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 on the DU Theatre Circuit by winning many laurels and praises. Today, the organization 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. Our society comprises a group of hardworking, talented and driven individuals consisting of actors, directors, scriptwriters, technicians and working professionals.

Their successfully running play ‘The White Saree’ has been made yet another admiration worthy achievement for our team here at Vayam. The play was performed at LTG Auditorium on a winter Sunday evening with a full house, an enthusiastic cast and energetic team. The drama unfolded the very many glitches of the 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 casted 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.

White Saree is a production that is bound to challenge viewers’ mindset and societal norms. It is a play which provokes a series of thoughts on issues love, stress and relationships and how the society inclines to perceive these relationships. The performance of this acclaimed production at LTG Auditorium on Sunday, January 14, 2018 saw a healthy turnout of the audience from different walks of life. The play rendered an extended portrayal of the vicious cycle of societal judgment, 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 progressed. 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 White Saree delivered a phenomenal performance which was praised by the viewers, senior team members and the management alike. In summary, the event turned out to be a success for the organization as a promotion of theatre and social service were well accomplished by the dedicated team of Vayam Performing Arts Society.

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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A fresh new year and a fresh new bunch of fests to look forward to! We bring to you the ECA calendar of the year that was so that you can get an idea of all the fun that’s in store for you this session.

BITS Pilani

Oasis, the annual cultural festival of BITS, Pilani is an eagerly awaited event and sees a high level of participation among DU colleges. Known for its energy and rock nights, it is also one of the biggest competitions for most ECA societies, especially western dance and fashion.

Jaipur literary festival

The Jaipur literary fest is the biggest of its kind not only in India, but all of Asia. It is a celebration of national and international writers and encompasses a wide range of activities including film, music and theatre as well as readings, talks, literary lunches, debates, children’s workshops and so on. Last year it was attended by the likes of Aamir Khan, Anoushka Shankar, Moni Mohsin and Fatima Bhutto. This year, expected bigwigs include William Dalrymple, Amitabh Bachchan, Bashrat Peer and Advaita Kala among others.

IIT Delhi

IIT Delhi’s ‘Rendezvous’ is among the largest cultural college festivals in Northern India with participation from over 400 colleges and attendance from over 30,000 students. Though all its events are equally thrilling, their rock show ‘Blitzkrieg’ definitely takes the cake with its eclectic performances.

IIT Kanpur

Antaragini is IIT Kanpur’s much talked about annual cultural fiesta. Watch out for their drama and music events which are a big hit among DU colleges. Apart from them, the other events like the fashion show, panel discussions, essay writing competitions, workshops etc. are also not to be missed. Once again, IIT Kanpur also hosts a brilliant rock show.

Old World Theatre festival

Another highly anticipated event, the Old World Theatre festival showcases the best of drama from across Delhi University. Last year, many plays from various colleges made it including ‘MacWho’ from Venky, ‘Line mein lago’ from KMC and ‘Accidental Death of an Anarchist’ from LSR. This is a must watch for all theatre addicts!

Let’s not forget our own college fests in the flurry of out-station events, shall we? Now, onto some of the notable DU fests!

Tarang, the LSR festival is one of the most energetic carnivals in DU. Competition levels here are pretty high with all the top colleges in and around the University vying for the coveted awards. The same can be said for Nexus, Sri Venkateswara College’s annual fest which draws a huge crowd every year. Last year saw performances by Euphoria and their own hugely popular college band – Fire Exit. Their play, “MacWho” was also a big hit. Crossroads, SRCC’s fest had a wide range of events ranging from the usual dramatics, music, debate competitions and such but also including adventure sports like zorbing and rafting. Performances by Advaita and Kay Kay were major crowd pullers too.

With all the fests being such roaring successes last year, we wonder what they have planned this time around. Going by their track record though, we’re sure they’ll surpass their own standards and surprise us again. Here’s to another great, exciting, fun-filled DU year!