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Balwant Thakur's 'Ghumayee' to feature in Shreshtha Bharat
8/17/2019 11:19:47 PM
Early Times Report

Jammu, Aug 17: Balwant Thakur's internationally acclaimed Dogri play 'Ghumayee'- a magnificent production of Natrang Jammu has been selected for being featured in Shreshtha Bharat (Best of India) at Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu.
This is the first ever cultural performance of the state of Jammu and Kashmir which has made it to country's most celebrated cultural festival and its credit goes to Natrang and it's director Balwant Thakur who took Dogri language and culture to the world heights.
Organised by Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi, the play is conceived, designed, scripted and directed by Balwant Thakur. The play has already made a mark for being the first Indian play which featured in Frankfurt Theatre Festival, Germany in the year 2009. It also has the distinction of having featured during the Commonwealth Games in the year 2010 and 8th Theatre Olympics in the year 2017. Produced in the year 2000, this Dogri play has given a new intellectual identity to this part of the world. In past Seventeen years, it has been staged in over 50 National and International theatre festivals and have won accolades all over. On the occasion Director Natrang Balwant Thakur informed that Natrang has plans to have its regular shows in Jammu and other parts of the state before the proud team leaves for Shreshtha Bharat. Dogri play "GHUMAYEE" is based on Dogri Folk Tale of a hilly village and opens with a 'VIDAI' scene after the solemnisation of marriage and bride is being carried in a 'Doli' to her in-law's place. As the tough climb begins, thirsty 'Dulhan' asks for water. Her request is laughed away and no heed is paid. As the track becomes strenuous, her thirst intensifies and repeated entreaties end up in assurance of water at next available source. A stage is reached when thirst becomes unbearable and (Doli is put down) journey is put to halt. All and one are requested to do the needful and arrange for water. In the quest a water source is sited but is miles deep down in a gorge, which is extremely difficult to reach. Repeated requests of bridegroom fail to evoke any response, as the job requires superhuman effort. The plight of 'Dulhan' prompts a young man to volunteer for the job. All present warn him of the probable consequences but he is undeterred. During the ensuing discussions, the groom in an insolent tone bets away his bride in lieu of water. Thus begins the struggle for water. The young man, putting his life in extreme danger, overcomes all hurdles and ultimately succeeds in bringing the water. As bride quenches her thirst, the young man falls dead, out of sheer exhaustion. In stunned atmosphere, 'Baraties' decide to continue with the journey but 'Dulhan' refuses to do so. She declares herself a widow and cries out a wail (Ghumayee) sanctifying the significance of human relationship over the most prized relationship of marriage bound by mere rituals. Director of the play Balwant Thakur said that he named it as "Ghumayee" ('Ghumayee' is a singing tradition of Dogras and is sung by the bride when she leaves her parents during marriage) because it is actually an emotional outburst of a bride wherein she acknowledges her gratitude for her relations crying and singing at the time of her 'Vidai'. But what inspired him most was that this highlighted the hollowness of marriage despite the rituals of bonding of two individuals through wedding traditions and rituals. And that the bride mustered enough courage to raise her voice against the casual attitude of her bridegroom who takes her for granted, after marriage. The theme has contemporary relevance all over the world especially when new millennium is focused on women. Through this production an effort has been made to utilize best of the actors' physical and vocal resources through a language of poetic images which could transcend across linguistic barriers.
Rooted totally in the cultural soil of Jammu, the play aims at seeking universal relevance and acceptance.
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