Monday, November 23, 2009

Prerna Kala Manch (PKM) sets a new world record by staging marathon plays for over 33 hours

By Hira Chettri

Kalimnews (with additional inputs from Times of India): Breaking the world record for longest play, the artistes of Prerna Kala Manch (PKM) succeeded in setting a new world record by staging a series of marathon plays for over 33 hours at Nagari Natak Mandali Auditorium, Varanasi on Sunday evening.

It may be recalled that `The Warp', written by Neil Oram and directed by Ken Campbell is listed in the Guiness Book of Records as the longest play of the world. It was written as a series of 10 plays but performed in one continuous marathon. In this play that was staged in UK in late '80s, around 30 artistes lived about a hundred characters in 29 hours.

The PKM artistes including Bhola Singh Rathore, Vivek Gupta, Harish Pal, Ajay Roshan, Mukesh Jhanjharwala, Dr Awanish Dwivedi, Aslam Azad, Ajay Thapa and Dhan Ratan Yadav, staged 37 plays in a series that took a time of 33.5 hours to complete under the direction of Moti Lal. Their only musician and singer Deepak Pandey performed without a break. Though some of these artistes suffered from cold-cough, throat irritation, backache and itching of the eye, they never let it stop them in their goal and a team of seven doctors monitored their health condition continuously.

More surprising was the presence of audience to watch this marathon event. More than 50 theatre lovers enjoyed the event the entire night while in the day and evening hours, maximum seats of this auditorium remained occupied. The atmosphere became jubilant with the beginning of 34th play `Ek Aur Ek' as with it the earlier record of 29 hours was broken. Father Pranoy of Vishwa Jyoti Jansanchar Samiti, the organiser of the event, said: "We are proud to have given a record breaking performance in Varanasi."

The series of marathon plays started at 11.02 am on Saturday with Amanat, based on communal harmony. All the plays touched social and various other issues like 'Dunia ka Mela' based on fellowship and love. The artistes raised the issue of corruption with their play 'Gandhi Ne Kaha'. Followed by 'Bure Kaam ka Bura Natija' (on the issue of superstition), 'Maiku' (alcoholism), 'Hai Re Pani' (natural resource), 'Parivartanam' (conversion), 'Sayit Sagun' (untouchability), 'Panch Parmeshwar' (Panchayati Raj), 'Sapna Sajal Ba' (self-rule), 'Kala Badal' (environment), 'Kya Kare Kya Na Kare' (pre-natal care), 'Jab Jago Tabhi Savera' (education and development) and 'Daud Daud Daud' (globalisation).

Two plays 'Do Boond Zindagi Ki' and 'Pyar Ki Chhaya' that were staged after mid-night were based on health issues. The artistes raised the issue of National Rural Employment Guarantee Act with a play `Sathi Hath Badhana'. 'Raja Nahi Seva Chahi' (Panchayati Raj) and 'Ghoos Ko Ghusa' (right to information) continued till wee hours. These plays were followed by 'Lagan' (based on the theme of education), 'Sui-Pani' (health), 'Kal Ka Samrat' (child labour), 'Dal-Dal Par Jaan' (environment), 'Punarmilan' (youth problems), 'Bolte Kyun Nahi' (duties of citizens), 'Satyapath' (fight against corruption), 'Asli Dhan' (consequences of greed), 'Badhiye Aur Bhadhaiye' (girls education) and 'Girohband' (politics).

Despite completing 24 hours of continuous performance the artistes kept the audience entertaining as loud applause could be heard when 'Kafan', based on the issue of Dalit development and story of Munshi Premchand was performed. It was followed by two plays on the theme of communal harmony `Hinsa Parmo Dharma' and `Purvagrah'. Importance of girl education was highlighted again with the plays `Kamla Ka Kamal' and with the beginning of `Ek Aur Ek' these artistes left the record of over 29 hours marathon plays by British artistes behind.

Their effort to set a new milestone started with `Bhagwan ki Den' (based on the issue of family welfare). The last two plays Sava Ser Gehu based on the issue of bonded labourers and 'Prem Ki Boli' on the issue of fellowship and love not only helped making the conclusion of marathon plays memorable but artistes also made audience emotional with their performances.

The opening ceremony of this historical event was witnessed by C.K. Shresthan, Natyabhushan, a reputed name of the Indian Gorkha theatre as chief guest in presence of other prominent theatre personalities of India. Swami Anil Dev, Father Aanand, S.S. Ganguly, Dr. Anand Tiwari, Chairman, Pragatishil Lekhak Manch, Father Subash were other guests in the occasion. While addressing packed audiences in the hall, Shrestha thanked the organiser of the event for inviting him and stated that this was a recognition to the Indian Gorkha theatre. He claimed that this would definitely add more energy to the theatre groups in Darjeeling hills and other parts of India where the Nepali speaking Gorkhas are engaged in theatrical works.