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Dhoop Chaoon stages ‘Ek Naav mein Sawaar,’ an online play

Akila Giridharan
June 2020
Dhoop Chaoon stages ‘Ek Naav mein Sawaar,’ an online play

(Left) Dhoop Chaoon announces its e-Skit, Ek Naav Mein Sawaar 

Dhoop Chaoon, an Atlanta-based Hindi theater group, which has been entertaining theater audiences for the past 13 years, responding to the new realities of our times, creatively transitioned online so that the show goes on.

(​Bottom) Zoom session of Ek Naav Mein Sawaar: First row (L to R) Ritambhara Mittal, Asha Gupta, Sandhya Saxena Bhagat – Founder Director Dhoop Chaoon, Bollywood actor Manu Rishi; Second row (L to R) Chandra Oad, Zohra Master, Premanand and Sumona Goswami, Preeti; Third row (L to R) Poornima Raj, Sachin Bapat, Sabyasachi Mittal, Anil Kanwal Bhagat

coverstory_image3_05_2020.jpg

The much-awaited annual show of Dhoop Chaoon, which usually takes place in May, had to be canceled this year due to the current crisis. Amidst such disappointment rose the idea of an e-Natak (e-Play)–where the show could go on, albeit in a modified format. The brainchild of founder director, Sandhya Saxena Bhagat, and fellow team member, Ritambhara Mittal, this concept evinced a lot of excitement within the group. During a lot of brainstorming and endless Zoom meetings, various ideas were discussed, technologies were evaluated, and scripts were written and vetted.

 

Finally, the play was ready. The group decided to use “social media BFFs”—Zoom and TikTok—to make a series of short skits that conveyed the effect of this pandemic in a very personalized and intimate way. Sandhya Saxena Bhagat, director and writer of this e-Natak, attempted to showcase unique perspectives that are currently being experienced in everyday pandemic life. Some skits were humorous while others conveyed a strong social message.

Technical support staff and fellow actors, led by the “all in one,” Ritambhara Mittal, and ably supported by Mohammad Assani, Premanand Goswami, and Harsheal Nemade, ensured that everyone got comfortable using TikTok and Zoom, and helped in shooting, and later editing and stitching the videos together.

This e-Natak aptly titled Ek Naav mein Sawaar (All in the Same Boat), was screened over Zoom, and was inaugurated by Bollywood actor and theatre artist, Manu Rishi Chadha who applauded the effort, creativity, and hard work of the team.

The adage goes, “When the world is a mess, go inside and discover yourself”. And that is exactly what the team at Dhoop Chaoon did! This unique presentation by the artists of Dhoop Chaoon pushed the frontiers of theatre and showed that anything is possible when there is positivity, creativity, and enthusiasm.

The participants included Akila Giridharan, Anil Kanwal Bhagat, Asha Gupta, Chandra Oad, Johra Master, Kamlesh Chugh, Muhammed Assani, Neev Kamal Seedani , Premanand Goswami, Poornima Raj, Ritambhara Mittal, Shankar Mahadevan, and Sumana Goswami.


 

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