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Eidgah Ki Jinnat
(Hindi/Urdu, Duration 120 Min)
Group: Bhasha Centre for Performing Arts, Pvt Ltd, Banglore
Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur
About the Play
In Muslim legend, a djinn is a spirit often capable of assuming human or animal form and exercising supernatural influence over people.
Ashrafi and Bilal are orphaned siblings stranded and defined by the troubles in Kashmir. 18-year-old Bilal is the pride of the region, part of a teenage football team set for great heights, and pushed to the limits by the violence around them. Haunted by hope, his sister is caught in the past, and Bilal is torn between escaping the myths of war and the cycles of resistance. Interweaving true stories and testimonies with Islamic storytelling, the play paints a magical portrait of a generation of radicalised kids, and a beautiful landscape lost to conflict.
About the Group
Bhasha Centre is a Bengaluru-based theatre company founded and run by Abhishek Majumdar, Sandeep Shikhar and Vivek Madan.
While quality productions are a hallmark of the company’s offerings, Bhasha Centre also has a significant focus on training in the theatre and research into Dalit and Women’s studies.
About the Director
Abhishek Majumdar is a Bengaluru-based playwright, theatre director and educator. He is currently the artistic director of Bhasha Centre for Performing Arts, a company that produces work in Indian and other South Asian languages and has a focus on Gender Studies and Dalit Studies. He is best known for plays such as The Djinns of Eidgah and Pah-la – both of which have been staged in London – and Kaumudi, which continues to perform in India. Other plays he has written include Harlesden High Street, An Arrangement of Shoes, Afterlife of Birds and Rizwaan. His plays have been performed in Asia, Europe, Latin America, USA, and Canada.
He also teaches a playwriting course in NYU, Abu Dhabi. His course in NYU is featured in the Global Playwriting Handbook to be published in 2020 by Methuen Press, which lists exercises and ideas from some of the most diverse playwriting classes across drama schools and universities.
Majumdar has received the Charles Wallace Trust Fellowship, the Inlaks Scholarship, the Lispa Scholarship, and the Robert Bosch Arts Grant. He is a member of the Young Vic Director’s network, London and was at the Lincoln Center Director’s Lab in 2012.
Majumdar’s work has been translated to English, Hindi, Bangla, Marathi, and French; he writes in English, Hindi, and Bangla. He has been published by Oberon books, Bloomsbury and Palgrave.
‘Eidgah ke Jinnat’ (The Djinns of Eidgah), was long overdue. I had stalled my own directorial attempt at this play (the play has had several outings around the world in English) because ever since i can remember, i had wanted to make this play in Hindi/Urdu.
This production is a culmination of many years of thinking about this Hindustani translation. Textually, visually and performatively, several shapes change when a play moves from English to Hindustani. Language – and its functions – not only interprets words but also the distance a story is at from the context of its makers. The difference between “Allah hafiz” and “Khuda hafiz” for instance is further exacerbated when the play is in an Urdu speaking world as compared to an English world. The bodies of the characters, their pauses, their interaction with the space, the alignment of objects in the space… everything is deeply connected to the language of the play. As a writer i am always wary of translating my work myself but as a director, the translation in space interests me deeply.
Ultimately, the theatre in my view is a form of poetry. Every element of it has a purpose in time as it does in space. Theatre is verse in multimedia. It needs to be composed and constructed like poetry. It must at the same time emerge and be developed. It must be organic and yet technically sound. It must work with both the outer eye of meaning in society and the inner eye of meaning to self. This play about Kashmir, in Jaipur with a team comprising of cast and crew from around the country has allowed me to engage in the attempt to create this verse, in its totality. There is of course no measure of success at an attempt that an artist can give for oneself; however i do think it has been an absolute privilege to be part of this extraordinary pan-Indian team at the Jawahar Kala Kendra.
It is only together – and in unison – that the nuances of tragedy can be explored. War, like tragedy, has no one shade. Not only does it mean different things to different people but it also means different things to the same person at different moments. Subjectivity, like theatre, is something one experiences in parallel both as an individual and as a collective.
This double bind, this creation of meaning and experience of the one and the many, is as central to this production as it is to the story of Kashmir and of course to the act of performing tragedy in a world looking for a god of escape.
In the end, the meaning is multiplied when the audience arrives. For in our collective gaze, we go deeper into our individual fears, guilt and sense of loss. For ultimately, when we defend our positions, we must remember what stories have told us since time immemorial – that life in its finest moments is an act not in opposition to the event of mortality but irrevocably in defence of poetry.
21st January 2020 @ 4:00 pm
K T Mohamed Regional Theatre
Director: Abhishek Majumdar
Photo Credits: M D Pallavi
Cast & Credit
Written and Directed by Abhishek Majumdar
Translated from the English by Shirin Bismillah
A Bhasha Centre Production for Jawahar Kala Kendra
Associate Directors: Manzoor Ahmad Mir, Neel Sengupta
Costume Design: Pallavi Krishna
Sound Design: Nikhil Nagaraj
Lighting Design And Music: Rajesh Singh
Set Design: Sarika Pareek
Craft Work For Set And Props – Harish Kumar Panchal
Assistant Directors: Abhishek Mudgal, Mumal Tanwar
Assistant Stage Managers: Chelcy Pathak, Ishana Pareek
Direction Interns: Abhay Srivastava, Akshay Raheja, Sumit Kumar
Production Manager: Saatvika Kantamneni
Producer: Vivek Madan
Abhinav Bhal, Ajeet Singh Palawat, Ashwath Bhatt, Aqib Mirza, Bhanu Priya Bhatia, Chinmaya Madan, Divya Bhomia, Hitesh Kumar, Shreya Arora, Shubham Singh Bagri, Sudarshan Dadhich, Suresh Sharma/Avneesh Mishra, Vijay Patidar