Vasant Kanetkar’s Play: Jaag Utha hai Raigad


Playwright: Vasant Kanetkar
Translator: Vasant Deo
Director: Abhijeet Choudhary
Group: Swatantra Kala Group, Pune
Language: Hindi
Duration: 2 hrs 10 mins

The Play
Jaag Utha Hai Raigad is a Hindi translation of Vasant Kanetkar’s Marathi play Raigadala Jevha Jaag Yete. Woven within the play is an inbuilt, terse and fine sense of controlled dramatic tension. It depicts the great Maratha King, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and his youngest son, Sambhaji struggling with the gap between the two generations. Shivaji’s efforts are to keep his family united, and the young descendant’s efforts are to control and consolidate the huge legacy and empire. The play unveils the rich Maharashtrian culture, and the heritage of a bygone era.

Director’s Note
The Maratha Empire of the 17th century is the backdrop of this play and its key players are Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and his youngest son Sambhaji. This epic is a witness to the acute and tense relationship between father and son. While the former cannot allow their dynasty to be divided, the latter is burdened by the task of a huge empire and legacy he has descended from. The situation holds true even today, with the rift in families due to greed and the choice of nuclear families. The play’s text opines that had Shivaji succeeded in keeping the royalty together, the Maratha dynasty would have ruled much longer. I have tried to recreate the glorious era of Marathas on the stage. I feel more such Marathi plays could be translated for a Hindi speaking audience. Besides Vijay Tendulkar and Mahesh Elkunchwar, regional Marathi playwrights like Vasant Kanetkar and Sanjay Pawar too have a treasury of plays that can be produced in other languages.

The Director
Abhijeet Choudhary completed his graduation from Delhi University. He did a course in direction and editing. He started his theatre journey with Arvind Gaur’s Asmita group and later shifted to Pune, where despite many hurdles and challenges he formed the Swatantra Kala Group in 2006. He has directed Hindi films Pune TC, Godse to Gandhi etc., and several full-length Hindi and English, one-act and street plays, one of which (on pirated CDs and DVDs) attracted appreciation from production houses. His play Suno Suno sketches the resilience of migrants, and another play is constructed on gathered personal and real voices and experiences of slum dwellers. Abhijeet has conducted workshops for the differently abled. He was the broadcasting editor with Zoom channel and a press reporter for DD News.

The Playwright
Vasant Kanetkar (1922 – 2000) born in Satara, Maharashtra was a Marathi playwright. His father, Shankar Keshav Kanetkar, was a well-known poet. After completing his education, Vasant was appointed as a lecturer in Nasik. His first play, Raigadala Jewha Jag Yete, was widely acclaimed and achieved recognition from audiences and the Government of Maharashtra as the best play of the year. He won the National Award for the film Ansoo Ban Gaye Phool. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1992 for his literary astuteness and writing-craft.

The Group
Abhijeet founded Swatantra Kala Group in Pune in 2006. The group focuses on contemporary and socio-political issues through its numerous performances and practices. It has performed at various public and private institutes of education including FTII, IITs and NDA. It is known for its repertoire of community-based theatre and was invited by the UK Parliament for engaging in community-service through theatre. Some of its noteworthy productions are Jis Lahore Nahin Vekhya Wo Janmeya Hi Nahin and Andha Yug,

Cast & Credits
On Stage Ashwin Sharma, Chezan Lawyer, Dhanashree Heblikar, Prem Gowda,
Hennu Khanna, Ronak Kabra, Suyash Kukreja, Krushan Doshi, Mehul Dubey, Shreyansh Sanghvi, Shivraj Zumble

Back Stage Suraaj Nikaumb, Rishabh Jain, Rishabh Sarwate, Arun Jagtap, Manshi Bajpayee, Garima Mishra, Aniket Toro, Vijay Ratna Gongle, Bunty More, Varsha Israni, Renuka Gatelwar, Rishi Bhonde, Shahrukh Shaikh
Producer Yuwaraj Shah

Playwright Vasant Kanetkar
Director Abhijeet Choudhary

Swatantra Kala Group
Girichaya Society, HIG 4, Janwadi Gokhale Nagar
Pune, Maharashtra – 411016
M: +91 8329696186