Agarbatti by Ashish Pathak


The Play
In order to rehabilitate the widows of Behmai massacre, the government opened an incense stick factory. Until killing the jailed Bandit Queen of Chambal, Lala Ram Thakurain postpones the last rites of immersing the ashes of her husband. Damayanti initiates a discussion questioning why all those massacred were only men, and not women. Series of events, arguments, break- downs and imputing allusions lead them to the appalling truth that a convict committing the crime without participating in it is also a criminal. Lala Ram Thakurain mixes the ashes of her
husband in the incense stick powder as natural justice.

Director’s Note
This is not just a play for me but a relationship. It has my voice. Initially, I thought about the contemporary value of this play and came to the conclusion that it is a serious question on humanity, if caste, class and gender differences still exist in the 21 st century. This play has a serious discourse which reached a point that created a boiling turbulence felt by me during the process of the play. I consider this play as an extension of classic film ‘Bandit Queen’, although the questions and issues raised in the play go beyond that. It was painful going through Phoolan’s life, character and Behmai as an event, but it is even more painful to perform this play since it brings us to the situation where we are ashamed as human beings

The Director
Swati Dubey was born on 1 st February 1988 in Chhatarpur (Madhya Pradesh). She did her graduation in Microbiology and Journalism. She did MBA in Rural Management from Gujarat. She did a one-year diploma course in theatre from Madhya Pradesh School of Drama. In 2014 she got selected for three year diploma course in National School of Drama and specialized in Design and Direction. Presently she is doing theatre in her city Jabalpur

The Playwright
Ashish Pathak was born on 8 September in 1977 at Jabalpur (M.P.). He got involved in theatre during his college days. His knowledge of psychology, sciences and social issues sharpened his writing skills. His plays Popcorn, Red Frock and many more have gained lot of popularity. Ashish believes Drama is be the best weapon to oppose social evils, which not only makes his dramas entertaining but also gives them a conservative and developing platform to innovate more. He has also directed many plays like Vishkanya, The Dumb Dancer, Maaya, Pratiuttar, Vijaynagar, Agarbatti, Popcorn, Red Frock, Yugpurush-Abhipurush, Manusmriti, Sugandhi, Hayvadan, Azaadi ki Mahagatha, Chouraha, Ek Akeli Aurat, Daariyo Fo, Jaadu ka Suit, etc.

The Group

This play is being presented as a part of National School of Drama’s graduate showcase (class of 2017), which aims to provide a platform for emerging theatre practitioners, allowing them to share their work with a wide audience.

Cast and Credit
Thakurain : Rukmini Sircar
Suman : Aruja Srivastava
Kaushalya : Babi Baruah
Parvati : Shwetha Rani H. K.
Lajjo : Pallavi Jadho
Kalli  : Jina Baishya
Nanhi Bai : Goge Bam
Damyanti : Swati Dubey
Ramkali : Rachna Gupta
Sukkan Bai : Snehlata Tagde
Heera : Gagan Shrivatava
Sohan Singh : Bhupendra Singh Jadawat
Shivpal Lala : Aamir Mallick
Bansi Thakur : Vivek Emmaneni
Raghu Thakur : Niranjan Nath
Lala Ram Thakur : Manohar Pandey
Surjan Thakur : Baljit Singh
Set Execution : Rohit Jha
Light Operation : Susheel Mishra
Sound Operation : Pooja Vaidvikhyat
Voice-overs : Govind Namdev, Babi Baruah
Set, Light & Costume Design : Swati Dubey

Playwright : Ashish Pathak
Design & Direction : Swati Dubey

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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