Production of one actress two-act play
(Gandhari among 100 jugs)

The scene is set with the Queen Gandhari with a piece of cloth tied to her eyes, among 100 earthen jugs each containing ghee with a piece of garbhhpind, divided by the Rishi Vyas, promising birth of a son in each jug after a stipulated period. Gandhari had pushed out forcibly this garbhpinda from her womb, when she heard the news of the birth of Yudhisthir to Kunta in the jungle.

Her wait among the 100 jugs is too long. It takes two years for her first son Duryodhana to come out.

In between this, she is often visited by Dhrutrashtra, Bhishma, Vidura, Vyas Rishi, Kachchhapi (Vidur’s mother and Chief Maid to the Palace), and many others. They never appear physically on the stage. Gandhari talks to them in the aakashbhasit manner of speech.

This allows the total story of past and future unfolded before the audience. The story is based on Mahabharata where references to effect are given, that out of great ambition, vainglory and vengence she spent 2 years among 100 jugs, containing ghee. She wanted her first son to be born before Yudhisthira, so that she could become the Queen Mother when he came to power after her husband.

At this time of history, Shri Krishna was not on the scene in Mahabharata. The role of a wise, visionary person is played by Gandhari’s brother-in-law Vidura and his mother Katchchhapi. Vidura is also the son of Rishi Vyas, who had promised 100 sons to Gandhari.
Thus the 100 jugs, and Gandhari among them, becomes a great theatrical scene, with her eyes blind with vengence and ambition. Probably, the only reason why 100 sons of Gandhari always hated Pandavas.

During this time of 2 years, Gandhari, being away from Dhrutarashtra, is also told about his relations with another Palace woman Vidula and her conceiving pregnancy by Dhrutarashtra. This infidility of her husband also disturbs Gandhari.
In the end two things happen :
Gandhari is brought news about the birth of Bhima, second son to Kunta in the jungle, and simultaneously there is a birth cry of the child Duryodhana in one of the jugs.

This is accompanied with the noise of Mahabharata war and thus the future family calamity is experienced by Gandhari, with heartfelt regret and remorce.

The entire play of one and a half hour duration with Gandhari as a lone character among 100 jugs on the stage, with appropriate background musical score, lighting and sound effects will be performed.

Director:Janak Raval, Actor: Manvita Baradi


“Shakar” - two-act play
(All want a prostitute!)

After having seen the play ‘Mruchchhkatikam’ played in three-four different ways, a manifold-incarnation image of the character of Shakaar took form in my mind. I imagined him calling shots, making the whole world dance he and; himself, in his original role, dancing to the tune of songs and music. Today, we have countless Shakaars around us. And that’s why, Shakaar always dances as the king’s brother-in-law, the queen’s brother in a revolving chair.

During ‘Ahmedabad Radio Drama Festival, 1990’. I presented the play ‘Shakaar’ which was performed on 10th June. In the play, actor Bhim Vakani did a unique role. Shri Vakani had done the same role in the Jashwant Thaker’s production of ‘Mrichchhakatikam’ also. After that Vakani himself, on February 20, 1995 performed the stage version of it at the Visual Art Centre, Ahmedabad.

On 18/19 March, 1995 under the able direction of Janak Dave, Jaykrishna Rathod did this role renamed ‘Shakaar Mahaavataar’ (Shakaar, the great in-carnation) at Natrani Theatre of Darpan, with live songs and music. ‘Awards, Greatness Awards !’ They are all annuities poor !’ sharp sarcastic words of Jaykrishna still linger in the air.

When Natrani was yet being built, that was its very first show. Shri Janak Dave had nicely constructed its songs and dancing parts. Therein the most noticeable tune was ‘All want one prostitute each !’ Janak Rawal, Vijaya Desai, Rohit Panchal, Abhigna Mehta, Swati, Shinzini, Sejal etc. created a wonderful atmosphere in the performance. Costume design was handled by Manvita Baradi.

