It took Shah Jahan twenty years to build the Taj Mahal for Mumtaz owing to the hardwork put in by his workforce and the intricacies of the marvel. Now that’s a fact. But how long do you suppose the Taj Mahal would take to build if Shah Jahan made an attempt at it today, with the resources and more at his fingertips? Never, probably. Not so much a fact anymore is it? Tajmahal Ka Tender explores the possibility of the Emperor coming alive in our age, amongst us, giving orders to construct the Taj Mahal in collaboration with engineers, contractors, babus, politicians, social workers et al, which come into action and take the emperor for a roller-coaster ride.
The play first got commercial notice by the National School of Drama under the direction of Chitranjan Thripathi, for which it won the Mohan Rakesh Samman in 1996. Since then several directors have made an attempt at the play with farce as a theme, while some took it up as a serious observation of corruption. Among the many, the latest version was performed by the Mitr Cultural Society under the direction of Anil Sharma, who decided to showcase an amalgamation of both elements in the play. First staged in the Sri Ram Centre, the production through this play makes an attempt to reveal the notorious bureaucratic machinery, along with its infamous red tape. Anil Sharma has re-edited the play and added more lines to highlight the flaws of the system with reference to the present day scenario, a move that was well received. He also plays the chief villain of the play, Guptaji, the corrupt chief engineer, giving him a satirical edge. He provides the undertone of irony and deception in the otherwise slapstick comedy. The performance of Rahul Vashisht as Shah Jahan has been very well received for his movement and dialogue delivery. Umesh Goel as the mafia, Nisha as Jaatni and Manish Thankur as Pandit and Sansani news also give impressive performances. Owing to its popularity the play is regularly staged in Delhi in the Indian Habitat Centre and Alliance Francaise.
So, if tragedies are not your thing and you’re looking for a lighter perspective of our times, this play will grab you and leave you wanting more