Bhaag Nadi Bhaag

A Hindi play about rivers and water by travelling theatre group Swabhav Natak Dal
Bhaag Nadi Bhaag
Bhaag Nadi Bhaag

Since April this year, Swabhav Natak Dal has been travelling with a play about Rivers and Waters. 12 shows of the Bangla version of this play – Raakhe Nodi Maare Ke – were performed in schools, shelter homes for children, organizations working on environmental issues, as well as community spaces in various parts of West Bengal.

After another round of shows in June, Swabhav plans to travel with the Hindi version of the play – Bhaag Nadi Bhaag – in August and September. We are looking for individuals/organizations anywhere in India who would be interested in hosting or collaborating with us.

About the Play

Bhaag Nadi Bhaag is an approximately hour-long Hindi play which traces the story of water through the tale of a river. A stranger takes the free-flowing river Shivnath away from his friends, confines him in a dam, forces him to run through pipelines, distributes him through tankers, and packages him in bottles. Will Shivnath’s friends be able to rescue him or will Shivnath become yet another victim of human greed?

Using plenty of music, movement and visual imagery, the play attempts to address both children and adults, rural as well as urban. ‘Nadi’, ‘Jangal’, ‘Mitti’, all become characters in this play, even as it raises serious questions about the future of life on earth. Can man overpower nature? Can friendship overcome power? What is the truth behind the deepening global water crisis? And how does the water crisis connect to the crisis that rivers face?

Why this play?

Water shortage, water pollution, the destruction of water bodies - perhaps the greatest crisis of our times is the crisis of water. From squabbles at the local hand pump to fights between states and nations over sharing river waters, there is no escaping the water war. But perhaps the real crisis is not as much about scarcity as about inequality in sharing – between rich and poor, between high castes and low castes, between corporates and communities, between cities and villages.

Rivers, in particular, are facing an existential crisis today. In 1998, Shivnath – the longest tributary of the Mahanadi River- was ‘leased out’ to a private company, with rights to sell its waters. But is the river anyone’s property to buy and sell? Can we reduce nature to a commodity to be traded in the market? The exploitation of natural resources is inextricably linked to the exploitation of communities whose livelihoods depend on them, and that is why this play. A cry to save nature, a cry to save ourselves.

About Swabhav Natak Dal

Swabhav Natak Dal is a Kolkata-based people’s learning centre and theatre collective comprising youth from diverse backgrounds. We have been creating and performing plays on social and environmental issues for the last ten years. In 2013-14, we put together a play about dam-induced displacement called ‘Mr. India’ and performed 34 shows in villages and towns across West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Goa. We have also helped to set up theatre teams in various parts of West Bengal, Delhi, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Living together in community while working on a play is an integral part of our theatre process. All members of the current team are full-time theatre workers.

What do we want from our hosts?

We are happy to perform in urban as well as rural spaces, in schools, colleges, community halls, terraces, courtyards, warehouses, wherever the following criteria can be met –

  • Arrangements for food, stay and local travel for the team of 8 members
  • Ideally, we are looking for organizations that could host us for about 5-7 days, during which we can perform 3-5 shows. But do get in touch even if you can host only a show or two.
  • A contribution of Rs 8000 per show towards production cost. If anyone is able to give more, it can support us to do shows for those who are able to give less.
  • A flat surface to perform (not undulating and not a raised platform). The performance space should be minimum 20 feet x 20 feet, without any pillars in between. Our set entails a curtain to be hung at the back of the stage, so some arrangement for tying the curtain (could be hooks or two poles) is required.
  • A shaded space is preferred, for protection from sun and rain. Also, since we do not use microphones, a slightly enclosed space with good acoustics would help
  • 2000 watt yellow halogen bulbs (1000 x 2 or 500 x 4) lighting up the performance space

To host Bhaag Nadi Bhaag or for any queries, please contact Vartika – 9830032014, vartika.poddar@gmail.com/ Ankur - 9831794910

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