A play titled ‘Aksariyat Akliyat’ to be performed in Delhi University’s Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies(SSCBS) was cancelled by the college due to being based on Kashmir.

On the 25th of January, a Parindey Theatre Group was all set to perform a play, titled ‘Aksariyat Akliyat’, in Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies affiliated to the University of Delhi (DU), at the pre-event of Crescendo, the annual cultural fest of the college. The theme of the play was centered on the history and politics of Kashmir along with narratives of mythology. Owing to this characteristic, the play was cancelled by the college administration.

The college administration decided to cancel the play because they were apprehensive of the sensitive nature of the issue based on which the play had been developed. They were of the idea that the play could easily land the college into trouble.

The play had to be performed at the annual event, titled ‘Crescendo 2.0’, and essentially outlined the political dynamics of the formation of Jammu and Kashmir. Mr. Rishi Sahai, the Head of the Management Committee claimed to be unaware about the content of the play as well as the lineup of the event.

The Students’ Council had to look into the matter and signed the letter of settlement of behalf of the Principal of the institution. The Principal also suggested modifying the play for ‘avoiding controversy’ and also made an offer to the theatre group to perform at another time, which was later declined by the team.

Further, a student of the college, who wished to remain anonymous, said,”As is usually the case with government colleges, the administration tries to distance itself from anything that is political, in order to stray clear of trouble. Although, many students do feel that this may not be the correct approach, always.”

According to Vivek Tyagi, the director of the play, “The play had been performed in 5 different cities and over 15 times, and nothing was ever registered as controversial, and moreover, a great stand-up comedian such as Rahul Subramanian was in full support of our cause.” Subramanian was also scheduled to perform at the event. He had also added that it was a demotivating moment for the team and that they were expecting support from the Delhi Theatre Circuit, but no such gesture was made.

Image credits- ED Times

Suhani Malhotra

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Three friends, one painting. Where will this go? Adapted from Yasmin Reza’s Art, Shunya presents its annual production with a little twist.

Set in New Delhi with three female protagonists. Art is one of the three annual award winning productions from Shunya, The Ramjas Dramatics Society.
An adaptation of Yasmin Reza’s Art, Shunya’s adaptation changes all the protagonists to females.
In its synopsis, Art explores the question of if a painting can destroy years of friendship.

The play begins with music from old Hindi films playing from a radio. The four characters in the play are seen shuffling across the stage as the lights fade in and fade out. They are seen arranging, and then re-arranging tables and chairs.

The audience then meets their first character Shweta (played by Vaishnavi Rai) who has just bought a new painting, except the painting is a blank canvas.

The second lead, Mitali (played by Ayushi Kumar) now enters and is seen enquiring about the price of the painting and its absurdity. Soon, the audience is introduced to the third lead, Yukti (played by Raniya Zulaikha, also the funniest of all characters)
The play progresses with the three protagonists, the question of the absurd price of the absurd painting and the strain between the three friends still hangs in the air.

The play is minimalistic in nature with few props which are used interchangeably. The play explores female friendships and gives interesting insights of female friendships with examples of jealousy, power dynamics, intimacy issues etc. The visible strain in friendships and bitterness reflects on stage. The play has been directed by Sushant Nagpal. Interestingly, the male gaze seeps into the play in fragments. Women aren’t objectified but the changes in their relationship occur after their romantic involvements with men.
The fourth character (played by Ravi Yadav) who remains unnamed appears in a few scenes, never with the three leads is rather comical. His only job is to arrange and re-arrange the props and occasionally steal some food.

As the play progresses, it brings forth the issue of internalised misogyny which is rooted in internalised shame, patriarchy and sexism.
An overarching theme in the play is the question of perseverance and longevity of friendships in times of conflict.

The play manages to be hilarious, thanks to Zulaikha’s character (Yukti) with her one-liners, the best one being “Go read Chanakyaneeti”. The characters add balance to the play with Mitali’s seriousness and Shweta’s playfulness.

Overall, there is never a dull moment in the play. The characters, stories, props are constantly moving and engaging with the audience.

