James Graham’s PRIVACY Director: Ajay Khatri


Playwright: James Graham

Director: Ajay Khatri

Group: N.S.D. Diploma Production, New Delhi

Language: Hindi

Duration: 1 hr

The Play

The play Privacy is a story of a writer who is hiding all these years in her shell. She’s afraid of coming out in public and the social media. Heartbroken and after having a deep interaction with a psychoanalyst, she is determined to take on the world. She wants to write a play, meet new people, interact and experience their lives. Through the process of meeting she is introduced to the social media and technologies and learns how they are involved in surveillance. She unveils and reveals herself to society and ends up meeting someone similar.

Director’s Note

During my training in Direction at National School of Drama I tried exploring a new language of theatre in the contemporary world. Since past few years, I have been fascinated with technology, media and re-invention in theatre. In this era of globalization, I strive to locate a language that is mutually complementary to masses – as viewers and we as artists.

My interest in privacy and surveillance dates back to graduation days. Initially, social media always intrigued me instigating thoughts to question the way it interfered with our lives. I have extracted the recollections of collective impressions made on me in all these years in the play – Privacy.

This adaptation of the play involves gender inequality and how our society reacts to privacy and surveillance predominantly, of females begins from birth, continue into her teens till she matures. Then her next ‘milestone’ is when she belongs to the watchful eyes of her husband’s family. The unstated social activities and other social elements intrude and lay claim on her life. Through this narrative / performance, we try to express and understand how a hitherto unknown woman protects her privacy from being waylaid by agents of society. Though it is strange and difficult for anybody to firstly realize and then accept that there are now new weapons and systems being engaged to trap, track and control targets especially those considered disruptive by society which is also the State.  Our social, economic and political leanings are trapped by and handcuffed in a technologically – driven society. Surveillance is meant to intrude upon and deny privacy- a person struggles for his personal expression and existence amidst it’s, all pervasive and overpowering presence in our lives.

Violence erupts and flourishes to stop or counter state sponsored hostility. The State wields a powerful backup or ‘in the wings’, weapon of sophisticated technology-driven surveillance; destroying and disrupting natural human passages of vent: behavior, emotions, social, work, family or relationships. When an individual’s surveillance is used unopposed against his/ her/ or their own will.

The Director

Ajay Khatri is a graduate from National School of Drama. He is instrumental in guiding theater workshops and instilling these with creative energy befitting young independent theatre aspirants and groups, school, colleges and NGOs. Starting his journey in 2005 as director he presented: Surya Ki Antim Kiran Se Surya Ki Pehli Kiran Tak, Yayati, Illa, Komal Gandhar. He has worked and designed lights in national projects such as Othello, Comedy of Terrors, and Arjun Partigya among other experimental exploratory pieces include: Saturday Night and Privacy.

The Playwright

James Graham (born 1982) is a British playwright, television writer and actor. His work has been staged throughout the UK, at theatres including the Bush, Soho Theatre, Clwyd Theatr Cymru and the National Theatre. He was discovered by, and has been a playwright – in – residence at, the Finborough Theatre.

He wrote the script for the film X+Y, which premiered in 2015. He has written The Culture, This House, Labour of Love, Little Madam,  The Whiskey Taster, The Vote, Finding Neverland, The Men and Sixty – Six Books among several others. His play Privacy had its world premiere at the Donmar Warehouse, London.

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

On Stage: Meenakshi Thapa, Sanjeev Jaiswal, Rachna Gupta, Debashree Chakrabarty, Bhagyashree Tarke Rahul Kumar, Jayanta Rabha, Parag Barouah, Sayan, Shruti

Technical Team: Vishala Mahale, Saras

Lights: Sarthak

Animation: Priyansh

Music: Daood Husain, Vikesh Bisth, Sachin Rohilla, Mahadev Singh Lakhawat, Devika

Story: James Graham

Dramaturge: Ajay Khatri

Translation: Meenakshi Thapa

Adaptation, Design & Direction: Ajay Khatri

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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