Monday, June 17, 2024

“A one-note culture becomes monotonous and monolithic,” says director Purva Naresh

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Referring to her Zee Theatre musical ‘Aaj Rang Hai’, Purva says that humanity’s diverse shades like the colours of Holi also meant to intermingle

Zee Theatre’s teleplay ‘Aaj Rang Hai’ is a celebration of not just Hindustani classical music and Amir Khusrau’s poetry but also of the syncretic beauty of India. The narrative is set in a multi-religious neighbourhood and revolves around Beni Bai, an erstwhile baithak singer and the human stories unfolding around her.

So while a forbidden love is blossoming between Fanney and Sharda, best friends Ameena and Vidya are speculating about what Allah looks like and whether Holi is a festival only for Hindus. Beni also has a bittersweet time with Bua. As a sudden communal fire sweeps across this mohalla, the play asks if hate can really eradicate the human need for love, peace and harmony.

Even though the play is set in the 1970s, it explores issues that are still relevant, says writer and director Purva Naresh. She explains, “This story celebrates the shared cultural legacy of India’s Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb. Like India, this play is a beautiful tapestry woven with diverse stories and reminds us that beyond the communal strife and hate that threaten to tear us apart, there will always be poetry and music to unify us and sustain us as a nation. “

The play is particularly close to Purva’s heart as Beni Bai’s character is inspired by her grandmother, an estate singer who was secular, well-versed in Urdu and saw the world through the lens of music. “From her, I learnt that Ustaad Amir Khan deeply respected goddess Laxmi and how similar ‘Taraana’ and ‘Kirtan’ are in tenor. Like Beni, she too was a wise teacher, friend, guide, and philosopher,” shares Purva.

Khusrau’s poetry in the play is like a metaphor for India which has always believed in assimilation and not elimination, says Purva and adds, “Dividing languages or people on the basis of religion is a futile exercise. A one-note culture becomes monotonous and monolithic. Our interconnectedness makes us richer in more ways than one and like the colours of Holi, humanity’s diverse shades are meant to intermingle.”

Filmed by Sourabh Shrivastava, ‘Aaj Rang Hai’ stars Trishla Patel, Sarika Singh, Prerna Chawla, Nishi Doshi, Purva Naresh, Pawan Uttam, Imran Rasheed, Hidayat Sami and Danish Hussain. It will be aired on 5th Feb on Dish TV & D2H Rangmanch and Airtel Theatre.

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