Vasant Kanetkar’s RAKTBEEJ Adaptation & Direction: Pooja Vedvikhyat


Playwright: Vasant Kanetkar
Adaptation & Direction: Pooja Vedvikhyat
Group: N.S.D. Diploma Production, New Delhi
Language: Hindi
Duration: 1 hr. 20 mins

The Play

Raktbeej is an adaptation of a famous Marathi play, Ithe Oshalala Mrutyu. It tells a story about war between two of the most powerful empires in 17thcentury, that of Marathas led by Chatrapati Sambhaji and Mughals by Alamgir Aurangzeb. The play has a complex web of characters including Yesubai the dutiful wife and queen, Kavi Kalash an ardent friend, Ganoji Shirke the devious sardar but a loving and doting brother of Yesubai and Asad Khan the devoted and loyal uncle of Aurangzeb. The play draws upon a mental canvas of conflicts between both Sambhaji and Aurangzeb as Kings fighting contradictions in personal and political battlefields.

Director’s Note

I wanted to explore the relevance of history in our contemporary socio – political scenarios. This play is not just a representation of a historic event, but dwells deep into complex psychological realities of those characters vividly. Although at a glance it seems like a historical narrative – of two kings and their kingdoms but its personages enact a complex web of human behavior.
Raktbeej is a story that explores varied perspectives of human personas than those just as – larger – than – life characters recorded in the annals of history. It also draws multiple facets of their natures and varied shades of their character. I approached the play through this dual purpose of having stood by an authentic historical narrative while exploring its nuance and niche.

The Director

Pooja Vedvikhyat is a Performer, Director and Designer who places her work in new spirit of emerging theater and relates it to contemporary issues. She graduated from National School of Drama 2018 while completing a course from DUENDE School of Ensemble Physical Theater under the guidance of director, John Britton. She directs plays of varied nature and flavor like: Kus Badaltana and Andher Nagri Chaupat Raja. Her forte is history and family dramas.

The Playwright

Vasant Shankar Kanetkar (20 March 1920 – 31 January 2000) was a Marathi playwright and novelist. He was born in the town of Rahimatpur in Satara district, Maharashtra, India.
After passing M.A. exam in 1948 from Sangli, he joined as lecturer in Nashik in 1950. He received wide acclaim from audiences for his play, Raigadala Jewha Jag Yete and continued writing several successful renderings for the stage. He kept the Marathi commercial theatre vibrant and alive for more than two decades with several successful stage renderings. His best five plays received awards of the year by Maharashtra State Government.

The Group

This play is being presented as a part of National School of Drama’s graduate showcase (class of 2018), which aims to provide a platform for emerging theatre practitioners, allowing them to share their work with a wider audience.

Cast & Credits

Yesubai: Pallavi Jadhao
Sambhaji: Prasanna Hambarde
Kavi Kalash: Sanjeev Jaiswal
Aurangzeb: Punsilemba Maitai
Asadkhan: Ankur Saxena
Pralhad Niraji: Salim Mulla
Ganoji Shirke: Guneet Singh
Rakshak: Ajay Khatri, Nikhil Pandey, Jayant Rabha, Ravindra Garewal, Abhishek, Tanay, Abhishek, Azim Mirza
Shahir: Snehalata Tagde, Deeksha Tiwari

Set Design: Pooja Vedvikhyat.
Sound Design & Execution: Aniruddha Bhoodhar, Vatary Bhoopati, Sham Rastogi, Akash Gupta, Nikhil Pandey
Costume& Headgear: Aruja Srivastava, Bhagyashree Tarke
Costume Assistance: Nishigandha Ghanekar
Light Design: Saras Kumar, Gaurav Sharma
Poster Design: Ujjwal Kumar, Adwait Morey

Playwright: Vasant Kanetkar
Adaptation, Design & Direction: Pooja Vedvikhyat

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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1 Response

  1. Avatar Prakash Bhatia says:

    Have have not seen this play but the title made me curious.As far as my knowledge goes Raktbeej was written by Shanker Shesh but here I come to know of another play with same title.

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