Arvind Gaur & Lushin Dubey presents “I Will Not Cry”
Lushin Dubey and Arvind Gaur.
Theatre is another name for raising awarenessfor both Arvind Gaur and Lushin Dubey, who havecome up with their latest production “I Will Not Cry”.
One more pressing issue, one more reason to give it an artistic expression. Arvind Gaur and Lushin Dubey are back with another hard-hitting play “I Will Not Cry” (organised by Save the Children, an international organisation working for child rights), borrowing from the stark realities of our existence. And this time, Dubey and Gaur, who have jointly conceived the play, have decided to put the spotlight on the issue of the rising number of child deaths in the country. The play was premiered in New Delhi yesterday and will now travel to five more cities — Jaipur, Kolkata, Mumbai, Patna and Lucknow. The production will have a repeat show in the Capital next year.
The play dwelling on such a serious concern and of such magnitude — Over 5,000 children in the country die due to diseases like diarrhoea and pneumonia — required larger-than-life execution, clarifies Gaur, director of the play. “The content determines the craft. Every 15 seconds, a kid is dying. You need to shake the audience, you need to shock them. So, the basic premise is a talk show on a news channel into which we have woven stories based on real-life incidents. Lushin is enacting the roles of all those five people — a bureaucrat, a socialite, an activist, etc., who have been invited to the show and that’s how we try and gather different perspectives of the society on the issue, ” says Gaur.
“‘Bitter Chocolate’ also had multi-media but in a minimalistic way but in this case, it has been used very differently. It’s almost cinematic,” elaborates Dubey on her latest solo venture.
Gaur and Dubey have teamed up twice earlier to churn out productions like “Untitled” and “Bitter Chocolate” both of which again had societal overbearing like the plight of women across borders or child sexual abuse. But even when they are not a team, they are harping on basic issues of survival through the medium of theatre. For Gaur, be it his direct activism owing to his involvement in India Against Corruption — he is a member of the Core Committee — or his theatre work, it’s all part of his socio-political activism. “Whether it’s ‘Gandhi Aur Ambedkar’, ‘Mamooli Aadmi’ street theatre or proscenium, the idea is to raise awareness. You can’t write a play like this if you don’t do that kind of work,” states Gaur, convenor of Asmita theatre group.
According to the latest Government statistics, the infant mortality rate per 1000 live births in the National Capital has increased to 22.47 in 2010 as compared to 18.96 in 2009, and over four lakh newborns die within the first 24 hours of birth every year, which is the highest anywhere in the world. “But sadly and shockingly, this is not a priority for us. What is important is F1, malls… I am upset how the priorities of our economic policies are changing and children figure nowhere there. Ultimately, it all boils down to corruption. So many children died in West Bengal, in Lucknow and Gorakhpur due to encephalitis and our Health Minister (Ghulam Nabi Azad) comes out with schemes, plans and funds but they don’t reach their destination. He (Azad) announced the introduction of short-term medical course Bachelor of Rural Medicine (BRM) degree, aimed to raise professionals who will serve in rural and backward areas but MCI hasn’t yet endorsed it,” says Gaur. The director and the playwright makes a reference to his ideal and the ideology he adheres to, in the play. “The play ends with a character saying ‘Anna should come out and do something.’ So, the narrator responds with, ‘Why do we have to call Anna all the time, why can’t we initiate a change?’”.
The actor’s journey
It was on the forum of a panel discussion organised by Save the Children that Dubey “pledged” to do a play on the subject and that’s how she along with Gaur thought of the play. There are enough people, she feels, who are doing known writers’ plays but the only way forward for her is to seek out subjects that are topical and relevant. “For me the process is as exciting. It is so self-educative and you can share so much and make people aware. All my plays, for example ‘Ji Saabji” — which dealt with terrorism — are about relationships, communion with the human kind.”
Experimentation is another constant in her work. “I get bored of the predictable outlay. Here, again with the blend of multimedia and theatre it is on a different level. It’s changing constantly. As an actor I always like to pose challenges to myself. I had never worked with puppets, I had never done a full-length play in Hindi but I did all that in different plays, and the next thing for me to try would be to paint or sing on stage.”