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Mahabharata: a fresh look

 

The stage is once again set for one of India’s most prominent theatre directors, Arvind Gaur, and for Sydney’s talented actor, Aishveryaa Nidhi.

 

The actor-director team, last year, took Sydneysiders by a storm with their play Gandhari. A 60-minute monologue, Gandhari featured Sydney-based Ms Nidhi in the title role and received rave reviews from the local media.

 

Now Mr Gaur, of the famous Indian theatre group, Asmita, is coming to Sydney again. And in tune with Indian traditions and culture, he’s directing yet another play based on the great Indian mythological epic, Mahabharata.

 

“As part of the recently launched Abhinay Theatre group, we are very proud to present our next play Kuntiputra Karna,” says Ms Nidhi who has also made forays into Hollywood. “As the name suggests, it’s based on the life and times of Karna – the son of Kunti. His character in Mahabharata is at once intense and tragic. And it’s a character, which I am sure, is very close to every mother’s heart too,” add Ms Nidhi.

 

The play will be staged at Marana Auditorium, in Hurstville, on August 12. Playing the role of Karna in the play is Ms Nidhi’s 14-year-old son Shourya. “I first worked with Shourya when he was four-years old,” says Delhi-based director Mr Gaur. “He had come to one of my workshops and at first sight I knew he had a spark,” he says.

 

Mr Gaur speaks very fondly of his experience in Sydney last year. “We staged our play Gandhari at NIDA Auditorium – one of the most respected venues in the city. And we received a tremendous response from the audience, who expressed a keen desire to see more plays of this kind. And Kuntiputra Karna is just another step in that direction,” says Mr Gaur.

 

“There were also some people who expressed their desire to be part of a play,” informs Ms Nidhi. “And that’s why we are not only inviting people to watch our play, we are also inviting people from all walks of life, who are interested in being stage actors, to come and fulfill their dreams,” she adds.

 

As part of Abhinay Theatre’s 2006 programme, Ms Nidhi is organising theatre workshops from July 16. To be conducted by Mr Gaur, it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for people living in Sydney to learn how to act on stage from one of the most talented directors of India.

 

“It’s a four-week acting course which takes aspiring actors through various aspects of film and stage acting. It gives insights on diction, dialogue-delivery, voice modulation and body language,” informs Ms Nidhi.

 

But the best is yet to come. A few talented actors, participating in the workshop, will be hand-picked and will be selected to perform an Arvind Gaur-directed play Hamare Padosi, to be staged on the same day as Kuntiputra Karna – August 12, at Marana Auditorium, in Hurstville.

 

“The workshop will be a place for participants to learn the basic of acting,” says Ms Nidhi. “During the workshop, every participant will be trained thoroughly by Mr Gaur. And the most talented participants will be given roles in Mr Gaur’s play Hamare Padosi. If participants have background in acting, that’s good. But we are looking for raw, fresh talent. So we welcome people who have never acted before. The only prerequisite is that you must have a strong desire to act and perform on stage an should be dedicated to pursue this form of performing arts,” adds Ms Nidhi who, along with Mr Gaur, will be auditioning people for the workshop.

 

Talking about Hamare Padosi, Mr Gaur says: “The play is a set of seven interesting stories written by Anton Chekhov. It’s an Indian adaptation of some of Chekhov’s famous short stories. Each story depicts a different slice of life, and yet there a point when all the stories come together and complete a larger fabric of life.”

 

According to Ms Nidhi, “It’s a very well-conceived play. It not only brings seven different stories together, but is also a point where East meets West.”

 

 

 

 

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