Mannu Bhandari’s Play: Mahabhoj

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Playwright: Mannu Bhandari
Translator: Viplob Pratik
Director: Anup Baral
Group: Mandala Theatre, Nepal
Language: Nepali
Duration: 2 hrs 20 mins

The Play
Mannu Bhandari tells a story of how politics, press and police are connected with each other, and how the vulnerable voiceless people are caged in a ‘chakravyuha’. She has scripted this play from her popular novel Mahabhoj. The news of a death in the village and violent activities happening around, spread to the city, influencing the media and setting fire in the centre of politics and police force. Will that fire calm down or become a burning coal of questions?

Director’s Note
The picture of social and political conflicts experienced by the society should be reflected on the canvas of theatre in a lively way. This is my trust, and that trust has stimulated me to choose Mahabhoj. Politics is one of the finest practices in governance. But, if it is guided by corrupt thoughts, its nexus leads the society towards a weak state. Mahabhoj is the mirror of that corrupt nexus.
This is my ensemble with three generations of artists which I believe has created a new dynamics. I have tried to explore the painting techniques of renaissance period in this play. Chiaroscuro and Sfumato have been used in light design. I wanted to retell the story of Mahabhoj as if we are seeing contemporary events in a historical time frame. Almost monochromatic costumes, sets and props used in the play are a conscious choice.

The Director
Anup Baral is a renowned theatre director, actor and concept artist from Nepal. He has a master’s degree in acting from the National School of Drama, New Delhi, India. During his two decade long journey, he has directed and conceptualized more than three dozen plays and performed as an actor too. His strong presence in Nepali theatre has been a source of inspiration for theatre lovers, theatre activists and practitioners.

The Playwright
Mannu Bhandari is an Indian author, known for her Hindi novels, Aapka Bunty and Mahabhoj. Bhandari’s works reflect the changing moods of the society, as they shape her writing and subject matter. Modernism, prevailing social issues and transformations, contemporary social situations, daily struggles of an individual have all played a part in impacting and influencing Bhandari’s works.

The Group
Mandala Theatre, Nepal is a group committed to develop and practice a creative style that is strongly based on Nepali theatre and culture, as well as deeply rooted in its desire to be a strong and aesthetic voice for social justice, political awareness and human rights. It owns a theatre centre in Anamnagar, Kathmandu where regular theatre shows are staged.

Cast & Credit
Atal Singh                                 Dayahang Rai / Buddhi Tamang
Ramesh Bikram                        Ramesh Budhathoki
Bisu                                           Rajan Khatiwada
Rita Chamling                            Sirjana Subba
Rishikesh                                   Viplob Pratik
Sijapati                                       Bijay Baral
Bhawani Giri                              Som Nath Khanal
Juddhabir                                  Pradip Kumar Chaudhary
ASI D K Singh                           Bikash Joshi
Sonam                                       Umesh Tamang
Dinesh Babu Panta                   Shekhar Chapagain
Katuwal                                     Ghanashyam Joshi
Sapana/Villager                        Sapana Chaudhary
Jamuna                                     Sushma Niraula
Gauri/DIG’s Wife                       Pramila Khanal
Rushma                                    Ranjana Oli
Head Constable/Villager          Sagar Dahal
Tirthe Kailo/Villager                   Arjesh Regmi
Jogeshwar/Villager                   Sabin Ghalan
Binod                                         Milan Karki
DIG                                           Raj Neupane
Shambhu/Villager                      C K Bista
Hira/Villager                               Devin Chaudhary
Mohan Singh/Villager                Kabiraj Rai
Mahesh                                      Sandeep Shrestha
Narayan/Villager                         Rijan Pariyar

Music Director                            Utsav Budhathoki
Sound Craft                                Dev Neupane
Sound Operator                          Chhejing Bhotia
Light Designer                            Umesh Tamang
Light Operator                            Vijaya Karki
Multimedia Operator                   Sachin Lama
Choreography                            Deeya Maskey
Set Designer                               Bimal Subedi
Set Constructers                         Hum B C/Johnen Kshetri
Set Painting                                Bikash Tamakhu/Sanisa Makaju
Costume Designer                     Arpana Nagarkoti/Sunu Rai
Poster Sketch                             Anamika Gautam
Graphic Designer                       Siddhanta Pudasaini
Photographer                             Nabin Babu Gurung
Videography                              Foto Crystal
Social Media                             Sagar Prasain
Box Office                                  Nabina Aryal
Finance                                      Govind Parajuli/Santosh Ghimire
Backstage Volunteers               Abhishek Sharma/Deenju Karki/Sanjay Gupta
Stage Manager                         Bijay Baral/Rijan Pariyar
Production Designer                 Dev Neupane
Assistant Director                     Som Nath Khanal
Script Translator/Lyrics                Viplob Pratik

Playwright                                    Mannu Bhandari
Director                                         Anup Baral

Contacts
Director, Mandala Theatre
Anamnagar-32, Kathmandu
Nepal- 044600
M: +977 15705761, 9849296461
E: [email protected]

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Manohar Khushalani

Prof. Manohar Khushalani is Currently a Visiting Faculty at Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi. The courses he teaches are: Animation & Graphics, Non-Linear Editing for Film and Radio and Theatre Appreciation.  He has won Excellence in Teaching awards for all the courses he has taught at IIITD 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 & www.stagebuzz.info 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 is 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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