Jammu, September 21, 2023: “Ek Aur Birbal” the famous superhit Hindi play written by Rakesh Roshan Bhat and directed by Rohit Bhat, approved by Sangeet Natatk Akademi was staged as a special show by the Vemedh at Abhinav Theatre Jammu.
The play is a mega hit among the audience as it brilliantly depicts the plight of Kashmiri Pandits during the Afghan Durrani Rule in 1812 AD and the bravery displayed by Pt Birbal Dhar by bringing in Sikhs under Maharaja Ranjeet Singh’s rule to end Afghan domination of Kashmir.
The play was specially staged on the approval Sangeet Natak Akademi to spread awareness among KPs about the sacrifices given by Pt Birbal Dhar to save them from the treacherous rule of Afghan ruler Azim Khan.
Sh. Nitin Gupta (Bollywood Writer, Director), was the Chief Guest on the occasion Speaking on the occasion Nitin Gupta while appreciating the Vemedh group for preserving the rich cultural tradition of Kashmiri Pandits said the present generation of Kashmiri Pandits needs to be made aware of the past glorious history of Kashmiri Pandits adding that history must be revealed so that the current generation can remember how its past generations have sacrificed to keep their culture, tradition and heritage alive by not only passing the history to next generation but also making sure that their own generation is secured from the tyrants.
Written by Rakesh Roshan Bhat and directed by Rohit Bhat, the play salutes the vision and velour of visionary Pandit Birbal Dhar, a tax collector in the royal court of Afghan Governor Azim Khan in 1812 AD. The play chronicled the sequence of events, such as Birbal being forced by tyrant Azim Khan to recover unethical heavy tax amount from the Kashmiri Pandits, but Birbal’s conscience prevailed, and he revolted to take on the governor at the cost of losing his wife and daughter-in-law.
Pandit Birbal Dhar approached and convinced Maharaja Ranjit Singh at Lahore to save Kashmiri Pandits and the general public of Kashmir. The benevolent Maharaja attacked the Mughal Army and forced Azim Khan to run to Afghanistan. The play relied largely on the narratives with background music and costumes suggestive of the Mughal splendour of the 18th century.
Rakesh Roshan Bhat has brilliantly brought out all the aspects of the era hitherto unknown to the modern generation and the excellent direction of Rohit Bhat coupled with superb acting skills displayed by the artists makes the play more memorable for the younger generation and the old tribe alike.
“Ek Aur Birbal” got appreciation by the audience terming it a lesson in Kashmir Pandit history and their struggle for the Kashmiri Pandits and others as well.
Pandit Birbal Dhar finds a passing reference in the history but when analysed his sheer wisdom, character and courage assumes gigantic proportions for his heroic effort in bringing Sikhs to Kashmir and integrating Kashmir into India.
While the play delves deep into the arrival of Islamic rule into Kashmir it also depicts the miseries of Kashmiri Pandits after Kota Rani lost the battle and talks about the six forced migrations of Kashmiri Pandits that took place since then.
Rakesh Roshan the playwright says that the play was a tribute to the legend of Birbal Dhar and how he got Maharaja Ranjeet Singh to end the reign of terror of Afghan Durani rule thus becoming the real hero of Kashmiri Pandits.
The actors who performed on stage did a brilliant job which include Arvin Tickoo as Mirza Kak, Sunny Mujoo as Pt Birbal Dhar, Shazi Khan as Azim Khan, Rajni Bhatti as Birbal’s wife, Sachin Sharma as Anwar Khan, King C Bharati as Bassa Ram, Amit Gupta as Raja Kak, Shashank Singh Rajput as Sukhram, Irfana Bano Mir as Phool Singh, Kamakshya Dogra as Mirza Son, Vishal Hans as Maharaja Ranjeet Singh and Ridhima as Raja Kak’s wife. Narration was given by Dr Sudhir Mahajan, Lyrics by Rakesh Roshan Bhat, Singer and composer Arvind Ji, Set Virji Sumbli, Makeup -Shammi Dhamir, Lights Ravinder Sharma and Sandeep Manhas, Costumes Bharti Kaul, Assistant Costume Designer Irfana Bano Mir, Music Arranged by Dr Abhishek Bharti, Recording studio Kongposh (Rajesh Kher), Properties Sushma Kumari, Hall Management Priya Kher, Tara Chand and Vimal and Sound by Lokesh, Publicity, Meenakshi Rakesh Bhat and Omni Verma.