The Play
The play Agnijatak concerns children who are the future citizens of the world and who happen to be the most marginalised beings as they are exposed to both emotional and physical threats. Being vulnerable and defenceless, they cannot fight the atrocities by adults. The play addresses the burning issues of the globe through allegory. Monika, the protagonist hears from her unborn child that no baby is to be born in this ghastly world anymore. The foetus disturbingly questions the mother about the atrocities taking place world-wide. Throughout the interaction between the mother and the unborn child we get to see this planet in a horrifying light. The play ends in an optimistic note where all hope is yet not lost.

Director’s Note
Through directing this play I found an opportunity to convey the disturbing thoughts that come to a thinking mind while observing the terrible degeneration of the world both by physical and metaphysical parameters. Since the play addresses the issues of atrocities, which is becoming a global phenomenon, I, on principle tried to give it a look which is not area, geo or locale specific. Only time is specific here because the acts captured in this play are very much contemporary. I worked with a big cast which is always challenging for a play which is organically intimate. Though this play has elements of an adult fairy tale, I intentionally crafted pieces of news highlighting the morbidities happening worldwide to transform this play from surreal to real, from soul to skin, from the world of fantasy to the burning realities.

Director & Playwright
Ishita Mukhopadhyay has scripted and directed over 20 plays for her own group Ushneek and other groups as well. She had been associated with Desh, a biweekly magazine as a theatre critic for 3 years. She also has written more than 15 plays which have been aired by all India Radio, also scripted and co- directed numerous programmes of Kolkata Doordarshan. She also showed her multi-direction talent while scripted and directed tele-serials for channel Zee (Hindi). In 1984, at the age of 20, she directed the play Ghar, an adaptation of Jean Paul Sartre’s The Room. She also performed as an actor under the direction of Salil Bandhopadyay, Sunil Das, Manoj Mitra, Aloke Ranjan Dasgupta, Wolfram Mehering and others. Ishita has received Uttam Kumar Award, Pramathesh Barua Award, All India Critics Award, All India Women Association Award, Kalaratan Award and many more.

The Group
Ushneek was formed in 1984, and has produced 10 full-length plays, five one-act plays, organized theatre
workshops and taken part in various theatre related activities. It has received A.I.C.C award, Pramathesh
Barua award, Uttam Kumar award and many more. Ushneek has participated in almost all major theatre
festivals and has conducted theatre workshops for mentally challenged children with NGOs. It has also
produced a workshop based production Raat Parider Rupkatha with sex workers of Kolkata. Ushneek is
regularly involved in different theatrical activities like organizing workshops, seminars, play reading
sessions and arranging lectures by eminent theatre personalities.

Cast & Credits

Monika Arpita Ghosh
Prof. Harishankar Mohanti Babu Duttaroy
Biman Gambhira Bhattacharjee
Deb Subhojit Bakshi
Bimbo Arko Sen
Chandrima Sanyal Hena Chatterjee
Doctor Debjit Bhattacharjee
News Reader Subhasish Mukherjee
Chorus Tuli Chatterjee, Chitra Dey, Sagarika Mondal,
Sukanya Chatterjee, Debjit Bhattacharjee, Rittik Patra,
Debasish Mukhopadhyay, Ayan Debnath
Child Artistes Sanchari Dutta, Arkendu Bhattacharjee, Souvik Das, Asmita Chatterjee, Arunika Dey
Set, Costume and Puppet Sudip Gupta
Music Goutam Ghosh
Light Dipankar Dey
Sound Operation Koushik Sajjan
Make-up Aloke Debnath
Script and Direction Ishita Mukhopadhyay


Manohar Khushalani

Manohar Khushalani

Prof. Manohar Khushalani is a former Visiting Faculty at Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi. The courses he taught were: Animation & Graphics, Non-Linear Editing for Film and Radio and Theatre Appreciation.  He has won a total of nine Excellence in Teaching awards for all the courses he has taught at IIITD Earlier he retired from Government of India as Director Environment Management, Central Water Commission and held many senior positions in the Government Based on a Belief that Culture and Environment are the two keys to global sustainability , Manohar Khushalani has launched two portals: A Portal on Environment and Water called One Vorld at url: and two Ezines on Culture called Stage Buzz at url: He has taught extensively in varied subjects such as Dam Safety, Instrumentation, CAD, IT, Animation, Theatre, Newspaper Editing. He has conducted Courses on Environment Management, Water Shed Development, Team Building and Personality Development. He was an Expert Member of Prasar Bharti’s Committee for Grading & Short listing Films for Telecast on all channels of Doordarshan.  He is a Radio Anchor for All India Radio and has moderated several programs for the Rajdhani Channel He is a well-known Theatre Actor/Director and Critic, has been involved in theatre since 1977. He has worked as an actor in over 50 plays with almost every leading director/Actor in the Country including Badal Sircar, Feisal Alkazi, Amal Allana, M.K. Raina, Anuradha Kapoor, Maya Rao, Manohar Singh, Prasanna, Rati Bartholomew and Sushmita Mukherji. He has been active in the social sector as a street theatre activist. As a member of Workshop Theatre, Theatre Union and Prayog, Khushalani has participated in street plays taking up major social issues such as dowry, bride burning, Sati, banned medicinal drugs and communalism. Dario Fo’s Accidental Death of an Anarchist and Can’t Pay Won’t Pay, both directed by him, received rave notices from critics and audiences alike. Other plays directed by him include Badal Sircar’s, Sagina Mahato and Boris Vian’s Empire Builders for Ruchika Theatre Group. Khushalani has also acted in a few films such as Sudhir Mishra's Hazaron Khwaishen Aisi , Shoojit Sircar’s Madras Café and Pradeep Krishan's Annie Gives Those Ones. He is an Animator & Graphics Designer and has directed a number of documentaries. He also held a number of Honorary positions and was President of North India Films Association, He was the Chairman of  Jury for UGC CEC Educational Films Competition and has been on their Preview Committee since last many years. He was on the preview committee of Door Darshan Channel 3, was a visiting Professor at National School of Drama, New Delhi, and Film & Television Institute of India, Pune, AJKMCRR, Jamia Milia Islamia and Professor in Media at FICT, Delhi  He has judged a large number of Drama Competitions and conducted a number of Theatre / Management Games Workshops with Institutions such as AIIMS, NTPC, CWPRS, NWA, Karve Nari Prakshishan Sansthan, FICT, IIT, MAMC, Gargi College, KNC, Tagore International School and Vivekananda School. He is a Theatre Critic for IIC Diary, has also been a Columnist with Midday and Pioneer Daily and wrote Column's Called Culture Cocktail and Footlights Respectively. He was also the Guest Editor for an issue on Folk Theatre of ICCR Journal Horizons. He has written for Times of Indian, Hindustan Times, Blitz, Hard News, Hindu Business Line, Theatre India & Art Times. He has designed dams and hydraulic structures for the Government. He is a programmer and has developed Engineering design software in Fortran. He is a co-author of Irrigation Practice & Design (Vol 1 to5 - 1500 pages) published by Oxford & IBH and sponsored by National Book Trust. He has been a Director, Environment and Sociology, at the National Water Academy, Khadakwasla and Director, Environment Management Directorate, Central Water Commission and Member Secretary, National Environmental Monitoring Committee for River Valley Projects. He was also Director of Instrumentation Directorate in the Dam Safety Organisation. He was Chief General Manager and Head of Water Resources at Scott Wilson and is an accredited consultant with numerous other organizations He is a Delhi Public School, BITS Pilani, IIT Delhi and FTI Pune Alumini. He was also the President of BITS Pilani Alumni Association, Pune.

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