“Tu bhi main bhi sabhi hain sheeshe, khud hi ko hum sabhi mein dekhen” (all of us are mirrors, we see only ourselves in all), Mohit Sharma reiterates an adaptation of Rumi’s poetry as he hopes everyone to carry “an invisible mirror with ourselves to gain consciousness and stay rooted instead of taking ourselves too seriously and too pompously.”
Mohit believes in theatre as an art of suggestion and is in the city to present to the audience an encounter between the 13th century poet Rumi and the 20th century writer Saadat Hasan Manto. It's Bombay 2017, Rumi and Manto bump into each other at a Lit-Fest as they are curious about the world’s new found love for them.
“While I was going around with my other performances especially ‘Toba Tek Singh’, I witnessed a euphoria surrounding both these artists and the popularity that they have gained in the recent past. Rumi has certainly become a global icon and is more vast, while Manto, even though his fame might be geographically limited to mostly South India, is hugely celebrated,” said Mohit who looks at both of them as present day literary pop-icons of the likes of Che Guevera and The Beatles.
As he observed people’s awe about both these iconic literature personalities, the germ of the idea entered his mind as he wondered, “How would it be if both these personalities were to bump into each other in today’s times in an urban space and they try to understand the world around them and the acknowledgment and highlight that their work is receiving.”
After prolonged reading and researching, Mohit finished writing the play and the performance had its first staging in October 27, 2017 in Mumbai. The play is a conversation between both these artists as they take a look around the 21st century people and personalities. “Even though they hold different perspectives and temperaments, at the end of the play, Rumi rubs off onto Manto and vice versa. While Rumi stays close to his accommodating and accepting nature, Manto is filled with angst, queries and objections about the society that he expresses to Rumi. While Rumi counters Manto and calms him down through his poetic recitals saying ‘behte paani se naaraaz nahi hote, uske jaisa hone ki koshish hain karte kyunki kuch bhi ho sakta hai kal , isliye bas chal cha chal,’ which explains into whatever is happening is fine, there's nothing objectionable about what's happening in the society because water flows and it should flow that’s the way to growth, what hampers any growth is our perspective towards that change,” said Mohit as he gave a glimpse from an interaction between the two icons.
The conversation between the two is not in isolation as it’s carried forth in the presence of personalities you’re likely to meet at a modern-day Lit Fest, like Javed Akhtar, Karan Johar, Chetan Bhagat among others.
The script is filled with poetry and satire, through various observations, questions and conversations. “I personally believe that humour is an extremely important element not just of a performance but of life at large because humour certainly helps you survive any situation even if it does not necessarily tell you how to deal with it.”
What: Rumi Aur Manto
When: Sat 21 Apr, 05:00 PM and Sun 22 Apr, 07:00 PM
Where: Atta Galata, Koramangala