Apu Bhardwaj’s SWABHAV Adaptation & Direction: Baharul Islam


Story: Apu Bhardwaj

Adaptation & Direction: Baharul Islam

Group: Seagull Theatre, Guwahati

Language: Hindi

Duration: 1 hr 20 minutes

The Play

Daya Phukan, a young photographer, lives in an old Assamese house. He is bored of his stress-free, simple and easy life. The kind of life he leads is getting intolerable for him. To bring a change and excitement in his life he decides to beat an old man. An unexplainable situation takes place, and he is sent to jail, gets fired from his job and thrown out of his rented house. But as always, he manages everything and begins a simple and monotonous life once again. Once again he is confused and upset with his life and wishes for a life with fun and excitement…

Director’s Note

After graduation in Acting (1990) from National School of Drama, I came back to Assam and started doing theatre regularly. I prefer simple presentations with meaningful expression and theatrical aesthetics. I refrain from the execution of a play with a huge back drop, but I enjoy carrying out tiny details of a small situation from modern life. It gives me pleasure in discovering masks, dilemmas, dreams, conflicts, love and unhappiness of the human being.

In this play I have tried to blend two stories by a young writer Apu Bhardwaj. The protagonist is a successful young man with a job, money and social status, but is discontented for no reason. He wants a change in his mundane life. He is isolated from his family, lives in a metro city, enjoys internet more than obeying his grandmother’s advice and religious rituals.

The play is an analytical depiction of a human being’s desire, void, frustration and the reality. 

The Director & Adapter

Born in Rangjuli, Assam, Baharul Islam is a film and theatre actor, and theatre director. He graduated in acting from National School of Drama, New Delhi in 1990 and thereafter formed his own theatre group, Seagull in Guwahati, Assam in the same year. He joined Tara Art, London in 1992-93 for the production of the play Heer Ranjha and directed a short film Rani Gaidenleu in 1997, produced by Girish Karnad for Doordarshan Kendra, New Delhi. He worked as a coordinator in the film Dil Se (Directed by Mani Rathnam), and directed the film Rodor Sithi (Scare Crow) in 2014 which received many awards including the Best Foreign Film award in the Canada International Film Festival in 2015. He has acted in feature films, some TV serials, Tele films and 80 plays. He has designed and directed almost 30 plays for Seagull; plays for NSD Repertory, New Delhi; Ninasam Repertory, Karnataka; Rangayana, Mysore; Banjara Theatre, Mumbai and for many commercial theatres in Assam.

The Story Writer

Apu Bhardwaj was born in 1980 at Jorhat, Assam. He is a writer, journalist and sub editor of Satsari Magazine. He is a recipient of Chandraprasad Saikia Memorial Award and Munin Borkotoki Award. His works have been adapted in various languages.

The Group

Seagull was established in 1990 in Guwahati by a few young and dedicated theatre activists, including some graduates from NSD. It runs a theatre academy and conducts a one-year training course under NSD Drama Extension Programme. It has its own infrastructure including an open air theatre, studio theatre, rehearsal hall, class rooms and a library, and various wings, each responsible for diverse activities and functions like theatre-in-education, publication, organizing theatre festivals, working for spastic children in association with Sishu Sarothi, conducting theatre workshops for children and youth, and the Seagull Repertory company. The troupe has participated in various national and international theatre festivals.

Cast & Credits

On Stage: Baharul Islam, Dibosh Baruah, Partha Bordoloi, Safdar Arif Ahmed, Prasanta Kalita, Kunal Sarma, Arup Deka, Megha, Prarthana Sharma, Meghali Kalita, Neeha Mullah, Ompratim Gogoi,Saibal Krishna Sharma, Nirmali Sharma 

Music Design: Birinchi Kumar Gogoi

Light Designing: Rajiv Medhi

Story Writer: Apu Bhardwaj

Script, Design & Direction: Baharul Islam


Watch Meet the Director for this play

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: www.onevorld.org and two Ezines on Culture called Stage Buzz at url: www.stagebuzz.in 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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