RAKT- KALYAN (Tale Danda)
Written in 1989 in the backdrop of mandir-mandal conflict, the drama draws parallel between the Socio-Religious Political and Economic condition of existing times and southern India in 12th century A.D. during Bhakti Movement. Eight hundred years ago in the city of Kalyan a man called Basavanna assembled a congregation of poets, mystics, social revolutionaries and philosophers, unmatched for there creativity and social commitment in the history of Karnataka, even perhaps of India itself. They opposed idolatry, rejected temple worship, upheld equality of sexes, and condemned the caste system .But event took a violent turn when they acted on their beliefs and a brahmin girl married a 'low caste' boy.The movement ended in bloodshed .Rakt Kalyan (Tale-Danda) deals with few weeks during which a vibrant, prosperous society plunged into anarchy and terror. In Hindi its known as Rakt-Kalyan translated by Ram Gopal Bajaj.
Press Reviews - Kavita Nagpal ( Hindustan Times)
Girish wrote the play in 1989 when the mandir and masjid movements were beginning to show how relevant the questions posed in the 12th century are Today. The anger of society, unwilling to abandon the safety net of the caste system, turns to frenzy when a brahmin sharana girl is married to a chamar sharana boy. They are lynched and kalyan is rift with war cries...Arvind Gaur repeated his Tughlaq technique. Bare sets, symbolic costumes, letting words and characters hold the reins of dramatic power... Bright scenes of lucid argument... house was packed and very responsive.
V M Badola (The Pioneer)
Among the best things that happened to the Indian theatre in the recent times is the creation of Kannada play, Rakt Kalyan , by Girish karnad. Arvind Gaur, the director knew the strength of the play lay in its excellent script and an equally brilliant translation, of it, into Hindi by Ramgopal Bajaj.Arvind Gaur's main achievement was his deep understanding of the nuances of the play and his impeccable sense of choreography, which was well effected, especially during the crowd scenes .What is more, he used the basement space very imaginatively...Rakt- Kalyan owes its greatness to the fact that it does not unnecessarily attempt to politicize the issue and for good reasons.
Although any attempt to bring about social reformation does inevitably throw up certain political challenges it is the existing socio-religious turmoil that creates the biggest impediment and the irony is that in such circumstances, the inherent Contradictions within a social structure come in to the play. Emotion supersedes reason which consequently hurts the cause...Watching Asmita's Rakt Kalyan... became apparent that lack of resources need not come in the way of good presentation, given the dedication and commitment of the actors and the director.
Romesh chander(The Hindu)
Girish Karnad's "Rakt Kalyan" is a superb play, which well illustrates how man has not learnt from history... it is remarkable for Gaur's handling of large crowd scenes...and for underlining the relevance of the play set in 12th century in south India to the present day socio-political atmosphere in the country...like asmita's earlier productions "Rakt Kalyan" is mounted on a bare stage without The frills of period costumes with emphasis on the socio-political relevance of the play and in this production succeeds admirably
Javed malik (Times of India)
Play is a complex and incisive investigation of an actual historical experiment in social reordering and its tragic failure on the individual as well as the collective level ...Asmita's Rakt Kalyan endeavors to foreground the play's political implications particularly in relation to caste ...interesting piece of theatre…it is remarkable for director Arvind Gaur's skillful handling of the large cast in terms of blocking and movement.
Kasturika Mishra (Sunday Herald)
Asmita's "Rakt kalyan" is relevant...credible achievement by Asmita...with large cast of about 30 artists, the play is marked by excellent teamwork, a steady pace and some beautiful musical interludes chosen especially according to the mood of the scene...direction by Arvind Gaur was indeed applaudable.
Ashish Sharma (Indian Expess)
Meaningful study of the tenuous link between religions as masses understand them and human tolerance...a mirror to the irrationality and grave consequences of such polarization and leaderless agitation’s in society.
Smita Nirula (Hindustan Times ,preview)
Asmita sworn to bring the classics to the common masses. Refreshingly uncomplicated, their productions question and tease the sanctity of plays that many directors fear to touch... an impressive play.
Sushma Chadha (The H. T.)
Spotlight on caste conflict... caste system, religious biases,political maneuverings for selfish ends are the betes noires of Indian politics and Society. The Mandir Msjid controversy aggravated in the late 1990s inspiring Dr Girish Karnad to script 'tale danda' meaning " death by beheading"...the achievements of the theatre enthusiasts of ASMITA lies in posing meaningful questions shaking the innerpsyche of audiences forcing them to search and Strive for answers... Ram Gopal Bajaj's translation retained the blend of local dialect Sanskritised text while capturing the conflicting issues.
Aruna Ahluwalia(Evening news)
A quiet kranti ...the mountain is potent with still, silent drama. It stands resonant with history it has witnessed. Sometimes it erupts, spewing up lava of long suffering. The parallel with human script and mass psyche is unavoidable. If Theatre manages to present a microcosmic replica of this phenomenon; it has managed to produce a classic... Director Arvind Gaur radically avant-garde concepts return the stage to the actor. Not flashy sets but a great strength of stillness, silent figures, characterization and speech.
Amit Kumar ( Rashtriya Sahara )
An Asmita presentation Rakt Kalyan under the vigorous directorial venture
of Arvind Gaur is a powerful and timely response of the prevailing caste-tensions and religion-political turmoil’s in the country.
Deepak Ochani & Kranti Pratap Singh in rehersals
Jagmohan (Danik Hindustan, Hindi)
Rakt Kalyan against terrorism...
tight , creative direction...