Anagha Deshpande’s Play: Ved Haran

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Playwright: Anagha Deshpande
Director: Saish Deshpande
Group: Abhivyaktee, Panaji
Language: Konkani & Marathi
Duration: 1 hr 15 mins

The Form
Kaalo is a popular folk-art of Goa, dedicated to the village deity and lord Vishnu. Traditionally it is performed in the mandap or matov, a roofed structure just outside the temple. Each character’s entry is announced by the Hardas through a melodious song. Kaalo is presented in two parts – Poorvarang (The first half) and the Uttararanga (the later part consisting of an episode from Puranas). The entire performance is supported by classical vocal music to the accompaniment of two Mridangas (now replaced with Pakhawaj) and a number of Jhanj i.e. cymbals.

The Play
Vedharan is a Kaalo that depicts the story of Shankasura stealing Vedas from Brahmadev. After stealing the Vedas, Shankasur comes back to his kingdom and makes his half-witted aides, Chimo and Poklo in-charge of the ‘Institute of Vedas’. This leads to a sense of discomfort and unrest amongst commoners while their political representatives struggle to use Vedas for their political gains. Shankasur annoyed with this development decides to meet his political Guru, Brihaspati, for a solution. Brihaspati informs him of the misuse of powers by his ministers and the adulteration of knowledge that is being done in the Asurnagari for selfish interests due to which Shankasur is fast losing support of his people.
The play ends with Lord Vishnu getting the Vedas back from Shankasur, and the artists singing the traditional hymn, thus expressing the hope that each one may get an access to education which is everyone’s right.

Director’s Note
Vedharan was conceived in a special theatre festival, Lok Rang, which involved research and production of plays based on Goan folk theatre styles. It was a dream project which helped us to seek and learn the possibilities of our traditional theatre form Kaalo. The word ‘kaalo’ in Konkani means a mixture of various items, and here it refers to the blend of various theatrical elements like dance, song, music and dialogue which are aptly used in this production to weave an impressive story of misuse of powers for political gains. Vedharan , while incorporating the elements of Kaalo, has been designed for the proscenium and utilises the benefits that the modern performing space offers. While maintaining the authenticity, like the elaborate Poorvarang, the presentation later takes freedom of the theatrical reality which I feel is a step towards exploring the form.
I am grateful to Shri Vinayak Khedekar and Pt. Ulhas Velingkar who guided us during the process.

The Director
Saish Deshpande, alumnus of Kala Academy’s School of Drama and founder member of Abhivyaktee-Panaji, has designed and directed more than 100 full-length plays since 1986, comprising of professional, semi-professional, traditional and experimental productions in Konkani, Marathi, Hindi, English and Sanskrit. He is a recipient of the National Award for Programme & Technical Excellence by Prasar Bharati, Govt of India.

The Playwright
A versatile theatre personality from Goa, Anagha Deshpande has written several plays in Marathi, Hindi, Konkani and English. Her recognized works include Teen Da, Swapnavasavadatta and Nagananda, Dashavatar Darshan and Face Off-line. Two of her plays Chitralekha and Vedharan have been published.

The Group
The cultural organization Abhivyaktee was formed in the year 1997 at Panaji by the alumnus of Kala Academy’s School of Drama. Its regular activities include theatre classes and workshops. Abhivyaktee designs and produces issue based plays and theatre festivals.

Cast and Credits
Shankasur Dnyaneshwar Govekar/Raghuvir Govekar
Hardas Sachin Naik
Mahabal Abhijit Ekawde
Chhota Bhataji Anish Deshpande
Chimo Saurabh Karkhanis
Poklo Gautam Gaude
Brahmadev & Brihaspati Raghoba Parab
Vishnu Sagar Haldonkar
Narad Shounak Deshpande
Piso Abhishek Dhawaskar /Rhutvik Sawant
Ganapati & Mahamantri Raghuvir Govekar/Dnyaneshwar Govekar
Saraswati & Nartaki Prerna Palekar
Maharani Priyanka Verekar
Mantri & Chorus Shambhavi Deshpande
Rhutvik Sawant, Abhishek Dhawaskar,
Anish Deshpande,Chaitra Deshbhandari,
Sriya Bandodkar, Manjusha Bandodkar

Vocals & Taal Varad Tari and Sachin Naik
Pakhawaj Mahanand Kawlekar, Abhijit Ekawde
Set Sandip Deshpande
Lights Vaibhav Naik
Costume Anagha Deshpande
Make-up Eknath Naik
Property Manjusha Bandodkar
Choreography Priyanka Verekar
Special thanks to Shri Vinayak Khedekar, Pt. Ulhas Velingkar,
Dr. Pramod Pathak, Prabhakar Sanskritik Sanstha, Caranzale

Script Anagha Deshpande
Music & Direction Saish Deshpande

Contacts
President, Abhivyaktee-Panaji
A/3, Kamdhenu
Dr D.V.Road, Panaji, Goa – 403001
M: +91 7350521204, 9422060265, 9422448494
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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