Delhiā€™s famed street theatre group Jan NatyaManch performs in Kochi

Plays focusing on dissent, discourse, an offshoot of rebel artist B M Anand’s ongoing show

Kochi, Jan 25:  B M Anand Foundation and Jan NatyaManch (Janam), one of the oldest street theatre group from Delhi, is bringing to Kochi a weekend of street plays on the many faces of dissent and its significance in public discourse, creativity and progress.

Two plays focussing on the rights of the worker and violence on women are scheduled to be enacted in Subhash Park, Marine Drive and various parts of Fort Kochi and Mattancherry, which include some of the venues of the ongoing third edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB).

The plays are offshoot programmes of the exhibition ‘Dissent and Discourse: the Art and Politics of rebel artist Brij Mohan Anand (1928-1986), which is a collateral project to the Biennale at Greenix Village Cultural Arts Centre in Fort Kochi.

The exhibition, a sampling of the estimated 1,500 surviving works by the Indian Modern Master offers a social and cultural critique of Third World revolution and the culture of imperialism. Anand believed that in its hurried attempt to transform itself, India was growing impervious to the voices within, said ShruthiIssac, curator, Dissent and Discourse exhibition.

“ At a time when independent, radical thought found few outlets for expression, his works reflect the modern industrial world and serve to hold the empowered perspective and the selective interests served by it, accountable to the broader public. I think it is great that Jan NatyaManch will be exploring the notion of the exploitation of industrial labour and gender violence through their plays in Kochi”, said ShruthiIssac.

The drama ‘YehBhiHinsaHai’ (The Faces of Violence) and ‘Yeh Hum KyunSahein’ (Enough is Enough) both in Hindi will be played out on January 28-29 at various venues including Mattancherry Bus Stand, Vasco Da Gama Square, the Fort Kochi beach near the Fishing nets, Aspinwall House, Marine Drive and Subhash Park.

The ‘Faces of Violence’ , which talks about stalking, voyeurism, patriarchy and non-physical forms of violence was first prepared 2005 and was updated after the horrific Delhi gang rape in December 2012, which brought the issue to a head.The play ends with rape, depicted powerfully but symbolically, with stylised movements.

The second play ‘Enough Is Enough’ is based on the personal narratives of industrial workers in and around Delhi, gathered by the actors It is a juxtaposition of hilarious, over-the-top farce with deadly serious, quietly assertive docu-drama on the work conditions of workers.

“BM  Anand was a die hard socialist, his works were un trenchant and uncompromising. He questioned everything from fascism to nuclear weapons and created art as a form of protest. It is only apt that the Jan Natya Manch, with its history of using theatre to throw a light of pertinent social issues is collaborating for a series of plays,” AditiAnand, the Associate Director of the B M Anand Foundation and who co-wrote a book on the late artist from Punjab.

MoloyashreeHashmi, Ashok Tiwari, SudhanyaDeshpande, Soman T K ,Joyoti Roy, and KomitaDhanda, all actors with Jan NatyaManch comprise the cast of the plays from Janam, which was founded in the 1970s by SafdarHashmi.


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