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Ravinder Sharma’s “Chitta Singh” Triumphs with Satirical Brilliance at the National Theatre Festival in Srinagar, Kashmir

Srinagar, October 14, 2023: The 7-Days Multilingual National Theatre Festival, a spectacular event organized by the Kashmir Performers Collective and the Manzoor Meer Academy of Arts in collaboration with the Jammu & Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture, and Languages, and the North Zone Cultural Centre (NZCC) Patiala, experienced a resounding success with the enthralling performance of “Chitta Singh” by Samooh Theatre, Jammu.  Written and directed by the accomplished theatre director Ravinder Sharma, this satirical comedy play masterfully unraveled the issues plaguing our modern education system, while tickling the audience’s funny bone.

“Chitta Singh” takes a witty and humorous dive into the heart of today’s education landscape, specifically shedding light on the commercialization of knowledge in private schools. The play brilliantly exposes the stark shift from providing productive education to the relentless pursuit of monetary gains, presenting this absurdity in an uproarious and ludicrous fashion.

At its core, the play revolves around the character of Chitta Singh, a forty-year-old man who has faced relentless criticism and unemployment due to the perceived worthlessness of his education. Frustrated by his situation, Chitta Singh embarks on an audacious mission: visiting his old school and demanding a refund of his tuition fees, firmly believing that he gained nothing of value from his time there.

The principal of the school is dumbfounded by Chitta Singh’s return after eighteen years with such an unconventional demand. The idea of a former student asking for a refund because he deems his education worthless places the principal in a perplexing predicament. In response, the principal hastily convenes a meeting with the school’s staff members to address this surreal situation.

The teachers decide to conduct a re-examination for Chitta Singh, harboring a preconceived notion that they will intentionally prove him right, irrespective of the accuracy of his answers. Out of concern for the school’s reputation, they concoct a plan to score Chitta Singh’s answers as excellent, even if they are patently incorrect. They justify his wrong answers and turn a blind eye to his abrasive language, all in a desperate bid to paint him as an outstanding student, simply to be rid of him and shield the school’s image.

Through the medium of humor and satire, “Chitta Singh” casts a spotlight on the commercialization of education and the diminishing focus on imparting meaningful knowledge in some educational institutions. It draws attention to the absurd lengths to which people will go to preserve their reputation, even at the expense of honesty and genuine education. The play’s comedic approach serves as a stinging critique of the existing educational system, compelling the audience to ponder the broader issues it raises.

The outstanding cast of “Chitta Singh” includes Ravinder Sharma as the eponymous Chitta Singh, Rajat Gupta as the Principal, Radhika Sharma as the Physics Teacher, Jhanvi Sharma as the Geography Teacher, Ajay Tamang as the History Teacher, and Sandeep Manhas as the Receptionist. Manik Sharma brilliantly handled the lighting design, adding depth and drama to the play’s evocative scenes.

“Chitta Singh” left the audience in splits and deep contemplation, a testament to the exceptional talents of the Samooh Theatre and the creative brilliance of Mr. Ravinder Sharma. As this extraordinary theatrical production continues to gain acclaim, it promises to captivate audiences across the nation, challenging conventional norms with its unique blend of humor and poignant social commentary.

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