Image Credits: Shunya: The Dramatics Society of Ramjas College

Jaishree Kumar
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Saadat Hasan Manto’s stories have been adapted on stage for decades now. Every work of the acclaimed writer kindles powerful emotions and emotions reactions. One such attempt was put forth by less than a year old Sukhmanch Theater. Held on 25th December at Lok Kala Manch, the production was named “Manto Ke Afsaane”. Like the name itself suggests, the play comprised of six short stories written by the Manto himself. The stories were carefully picked, where the protagonist was a woman. While the subjugation of women was a common theme across the six stories, communalism, politics, and poverty were also talked about. Changes and variations to suit the contemporary and current scenario were skillfully integrated by Director Shilpi Marwaha. In terms of storytelling, one can argue that masterpieces like “Khol Do” and “Mozail” weren’t played as skillfully as they are originally written. The haunting emotions and nuances of the text didn’t unfold on the stage. But this difference or observation is apparent only to those who have read the stories. To those who didn’t, the acts were engaging enough. There are several moments in the 2-hour long play where an audience would laugh, cry, and feel very uneasy owing to the uncomfortable realties of the society. As a female, I was very uncomforted by the heart-wrenching scenes depicting of sexual violence, but to neutralize this intensity there were several lighthearted moments spread across the play. For me, the best act was “Khudkushi”- a hilarious piece encompassing the thoughts and musings of a young girl’s about eternal love stories. The play involved more than 40 actors and one could tell that almost all of them were amateur (and as we found out later, most of them had started theater just eight months ago). However, despite the occasional fumbling and lack of convincing dialogue delivery, they all manage to pull great performances. Pragya Sharma, who played the role of naïve ten Sarita in “ 1O Rupaye” stood out for her innocent and unpretentious acting skills. The play starts with a scene where all women protagonist is present in the same stage and voices out their opinions which soon dissolve in a tumultuous chaos signaling the muffling of women’s voices. After all the stories are enacted one gets the significance of this first scene because we can identify the characters. Shilpi Marwaha should be applauded for genius orchestration. The stage setting was kept minimal and the lighting was handled well by Ayan Banerjee. The background score consisted of soulful piano versions of Christina Perry songs which didn’t suit the play at all. P.S. – After the end, Shilpi Marwaha addressed the audience and introduced the cast an crew. Shilpi in her delightful and charming style established his direct rapport with the audience. What followed next was a 20-minute long heart-to-heart. The production was great, but I suggest you should watch Sukhmanch Theater for the pleasure of meeting Miss. Marwaha.   Feature Image Credits: Niharika Dabral for DU Beat Niharika Dabral [email protected]]]>

Heartbreaking and touching, A Woman Alone by Shilpi Marwaha is a bold description of marital rape and female subjugation.

If you are a feminist who enjoys impactful theatre, then Sukhmanch Theatre Group’s production A Woman Alone is the performance for you. An adaptation of an Italian play by the same name, the act is written by political activists and theatre-makers Dario Fo and Franca Rame.

The play starts with a woman dancing freely and lasciviously to peppy Bollywood songs. Initially, it looks like the protagonist is a happy, confident woman, but soon things become dark. The plot has no sequence of events as such; the story is basically a narration of the oppressed domestic life of a woman. Stuck between a toddler, an abusive husband, a perverted brother-in-law, a stalker, and a blackmailing boyfriend, Sharon (played by Shilpi Marwaha) is in the simplest of terms an oppressed woman. She describes the various facets of her trauma in the form of gossip, storytelling, and comedy.

There are many scenes that vividly document the ugly reality of issues like marital rape and domestic abuse. While these scenes can be triggering and heart wrenching, there are a few reassuring moments where Sharon displays admirable grit and strength.

Watching A Woman Alone is a rollercoaster ride that is both emotionally draining and exhilarating because of the range of emotions it incites within the viewer. The audience is left more clueless, confused, and shocked than they were at the beginning. A Woman Alone is not a play that will provide you with answers; there will be no happy ending, there will be no closure. Sharon’s struggles of being groped, humiliated, harassed, hurt, of having her agency and free will ripped away from her, of blackmail and pain will make you question the kind of world that you live in where women continue to be viewed as properties, conquests, and pieces of flesh. Shilpi Marwaha at the climax of the play is trapped between ropes laden with household objects – bottles, shirts, brooms, clothhes hangers, jugs, and containers. It is a representation of how women today are trapped in what is assumed to be their responsibility towards their households and families.

It is the tale of a woman who was crushed and defeated by society’s hatred for women, hatred of their choices, their sexuality, their desire to grow, their desire to be recognised as people and not as someone’s partner, mother, and daughter.

Shilpi Marwaha has outdone herself in this piece of art that is nothing short of a masterpiece. Her voice, her persona, and her fearless personality all make the play an iconic tale of a woman crushed by the things and people she thought loved her.

