Jammu, January 25 2020: Artists of Vomedh Theatre Group mesmerized the audience today with their performance in Kashmiri language comic play ‘Gadd Bateh’ (Fish & Rice) approved by ‘Sangeet Natak Akademi’ at the Jammu Institute of General Education and Research and gathered accolades for this unique presentation.
A Kashmiri language play “Gadd Bateh” written by Rakesh Roshan Bhat, depicting unique traditions of Kashmiri Pandits was staged by the artists directed by Rohit Bhat under the banner of ‘Vemedh and approved by ‘Sangeet Natak Akademi’ on Monday afternoon.
The play a hilarious satire on the pangs of migration of Kashmiri Pandits and their urge to continue the age-old traditions in different environs was well received by the jam-packed audience bringing back the old memories of the pre-migration days when Kashmiri Pandits would celebrate the day with much fanfare.
The Play written by Rakesh Roshan Bhat and directed by Rohit Bhat, the brother-duo known for their super hit plays like Ek Aur Birbal, Choper Yei Gaash, Khoya Bachpan, Atteeth ke Saakhshi etc revolves around a Kashmiri Pandit who celebrates all the Kashmiri Pandit festivals to keep the culture alive in exile but has not been able to celebrate “Gadd Bateh” because he did not own a house for 29 years in Jammu.
Now when he finally builds a house of his own, he wants to celebrate it quietly. But the other characters like daughter-in-law, fish loving neighbor and the ‘Ghar Devta’ himself make it a memorable, satirical and hilarious for him.
The playwright through this play wants to convey that the Valley of Kashmir is known as “Valley of Saints and Deities” and Kashmiri Pandits celebrated the specific days invoking the blessings of these saints and deities with lot of fervor and devotion.
The winter in Kashmir was the harbinger of festivities and celebrations for Kashmiri Pandits like the “Gadd Bateh”, “Yakhshya Amawasya” and the grand “Herath” etc.
“Gadd Bateh” had an element of curiosity to it besides the other elements of a usual festival. The presiding deity “Ghar Devta” of this festival has a unique persona and people across age groups are enchanted with him. He is the protector of the house and the household according to the old belief. He is tall, well-built deity attired in a white ‘poss’ (inner wear of Pheran) and a yellow turban. There are a lot of interesting myths and stories floating around since ages which has established this deity very strongly in the cultural and spiritual belief of Kashmiri Pandits.
However, after migration of Kashmiri Pandits from Kashmir due to turmoil the whole charm of these festivals started to wane away. But, Kashmiri Pandits ensured that whatever the situation be, the culture and legacy of Kashmiri Pandits should not fade or vanish. They started observing all these festivals inspite of all the odds, wherever they are settled today.
“Gadd Bateh” is also celebrated by uprooted community but of course it is not the same as it used to be in Kashmir.
The attempt of the writer director duo is to transport the audience back down the memory lane, to relive those experiences and emphasize the significance of these festivals for the existence of Kashmiri Pandits in a very non-preaching and entertaining manner.
The play was well received by the audience and appreciated by the critics present in the audience.
Sandhya Dhar, President-JIGER was the chief guest on the occasion while Maharaj Krishan Dhar and Santosh Dhar were guests of honour and Virender Langoo as special guest.
The characters were played by artists as follows King C Bharati as Kanya Lal, Sunny Mujoo as Bubji, Priya Kher as Veena, Dr Ramesh Nirash as Ghar Devta, Rishab Bambroo as Sanj Bochch, Bharati Koul as Shama Ji and Rohit Bhat as Ramesh. Makeup by Sunny Mujoo, Costume Bharti Koul, Property Meenakshi Rakesh Bhat, Video and Stills Ishu Bharati Pandit. The play is written by Rakesh Roshan Bhat and Directed by Rohit Bhat.