Mukhatib 2017, the annual streetplay festival organised by Shunya-the theatre society of Ramjas College on 31st March 2017 saw four plays being censored by the authorities to avoid any type of unrest in the campus. The organisers of the event were reportedly asked for the scripts of the plays which were to be performed in the festival just before the event. This was followed by the cancellation of four plays which had elements of nationalism in them. The students replied to this attempt of the administration by sealing their lips with black tapes and tying black bands around their arms.

There were seven plays scheduled to be performed in the event out of which only three were allowed. The plays of the colleges which were cancelled were SGTB Khalsa college’s play ‘Trump Card‘, Dyal Singh Evening college’s ‘Jokistaan’, Sri Guru Gobind Singh College of Commerce’s ‘sawal to uthega’ and Gargi College’s ‘Main Kashmir, aur aap? Main Manipur’.

Out of the three teams that were allowed to perform, Lady Shri Ram College did not perform as a mark of protest while Miranda House and Kirori Mal College went ahead with their performances “Hadsa-e-Paidaish” and “The Accidental Death of an Anarchist” respectively.

However, the authorities refuted the claims of censorship and said that it was the students who themselves decided to scrap the plays. The acting Principal P.C. Tulsiyan said “The administration did not cancel the plays but Ramjas students who are members of the drama society did it themselves. We had just advised them to not include anything which may hamper the peaceful atmosphere at the college.”

However, speaking to DU Beat on the condition of anonymity, a student organiser said “We were made to sign an undertaking by the authorities who refused to give us permission otherwise. We have been organising Mukhatib for years but never before we have seen this type of censorship and silencing of voices on the pretext of safety.”

The college saw violent protests last month by ABVP against a seminar which featured ‘Umar Khalid’ and ‘Sheila Rashid’ as two of the speakers.

Image credits: Shunya, Ramjas College

Srivedant Kar

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Delhi University’s fest season witnesses several societies competing for the top spot at various cultural events, out-performing their rivals and sometimes bettering their previous standards and performances. In the stage theatre category, the theatre society at Ramjas College, Shunya, was ranked best for their play ‘Deluxe Hair Cutting Salon.’

The Winning Society at a glance

Shunya, Ramjas College


‘Deluxe Hair Cutting Salon,’ a play written by Sandeep Shikhar, revolves around the eponymous salon, which is located beside a mechanic’s workspace and a pathological laboratory. The world created within the space of the salon and its neighbours seeks to explore the quick manner in which people are likely to find faults with another’s character, often forgetting those in their own. The significance of introspection is a pertinent question that the play addresses. The play also brings out the polarity of characteristics present in individuals-a facet of human nature that must be recognised and acknowledged.

On the reason behind their success this year, Shubham Vaish, actor, said, “The entire production worked like a well-oiled machine. A well thought out strategy of work, utmost dedication by all actors in terms of being sincere to their respective roles, and coordinated efforts between both directors in managing time, people and resources is what made ‘Deluxe Hair Cutting Salon’ a fairly successful play in the DU theatre circuit.””A common reception that we saw for the play, was the appreciation for the acting,” he adds. “Every actor, excluding two, played two characters each. Some of these characters had a wide age gap between them, which was a challenge for the actor to switch between the roles. But the portrayal was appreciated by the audience. “A million people often means two million faces, and this is what the play embodies,” he concludes.








Cast and Crew

Shobhit Bhatia as Bachan
Jayant Chand as Binay Da and Bablu Pandey
Soumik Roy as Das Babu and Pancha Babu
Shubham Vaish as Sanjay and Raju
Kumar Abhimanyu as Bapi and Salesman
Kritarth Sethi as Dilip
Deepak Singh as Customer

Directed by : Shobhit Bhatia and Dewang Mulani

Sound Design and Execution by : Shrishti Chakraborty

Lights Design and Execution by : Dewang Mulani

Production Team : Aishwarya Sharma, Salonee Sharma, Deepak Singh, Disha Sukhija

Winners Tally: Shunya, Ramjas College

‘Deluxe Hair Cutting Salon’ was staged at 13 different venues this year at competitive and non-competitive events, including India Habitat Centre and Shri Ram Centre, besides the fests at various Delhi University colleges.

The play was adjudged the best play at Daulat Ram College and at Gargi College’s Reverie. The play has also secured various other accolades for best direction (at Hans Raj College, Daulat Ram College and Gargi College), best ensemble cast at Gargi College, and best actor and best production team at St. Stephen’s College.


Abhinaya Harigovind

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