Celebrating 150 years of the Mahatma | Manohar Khushalani


A review of the festival at IIC _ Gandhi Ki Dilli

Published earlier in IIC DIARY
Sanatan Sangeet Sanskriti’s, Words in the Garden, curated by Ashok Vajpeyi, is
an annual celebration of Literature, Arts and Ideas, of Delhi, this time as a
tribute to Gandhi, it was also capsuled as Bapu ki Dilli.


The event thus opened with a film directed by Shyam Benegal, The Making of
the Mahatma,
featuring Rajit Kapoor as Gandhi and Pallavi Joshi as Kasturba.at IIC
The film is based upon the book, The Apprenticeship of a Mahatma, by Fatima
Meer it relates to his 21 years in South Africa where he evolved and fine tuned
his Satyagraha Philosophy. For those who have not seen the 1996 film, it
reveals a different Gandhi and his attempt to come to terms with his
headstrong idealism, which sometimes set him on a path of confrontation even
with his wife. Pallavi, affectionately called, Kastur, by Gandhi etches out a
strong personality for Kasturba unlike the common perception of her being a
pliable person

On the same day we saw an unusual theatre exercise. Stay Yet a While, was a
play reading directed by M.K. Raina, inspired from an unusual and rare
collection of letters exchanged by Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore,
along with some essays by them, curated by Sabyasachi Bhattacharya. The
production retained the flavour of the text by keeping it simple, the content
was powerful enough to sustain the performance handled deftly by seasoned
actors; Avijit Dutt as Tagore and Oroon Das as Gandhi. Preeti Agarwal, the
debutant, was the narrator. Raina’s style of Direction is very original, he
chooses performers for their ability to think and analyse and not for their
histrionics. Also without imitating the body language of the protagonists, they
were able to bring out their larger than life personalities. The result was a
didactic presentation exploring the ideas of two philosophical giants.

Ras Chakra’s Har Qatra Toofan, directed by Vinod Kumar, was yet another play
reading in the series about Gandhi which. The idea was to demystify the
legend, through the eyes of women of his time. Thus the reading was made by
women actors from letters and essays by Sarojini Naidu, Mahadevi Verma,
Ismat Chughtai, Taj Sahiba Lahauri, Anne Mary Peterson, Ellen Horup and Ima
Tarlo. The inspiration for the collection came from the historian Ram Chandra
Guha’s path breaking writings, considered by critics to be the last word on the
subject; Gandhi before India and Gandhi: Years that Changed the World,
1914-48

Besides, the festival was also replete with discussions on topics and ideas
ranging from Sustainable Living, Sparrows to Gandhi’s favourite Bhajans and
even his nutritional philosophy expressed through a lunch curated by Pushpesh
Pant, with unfamiliar cuisine, like Bajre ki Khichri, Methi ke Theple and many
such minimalistic gourmet items

Manohar Khushalani

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.com and two Ezines on Culture called Stage Buzz at url: www.stagebuzz.org & 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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