Tughlaq, Then and Now
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Bhanu Bharti brings Girish Karnad's Tughlaq back to life in the ruins of Ferozshah Kotla
There was an uncommon commotion on Thursday evening at Ferozshah Kotla in Delhi. Giant theatrical sets were being hammered, people were running around fetching things and actors were getting ready to don their roles. Director Bhanu Bharti sat on a chair, taking it all in. After presenting Andha Yug last year, he's back at the Kotla ruins, directing Girish Karnad's magnum opus play, Tughlaq.
Pointing at a long ramp sort of a structure, Bharti explains, "We are trying to portray, physically, how the citizens and the Capital was transferred from Delhi to Daulatabad
for strategic reasons. This is where the citizens will walk from," he points out.
Among the hustle and bustle, Yashpal Sharma, who plays the character of Tughlaq in the play, walks in dressed in blue jeans and a shirt. Opening his laptop bag, he takes out a crumpled white kurta with rolled sleeves and wears it on top of his shirt. Taking out another long piece of cloth, he winds it tightly around his waist and fixes his hair. He
The play was also directed by Ebrahim Alkazi for the National School of Drama and staged at
Purana Quila in the '70s — a production still considered historic in contemporary theatre. Incidentally, Bharti also had a small role in that adaptation.
Drawing parallels from the current political and economic scenario, Bharti says, "The play will mirror the slow disenchantment felt with the so-called new politics and politicians in India, the gradual erosion of ethical norms, and the coming to terms with cynicism and real politics." The production, he says, though mostly in dialogue form and heavily relying on spoken word, has a certain poignant streak throughout.
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