Pavan Varma’s best-selling book, Being Indian, is about India’s diversity and its “incorrigibly stratified society”. The book has many anecdotes that characterize this society.
Theatre actor Lushin Dubey transcends the non-fictional aspect of the book, and brings the various characterizations to life on stage in Salaam India, a play written by Nicholas Kharkongor. “It is about jugaad, dhanda, resilience, buoyancy and hope, and also about the fact that no matter what, we as a nation are always able to see the silver lining in a cloud,” Dubey says.
Four actors will play 16 characters in the play, and the situation each of them are in will depict the contradictions inherent in being a modern Indian. “It is a very spirited play. It has the courage to look at our weaknesses and strengths and our ability to survive and flourish despite our faults,” Varma says.
The play also celebrates patriotism: “We have subtly tried to include various accents, suddenly you will hear accents such as Assamese, Gujarati and South Indian, as we portray how wonderful it is that though there are so many factors that pull this nation apart, there is no question of it ever breaking up,” Dubey says, switching from one accent to another to emphasize her point.
Louiz Banks has scored the music and Ashley Lobo will choreograph the play. Dancing, costumes, 16 characters and 61 years of history—definitely worth a watch.
(At the Kamani Auditorium, New Delhi; on 21, 22 and 23 February. Tickets available at Something Special, Khan Market, New Delhi, The Danceworx, GK 2 New Delhi, Dhir Communication, Qutab Plaza, Gurgaon or call Sanjeev Maurya at 9212493762 /9871867699.)