An adaptation of a popular German folk play The Threepenny Opera by the German playwright Bertolt Brecht, Do Kaudi Ka Khel is translated into Hindi by Parimal Dutta and choreographed by Ankita Jain. A political satire revolving around fictional characters, it’s the story of mainly two characters, Bhayanak Singh and Narhari Poddar: the former, a dacoit, who wants to come up in life,and the latter, who wants to prevent it by getting him hanged.
“This play is a cult classic that gave theatre a new direction. Parimal translated it into a nautanki, a form of dance-drama performed in Uttar Pradesh,” says Srinivas Beesetty, the director of the play and founder of Kahe Vidushak.
Always fascinated by the works of Bertolt Brecht, Srinivas wanted to do this play because of its relevance despite it being an over-300-year-old play. “The story talks about how capitalism overpowers the government, and that it’s the bigwigs in the society who run the government and society—the masterminds. It showcases how businessmen could be dangerous and how society is vulnerable to them. But though the subject’s serious, the play’s a complete political satire,” says Srinivas.
Despite being an adaptation, Do Kaudi Ka Khel has its distinctiveness. “It’s in Hindi, with a mixture of Awadhi and Bhojpuri. Also, this adaptation is a dance-drama, with music, songs and dances. The 14 songs will be performed live by a dholak, a harmonium player, a mandli and the actors. There are also some elements of the Chhau dance added in the play.”
Among the cast, Naveen Aryal plays a part in the chorus, one of the most important aspects of the play, “The chorus takes the play forward while linking the characters, depicting the conscious of Narhari while providing the play with the aspect of satire. It’s also the chorus that provides the expressions and contradicting expressions of the character,” says Naveen.
Ankita Jain, who is also the choreographer of the play, dons the role of Phullan Rani, Narhari’s daughter and the love interest of Bhayanak. “Phullan Rani is a bubbly girl who has fallen head over heels for Bhayanak. What he says, she follows; she’s the bridge between her father and her boyfriend, both of whom are businessmen using her for their own gains.”
As for the folk musical-comedy flavour, “I wanted people to laugh as well as take home a message,” says Srinivas as he signs off. They will be performing in Rangashankara on the June 25....