New Delhi: Theatre personalities across the country today condemned the Assam government’s move to cancel a satirical drama on the Mahabharata in Guwahati following the VHP’s objection over the name of the play.
On 29 March, the Department of Cultural Affairs had cancelled the permission, given to Nagaon district’s Rangmahal group for the comedy Mahabharator Bhool (The Mahabharata’s Mistake), to be staged at Rabindra Bhawan in Guwahati.
“The state government should have given protection to the group. This should be fought in the court of law. All artistes together should file a petition to the state government that this cannot go on,” said renowned theatre personality and Bollywood actor MK Raina.
Expressing similar sentiments, Bhopal’s Naya Theatre President and daughter of Late Habib Tanvir, Nageen Tanvir said artistes have full freedom to express their views.
“Whatever has happened, is totally wrong. An artiste can interpret a subject in any way and the play is based on an epic that is public property. The play’s character Shakuni has done all wrong in the Mahabharata and because of him, the war between the brothers happened. So it is the Mahabharata’s mistake,” she said.
She also remembered Naya Theatre facing many protests, including violent ones too, from the right-wing forces for its Ponga Pandit, which was an anti-casteism play.
“VHP has no sense. Their mind is completely blocked,” Tanvir added.
Rajinder Nath, known for Hindi adaptation of Vijay Tendulkar’s Ghashiram Kotwal, said any form of “censorship is not at all welcome”.
Famous theatre activist and advocate for women’s uplift Jana Natya Manch’s Moloyashree Hashmi said the entire episode defies logic and curtails the space of dissent.