Theatre of Relevance Practitioners and well-wishers presented the play “Main Bhi Rohit Vemula !” in Panvel, and evoked an artistic rebel by organizing two consecutive shows.
Written by Sanjay Kundan and directed and starring Manjul Bhardwaj the play is a reflection of India imprisoned in a 6 X 6 caste system. To break this racist exploitation, a youth “Rohit” dreams of building a nation that will be free from inhumane captivity, by interacting with the four walls of the prison, he breaks down the walls of unconstitutional mindsets in the audience’s brain rising the basic questions of justice, equality and humanity to the fore.
Even though we have entered the year 2022, the play “Main Bhi Rohit Vemula” presents a frightening reality. We realize how deeply rooted we are in the roots of ethnic conflict.
When a person across the walls of caste religion seeks to live as a Human, society brings him back to the same framework. We see this frame from the beginning of the play. The play starts from the nightmare where Rohit has been shot but as he wakes up one realizes and relates self with the nightmare of society that we are living in. A dark blackened prison cell where a young man stands and fights for a dignified life to live according to the constitution, revolting and questioning against the social system, law and order & government.
We are familiar with the story of this revolutionary youth, Rohit Vemula, at first it seems to be his life story but as the play progresses, it becomes clear that this story is not about Rohit Vemula but about “Rohit Singh”. Although there is a difference in their names, there is no difference in their exploitation by the system. There is nothing wrong with fighting for our rights to live as human being, for justice, but this system has been imprisoning the revolutionaries who are revolting for such causes, suppressing their voices in a 6×6 prison for years!
“Main Bhi Rohit Vemula” is an experiment that shows human sensitivity beyond exploitation and injustice. Analyzes and speaks about constitutional rights rather than empathizing with one’s own fate.
It Unfolds Ethnic mentality and challenges unnatural distortions. Manjul Bhardwaj’s direction enriches the play in total aspects, inspiring the audience to reflect self.
“Jai Bhim” is not just a slogan but a concept, an idea of revolt. So far we have only heard the squeaky sound of slogans and announcements, the essence and urge of those slogans came from this play.
The artistic travel from Samrat Ashok to Rohit Singh is clearly visible in the acting of Manjul Bhardwaj. Cruel, violent and aggressive Emperor Ashok with his magnificent physique and a youthful enthusiastic, optimistic and vision of conscience Rohit! Rohit, who is full of “Atmabal” questions the system of “Atmaheen” society.
The 70-minute play is a solo performance by Theatre ideologue Manjul Bhardwaj, whose energy, spontaneity and vibrational wave are unique. The outcry in the mind and the tone that comes after remembering his mother, the deep penetrating eyes were the peak of emotions in this play.
The actor, dressed in white, is dreaming of building a humane, pure and peaceful society, while the paradox that the clothes belong to a “prisoner” is disturbing. Emotional impulses, intimacy, ideological clarity and the creative vibrations that erupt are felt tremendously in acting. Not only the Dalits, tribals, the underprivileged, but all the members of the society must evolve and live the Constitutional values in self and the youth “Rohit” who stands on the principle of non-violence without resorting to violence against exploitation is a balanced way which is highlighted all the way in the play.
The natural theater in close proximity to nature is the highlight of this experiment. The historical stage of Bapu Kuti at the ‘Yusuf Meherally Center’ in Panvel, facilitated the ease of artistic performance of Manjul Bhardwaj, the visuals that are created in front of our eyes as a spectator, whether it is court room or prison, house, club, college campus facilitates the imagination of audience. The play contains references to the racial conflicts around us and many other incidents of injustice that makes the mind restless.
Whenever an artist performs on such topics, he or she raises the mirror of truth in front of self and the world. Because in the end, as a person, the artist comes from the very womb of this society, so by reflecting one’s own mentality, setting aside all the titles and labels of the society and seeing self as a human being the artist stands up for humanity.
January 4, 2022, at 5 p.m. the play was premiered at Yusuf Meherli Center, Panvel and the 2nd performance was performed on 5th January, 2022 at 10 am in YMA junior college, Panvel.
Today, in this dreadful state, “Theater of Relevance” philosophy is sowing new ideas and progressive ideological concepts in the new year. Inspiring everyone to live in harmony by living and valuing our Constitutional values.