Talking to DU Beat after her performance, Marwaha said, “It is a 90-page-long script and for one hour and 10 minutes I have to continuously speak, which is very taxing, not just physically but also mentally.” However, it is evident that this hard work pays off.
Follow Sukhmanch Theatre Group on Facebook for the details of more of their stunning upcoming performances.


Image Credits: DU Beat

Kinjal Pandey
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Niharika Dabral
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Often times we see that the screen or stage adaptations of classic novels do not do justice to the nuances of the written text, however, director Ishwar Shunya’s “Joothan” based on Omprakash Valmiki’s autobiographical book of the same name recreates the monumental story with equal effect.

Joothan (leftover food from one’s plate that was traditionally eaten by low caste people after they collected the plates of the upper caste folks) chronicles the life and struggles of Omprakash, a “low-caste” boy living in an Uttar Pradesh village during the 1950s.

From early on, the play illustrates the social standing of Churas,a low caste community whose job is to clean toilets, work as labor, tan leather from dead cattle, etc, and establishes how economic deprivation of the untouchables is a result of the caste system. There are numerous moments in the 1 hour 45-minute long drama when the performances will give you goose bumps and the overwhelming feelings of anger, triumph, sadness, and hope.

One of the most powerful scenes in the play is when Omprakash’s mother throws dirty pattals (leaf plates) at a dominant caste patriarch when he humiliates her. Though the play is littered with tragedy, there is a segment which depicts a policeman sodomising a Dalit youth with an iron rod. The vividity of the scene is triggering and particularly disturbing. I almost wished the audience was warned about it.

The dialogues are honest and hard-hitting, with a liberal dose of crass expletives. While the casteist terms such as Chura, Chamaar, and Bhangi were used to portray the brazen abuse of Dalits, a section of the audience laughed each time these terms were uttered. The fact that the audience was seeking comedy in the humiliation of marginalized folks showed insensitivity of urban crowd.

The acting is on point by a superb cast. Abhijeet Singh plays the antagonist Chaudhary and Daroga very convincingly. Rohit Kumar enacts the innocence of young Omprakash with perfection that makes the viewer root for him. Anas Khan personates the adult Omprakash and arrests the attention of everyone.

The live music by Prasoon Narayan, Sachin, Prashant Misra and Raj Kishor made the production stellar. Kabir bhajans such as ‘Ud Ja Hans Akela’ alongside old Bollywood melodies like ‘Pal Pal Dil ke Pass’ serenaded the audience.

Lightning by Sachin Kumar and Badal Singh complimented the impeccable set that was designed by Kanchan Ujjal Singh. There were at least five to six different backdrops and the transition from one background to another was perfectly handled by Tanvi Goel and Manish Kumar. The collective efforts of the cast and crew encapsulated in a long, standing ovation.

Go and watch this LGT Auditorium Repertory production whenever you get a chance, because it will be totally worth it.

Poster by Ishwar Shunya
Poster by Ishwar Shunya


Feature Image Credits: Niharika Dabral for DU Beat 

Niharika Dabral

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Vayam started off as the theatre society of Shivaji College, University of Delhi in 2006 when a handful of like-minded and creative students decided to form a dramatics society in their college. The society that was formed on the ideals of unity, togetherness, and creativity, grew bigger and better by each passing year. Gradually, Vayam started making a mark in the DU theatre circuit by winning many laurels and praises. Today, the organisation has ventured into the era of performing arts and boasts of a strong foothold in Mumbai and Delhi with several professional performances under its credit.

With a total of 26 proscenium and street plays based on various social issues that have won many accolades on competitive and non-competitive platforms across India including National School of Drama, National Centre for Performing Arts, Prithvi Theatre, Jana Natya Manch, Kamani, Sirifort, India Habitat Center, Shri Ram Centre, Sahitya Kala Parishad, FICCI Auditorium, Hindi Sahitya Academy (Indore), IIT-Delhi, IIT-Bombay, IIT-Kanpur, IIM-Ahmedabad, and the like, Vayam is constantly growing. The society comprises of a group of hardworking, talented, and driven individuals consisting of actors, directors, scriptwriters, technicians, and working professionals.