Hindi translation of the drama ‘Shakaar Mahaavtaar’ by Shushila Joshi was first presented by Shri Laique Hussain, the director of the “The Performers”of Udaipur, on June 3, 1995. In the play, the roles of Shakaar by Deepak Dixit and that of ‘Shwetpadma’ by Smt. Anookampa were really noteworthy. After that Laique Hussain has done about a dozen presentations of the play under the auspicies of Paschim Kshetra Sanskrutik Kendra (West Zone Cultural Centre), Udaipur. including at the National Drama Festival, organized by Nandikar of Calcutta, Smt.Mangibai and Shri Gopal Gandherv had composed ear-pleasing tunes.

Director : Janak Dave, Lead Roles : Jaykrishna Rathod, Janak Raval


Jashumati Kankuwati
A two-act play in verse

A A two-act original play written in Gujarati on the theme of human exploitation and their fight against the various forces of family, society, religion and political system.

It is a stylized play, written in VANVELI meter, (a free blank verse in Gujarati), in which rhymes and folk tunes are freely used.
It is story of a woman, from her early childhood to the adulthood, the societal forces casting her in typical roles to which she reacts and fights back; but the chorus of social forces, make her a ‘deity’, and establish her in a temple, which is an industry for the politico-social forces to further exploit her.

In the II act, this exploitation of women (in larger context, the humans) is ‘corporatised’, and a huge industry is established; women are now ‘employed’ to become a ‘deity’. For the methods of exploitation now, latest technology like TV, computers, satellites, is used. Then, there is final confrontation between both generations of the ‘exploited’ and the ‘exploiters’.

The theme is most contemporary, with well-delineated characters and story line, appealing to the audience.
Here three kinds of choruses are used - chorus of actors, characters, and forces. They act both as chorus and anti-chorus.

Similarly, the verse is also used very innovatively and it helps in the stylization of moving space and time.

The play, original in Gujarati, is considered a landmark in verse-plays- it was once produced by Darpana Academy, Ahmedabad in 1982, (Directed by Kailash Pandya).

Director: Janak Raval, Manvita Baradi,
Lead Roles :
Manvita Baradi, Shinjini Raval


(Two-act play)

The story revolves around three characters Kandrp, Manda and Parul. Due to family circumstances Kandrp and Manda could not marry but they agreed that Kandrp would spend one day in a month with Manda, while Kandrp will spend twenty nine days with his wife. Manda also pushes Kandrp, much to his resistance, to give a child to Parul.

Parul soon realises that after the visit to Manda for a day Kandrp is tense atleast for next 3-4 days. One day she decides to visit Manda and clarify the matter and ask her what she would have done in her position. Both allege each other of exploitation and manipulation. However, in the changed circumstances, Kandrp proposes to Manda that we will now live together all the thirty days of the month, and he would divorce Parul. However when Manda and Kandrp start living together, they disagree on many points, and Manda asks Kandrp to leave her alone.

The design of the play is such that the above story is being rehearsed by an actor, an actress and the lady Director, who, since the casting is not done, plays the role of wife.The play has not been fully scripted by the author, and hence the director asks the actor and actress to improvise certain scenes.

This leads to intense discussions between all three actors about the characters they play and their professional view points about women’s position in society are expressed.

This also leads to the unfolding of the life - story of the actress who plays the role of Manda. She finds parallels between her life, and her character, she is portraying.

At the end of the play, she decides to leave the assignment.

There are three sections in a stage marking three areas - Manda’s bed-room on the left, rehearsal place in the centre, and Parul’s drawing room on the right.

Playfully the characters move from one area to another, create mobile and action of intense characters, transferring roles from one to another, and humourously commenting on the play, to bring out the crux of the play that “life can’t be lived all over again.”

Director : Janak Raval
Actors :
Vijay Desai, Janak Raval, Manvita Baradi


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