Free Press Journal

Bhopal: Sakha Ram Binder’ questions societal norms


Bhopal:  The 8th Theatre Olympics being underway here is giving theatre enthusiasts an opportunity of lifetime to be able to watch plays from all around the world.

On Wednesday, ‘Bhakt Puranmal Khyal’ and ‘Sakha Ram Binder’ were staged at Bharat Bhawan and Ravindra Bhawan.
Hindi folk play ‘Sakha Ram Binder’, written by Vijay Tendulkar, directed by Suresh Sharma was staged by Himachal Culture Research Forum & Theatre Repertory, Mandi.

The one-hour-fifty-minutes play revolves around the life of Sakharam-a book binder, who lives life on his own terms. He openly contests the existing marriage system and the hypocrisy it is based on and questions the notion of emotional attachments as crucial to any relationship.

Drawing up his own rules, he picks up other men’s discarded women…cast off wives who would otherwise be homeless, destitute or murdered with impunity…and gives them shelter in return for household work and other ‘favours’. Despite his apparent progressiveness, Sakharam rules his home like a tyrant, although each woman is told that she is free to leave whenever she likes. What he does not anticipate are the moral and emotional complications of this arrangement, which prove ruinous to everyone involved.

“Sakharam Binder is a play challenging the stark reality, pain and darkness of life. All the characters in the play make a journey wherein they negate, often in the most surprising of ways, social morality and so-called ethics. It is generally thought that only ‘great’ people can pose a question to societal norms and values, but here we see Sakharam, an ‘ordinary’ man with no tags of ‘greatness’ attached to him, doing just that,” said Suresh Sharma, director of the play in his director’s note.

He further said, “The questions posed by him are unique and timeless. Through his challenges we see him daring to bare the facts of life one day at a time, ultimately leaving behind his own stamp on all he comes in contact with, even though it leads him into a dark alley of meaninglessness.”

‘Bhakt Puranmal Khyal’, Rajasthani play was presented by Rang Prishtha, Udaipur. Written by Punamch and Sikhawal and directed by Laique Hussain, the one-hour-ten-minute play is saga of the King Sangh Bhati who receives an invitation from the King of Gajni inviting him for the Svayamvar of princess Lunande.

The princess was to marry the contestant who pierces the eye of a fish hanging from a tree, by looking at its image in the boiling oil cauldron below. Sangh Bhati accepts the challenge, pierces the eye of the fish and marries the Princess. Lunande conspires to kill Puranmal son of Sangh Bhati. She instigates the king and on the orders of Sangh Bhati, Purnamal is killed. But Shiva, while travelling around the world revives Puranmal on the request of Parvati. A good number of theatre lovers were present in both plays.