Dhoop Chhaon Airs All India Radio’s “Vividh Bharti”
On the quiet afternoon of March 11th, 2007, the White Hall on the premises of the serene Emory campus was filled with the sounds of Indian radio from decades ago. One peek through the double doors of the auditorium brought back memories of a time when the radio was the sole medium of entertainment for the masses of India. The audience, most of them in their prime years, were living their youth.
This was the ambiance at the stage production for the Senior Citizen Community organization of Atlanta. The program was organized by the efforts of Mrs. Raj Razdan of the senior citizen program and Dr. Deepika Bahari, department head of the South Asian studies at Emory University. Dr. and Mrs. Mitra were the chief guests.
The event, produced and directed by Sandhya Bhagat, was a collaborative effort of the members of the group Dhoop Chhaon (Sunlight and Shade). Bhagat, an avid writer, poetess and an all around ambassador of art and theater, in forming the group, brought together thirty like minded individuals to realize their passion for stage productions.
The show was a comedic theme production based around the ‘Vividh Bharti ka Vigyapan Program' from the olden times of early 'All India Radio'. The theme was aptly chosen to bring back some old memories for the illustrious dadas and dadis and nanas and nanis of the ever growing Indian community in the area.
The show started with a scene of the onset of the morning with the melodious sound of ‘Vande Matram' music with an iconic ‘Mother India' (Shweta Jain) appearing on stage. She was then joined by extravagantly dressed children in many different costumes spanning the cultural gamut of Indian society. The children presented flowers to Mother India, before taking their place beside her. The telecast started with, ‘Devaki Nandan Pandeji' (Atul Makar), presenting the 8:00 a.m. news, and introduced the musical program ‘Bhoolaie Bisraie Geet'. At this time elaborately dressed Bindu Chauhan and Nitika Jain, came on stage and performed a dance to the song ‘Reshmi Salwar Kurta Jaali Ka'. The hall was filled with the tandem clapping of hands as the song slowly faded to its conclusion.
Next was an adaptive play, ‘Talash Arjun Ki'(Search for Arjun), in which a director, Bhopu Bhai (Anuj Jain) and his lead actor, Popat (Vinay Singh) are in search for a cast member to play the part of Arjun in their movie. The play revolved around the casting call auditions by characters from different backgrounds. The casting started with Bengali Babu (Atul Makar), then came Mirza Sahib (Vikas Khanna) followed by Ayengar (Gopalkrishnan Aksheyalingium) and lastly SardarJi (NavdeepLooma), who all failed the audition. The play concluded with a devastated Bhopu Bhai when his lead Popat quits after being harassed by his mother, Sarangi Devi (Suparna Pathak).
A musical play was presented in the 'Hawa Mahal Segment'. ‘Jai Mata Di',written and recited by Sandhya Bhagat, highlighted comical experiences throughout the journey through to Vaishno Devi in the foothills of Himalayas. Three actresses, Renu Kumar, Meenakshi Iyer and Veena Katdare, took upon different characters and acted out the scenes described by the many small skits.
The event concluded with the whole cast appearing on stage with the song ‘Ramiya Vasta Vaiya' playing in the background. Apart from the main items, there were mime performances by Gandharv, Kartikay Bhagat, Gopal Krishnan Aksheyalingium and Neelank Pathak. Along with old radio commercials to keep the ambiance through the entire event, emcees Sandhya Bhagat and Manju Tiwari, took upon characters to aid the flow and narrated the program as if a live broadcast.
The music was edited by Aporva Srivastav and Gandharv Bhagat. The backstage and lighting support was given by Rohan Iyer, Madhav Katdare, Suresh Balachandran, Geeta Loomba and Chinti Bali. The stage lighting was controlled by Anil Bhagat.
All in all, the evening was a comedic adventure into the past and brought back many laughs and memories.
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