’t something to feel proud about but to worry about. The main reason behind all this is lack of aggression from the females, their acceptance, and their diffidence! Things may be changing, and changing for the better, but even today, girls are fed with the thought that their husband will be their god, I never heard somebody telling a guy something even similar about his to-be. Had there been any more resistance and a little less acceptance from women, the divorce rate would get higher, but again the dependency matrix and the ethical grooming keeps them away from any revolts. Evolution is not even mid way.

Thanks to Asmita theatre group and Arvind Gaur jee for such a day. It leaves me sad at the end of all such events, thinking what am I doing? I know I am lazy but I know that if I keep looking I will find the way sooner or later, back to hunting!

-by Diwakar

Hi I am a lawyer and I think street play has a big role to stop violence against women like rape,dowry death,domestic violence,molestation,female feticide.We together should take some positive steps to stop violence against women.


Teach India play Edit

Providing education to unprivileged children in the country -

For all those who visited the Metropolitan Mall in Gurgaon and City Square Mall in Rajouri Gardens over the weekend, a truly inspiring More Pictures and motivating experience awaited them. The Teach India team had set up registration counters for every person who wanted to participate in the TOI initiative that aims at providing education to unprivileged children in the country.

One of the highlights of the ongoing campaign - the Teach India play - performed by theatre group Asmita and directed by Arvind Gaur, provided the right spark and attracted the attention of over 800 people each day.

The theme

"The theme is such that the play does not go about preaching people. The popular songs included in the play along with the usage of everyday language were the main attractions. It is something everyone could identify with. The play spreads awareness and ultimately brings them to think on their own by asking questions like - did I ever try?" said Arvind Gaur.

The play reminded people of the streetchildren who go unnoticed. It appealed to everyone to realise the need of the hour. It put forth the platform and opportunity provided by Teach India where anyone can volunteer in the programme by taking out just two out of their 168 hours in a week.

Said Amarpreet, who works with an MNC: "I have already registered online. We, who are educated, have a social responsibility. This is an amazing initiative and will certainly go a long way." At the end of the play, which appealed to the young and the old, the actors interacted with the audience and answered all their queries. "My daughter is studying in Class X and she filled up the form because she wants to help the needy. I am sure if she can manage it, other people too will come forward," said a hopeful mother, Seema. She added,"The way the entire programme has been laid out makes it possible to actually take part. The timings and location, everything would be arranged so as to suit our convenience."

Role of Society

Rahul, an actor from Asmita, questioned the general indifferent attitude seen today, "We give two-three rupees to the child who begs at the traffic light and forget about it. Do we ever think where that small amount goes, in buying a cigarette or eating something?" Mother and daughter, Niharika Nangia and Ritu Kaur, impressed by the campaign said, "This is a fantastic step towards improving the situation. The best part is that people are not required to give financial help. It needs only a little bit of one’s time and the skills that one already possesses for pitching-in. The Times of India has the ability to reach out faster and spread awareness. We are very hopeful. This will definitely give results."

The people who signed up for Teach India, before filling up the registration forms, wrote their names with chalk on a blackboard. Said Prerna, a Teach India volunteer, "Since teaching has always been associated with blackboards and chalk, writing on the board gives them a feel of teaching and gears them up for the programme ahead."

The campaign received a great boost over the weekend, with around 1,150 people from all walks of life, across all ages, deciding to sign up for making a valuable contribution to the society.

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