This year’s production, ‘The White Saree’, has been a remarkable achievement for our team here at Vayam. It was scripted, designed, and directed by Amit Tiwari. Aishwarya Hasija was the Assistant Director while Damini and Gaurashree were the choreographers for the performance. The play venued at LTG Auditorium on a Sunday evening with a full house, an enthusiastic cast, and an energetic team. The drama unfolded the many glitches of society, including the society’s hunger to influence the decisions of a woman regarding her wishes, needs, and desires. The play chose to express its emotions in the form of a musical dance drama, an amalgamation that awed the audience with a gush of different emotions that could be felt as the play progressed. The central plot was about a woman’s dilemma about her own feelings and her deepest and darkest desires. It cast light upon how women are under obligations of maintaining the supposed ‘dignity’ of the society, thus in the process killing their own progress along with the loss of self-love.

‘The White Saree’ is a production that is bound to challenge viewers’ mindsets and societal norms. It is a play which provokes a series of thoughts on issues such as love, stress, and relationships and how the society inclines to perceive these relationships. The performance of this acclaimed production at LTG Auditorium on Sunday, August 27, 2017 saw a healthy turnout of the audience from different walks of life. The play rendered an extended portrayal of the vicious cycle of societal judgement, regret, depression, and a feeling of self consciousness guided by the convention of the mass. The drama laid emphasis on the many decisions that women have to make each day in the hope that none of them defy the standard of the society. It proceeded to raise relevant issues on sexual orientation, desires, and dreams of a woman that are butchered by the people as the story progresses. The audience could be seen experiencing different emotions of love, compassion, sorrow, and regret throughout the performance. The superlative direction and powerful script kept the audience glued to the scenes on stage. The experienced cast and crew of ‘The White Saree’ delivered a memorable performance which was praised by the viewers, senior team members, and the management alike. Also, Love in Frames was present at the venue to cover the event. In summary, the event turned out to be a success for the organisation as promotion of theatre and social service were well accomplished by the dedicated team of Vayam Performing Arts Society.

Rahul Garg: +91 9873 889 919
Amit Tiwari: +91 9718 358 345
Rahul Saini: +91 9968 997 049

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‘ was not Rajat Kapoor’s first, second or even third play with a red nosed cast but his fourth, and he’s definitely got a lot clown culture in his bag without the concept being overcooked. It was an alluring take on the Shakespeare’s comedy ‘As You Like It‘. The play was filled with constant tussle and even role reversal, igniting applause and laughter in perpetuum. The Shakespearean story, by the end of it, will start looking incredibly confusing and you would deem some parts to be quite illogical as part of the original edit. The Clown Corps was lead by the Striking Popo (Joy Fernandes), the play director, who would actually be consistently striking the mischievous rears of his actors. This play dissects each clown’s love life in the background of an economic and identity crisis. While the actors are playing their respective parts, all fiction-life internal jealousy and friction among the characters comes out in their rehearsals. Coco (Aadar Malik) and Mimi (Faezeh Jalali) are star crossed lovers who play the roles of Orlando and Rosalind, who in this play have met online. These characters bring out a funny twist of insecurities that affects their on stage performances and causes them to transition in and out of their roles and, say their usual dialogues in unusual ways. Fifi (Shruti Vyas) was the queen of ‘Friend-Zoning’ with Fido (Vinay Pathak) being the poor obsequious victim, fetching Fifi’s tea and painting her toenails. Their parallel characters Phoebe and Silvius of course correlate with their fiction-life positions and make them share the same one sided chemistry, mostly, being concocted in Silvius’s head. Soso (Cyrus Sahukar) is a classic example of a romance pessimist who plays the character of Melancholy Jacques. The only relationship he can seem to sustain is one where he can successfully predict the outcome to be in his favour, which is with his sock puppet Toto. Gigi (Rytasha Rathore) is the recently flown in ruffle-puff foreign edit of this hopeless lot who is either causing trouble among the actors or passing advances to Popo in order to land a significant role in his production. When the cauldron starts to boil over with all the tension, that’s when the abstract comes to life “To find yourself… you must become the other”. The men and women both puff up with confidence knowing that they understand the opposite sex to the tee. It’s a hysterical circle of events as the women play the men and the men play the women and all the stereotypes attached to each of them are thrown into the audience. The highlight of the play, however, has to be Toto’s frustrated, insightful monologue mocking the entire intent behind the production and the petty fall outs of the characters. It was as if Rajat Kapoor made room for the talent’s as well as the critic’s job. Baani Kashyap [email protected] Image Credits: http://www.mid-day.com/]]>

Have you ever thought, how would your family react if you died and have lots of property to bifurcate among self- proclaimed ‘soon to be second -hand’ rich people? Well, to spark the Christmas excitement on the same note, Thespian Theatre Company performed their production called ‘Kya Family Hai! at Shri Ram Centre on 25th December.

A comical satire, the play depicted the internal relationships of a family – husband with wife, brother with sister, father with children. However, when the father dies, the children make a beeline for his property, their greed for money making them completely insensitive to his dying wishes. It is a satire on the fading morality of society, on how we have become so self-centred that we trample on the wishes of our own loved ones.


The role of the father, played by the tycoon of comedy- Asrani, the ‘Angrezon Ke Zamane Ka Jailor’, realizes that he has only 2 hours to live and decides to frame his will. After he dies, his soul stays behind, only to see his children fight over his property which takes place in a very comical way. Performed under the remarkable direction of Raj Upadhyay, each scene was well crafted. Despite being a bit too long, the humour element of the play kept the audience engaged. 

Replete with excellent timing and dialogue delivery by artists including Nadeem Khan, Nargis Nandan, Pranav Sachdeva, Ashok Dhawan, Aarti Sharda Nayar, Vaidehi Sharma, the audience thoroughly enjoyed the play as was evident from the cries of laughter time to time!


Thespian Theatre Company, that was started by two graduates of Hans Raj College – Ishan Soni and Pranav Sachdeva with the aim to change the face of Delhi theatre, strives to promote theatre as an art form and inculcate it in daily life by means of their productions. 

If you would like to know about more productions by Thespian, check out the following links:




On behalf of Harshit Thukral and Prateek Singh for DU Beat

Riya Chhibber

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Vayam, the performing arts society, presented their play, ‘Ek Rishte ki Maut’ on 24th December 2015 at Akshara Theatre.


The play is about the ‘never-ending fight for true love’, a philsophy which many of us fail to follow. The story beautifully portrays how giving-up on your soulmate can be the worst decision of your life.

The play starts with a couple filing for divorce and soon enters into a flashback of their happy times together as a married couple – sweet memories of how they used to care for each other and the dream of doing things they used to love and of the window where they both used to sit together during the rainy season and enjoy coffee together. After a series of events and realisation of how life was much better when they were together, they concluded it’s worth it to give their marriage another chance and to fight for something they never actually wanted to give-up.

The play is a masterpiece as far as direction goes. Very well crafted scenes are blended with apt use of stage set-ups. The director understood each actor’s strength and utilised it at the right places to bring out impactful performances.

It was the acting -the display of emotions – that stole the show. The timing of different scenes, lighting and the background score which kept the audience into the play. You know the characters are embedded so deep in the actor’s skin when you see the audience in tears.

By Prateek Singh for DU Beat


Huge crowds. Incessant singing and slogan raising. Raised voices. Loud invitiations to draw in the audience. A rampant air of festivity.

If you’re in DU and you notice an event with the above characteristics, then make sure you stick around. For what you’ll eventually witness will be a fine piece of street theatre performed by enthusiasts and concluded with a message meant to mobilize the youth.

Street theatre in DU is usually performed by the Hindi Dramatic Societies. However there are also a few groups which function as separate societies dedicated solely to this form of theatre.

Street theatre is largely devoted to addressing social and political concerns. Society today is witnessing widespread internal and external crises. From terrorism to communal riots to a wholesome political paralysis, the country is plagued with numerous evils. Hence it’s commendable that students of the university take it upon themselves to spread necessary awareness through a medium which shall reach the largest audience.

The street play societies also have the most amount of fun, aays Samriddhi Kukreja, Vice president of Kahkasha, JMC, “We have these sessions where we aim at making the voice of each member reach its highest frequency. So the whole group repeats “anna” and each time the frequency increases. Also, we want each of us to be comfortable with words that would otherwise make jaws drop. For instance, we have sessions where each member is expected to say “condom” really loudly. So these are some the fun things we do.” Various events last year saw the JMC girls perform on the much controversial theme of “homosexuality” and receive significant appreciation.

Besides JMC, Venky has Anubhuti which has been in existence since the last eight years and has immense popularity to its credit. St. Stephens has Shakesabha, Miranda’s Anukriti is popular for its signature human pyramid and Khalsa’s Ankur have been extremely instrumental in raising awareness.

The most reputed of all is Verve, The Street Play Society of the College of Business Studies. Last year their Annual Theatre Festival, Manthan, got a lot of colleges together to perform street plays in government schools and public places.

The street play culture ensures that even while you’re having fun, you’re getting across important messages to the society. Surely it’s a combination well worth exploring!