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Watch ‘Dhappa’, a 1950s musical thriller play starring Puneet Issar

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Dhappa, a 1950s-based musical play starring Puneet Issar in Hindi for the first time in Mumbai with actor Puneet Issar who plays an experimental role for the first time in theatre. Aum Theatre Mumbai is all set to launch the play ‘Dhappa, a 1950s-based musical play starring Puneet Issar’ a thriller Hindi play on 18th June 2022 at St Andrew Theatre Bandra. Actor Puneet Issar, who is forever embedded in our minds as Duryodhan of B R Chopra’s TV series ‘Mahabharat’ will be playing an experimental role for the first time in theatre.

The play is written and produced by Akshay Mishra and Sharon Chandra and directed by Akshay Mishra. Play ‘Dhappa’ has a splendid set, vintage design costumes, a fantastic script, melodious songs and music, and dance that will captivate the audience.

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Dhappa is a very meaningful and realistic play where one can relate to the sacrifices, repentance, passion, and perseverance enacted by the actors on stage. Actor Puneet Issar has transformed himself into a character in ‘Dhappa’ that he has never played before.

The play also showcases the work of Sharon Chandra who is playing a pivotal role in Dhappa. Sharon is a theatre actress and Kathak dancer and hails from the Fiji Islands. She has attained a Diploma in Kathak from Kathak Kendra, New Delhi.

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Writer and director, Akshay Mishra tried to envisage the 1950s era and wrote Dhappa, the musical play said, “I was besotted with the kind of dance, music, costumes, and sets that were used in great films like Mughal-e-Azam, Jalsaghar, Pakeezah, Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje, etc. One always looks up to these veterans who have worked tirelessly and given us such invaluable gems. We are forever indebted to their work which gives us a glimpse of a beautiful era gone by.”

He further elaborates saying, “I wanted to recreate some of that time through a play. And Dhappa was born! But it was not an easy feat. I researched a lot on the types of thumris that were played during that era and endeavoured to write thumris that would resonate with my audience. I was inspired by the thumris sung by Shamshad Begum, Begum Akhtar, Siddheshwari Devi, and many more and tried to recreate a little sprinkle of that golden era that these maestros ruled in. I can’t wait for the audience to hear these beautiful pieces of music.

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“We took inspiration from the 1950s and styled our costumes, a magnificent setting with a staircase and chandelier, vintage props, and soulful music and dance to give our audience a sneak peek into our version of the unheard stories of the 1950s,” he concluded.

Actor Puneet Issar says, “I had a faraway memory that blurred with time. Gems like Ritwik Ghatak, Satyajit Ray, Bimal Roy, V. Shantaram, Guru Dutt, Raj Kapoor, Mehboob Khan, and Vijay Anand had speckled our lives with the most realistic souvenirs. Their work jostled me to see the pain and struggles faced by real people. In that golden age, these directors had freed opinions, fought with patriarchy, wept with the unfortunate, and rebelled against the unkind. I always thought if only I would have gotten the chance to work in that era. When Akshay narrated the script, it immediately made me feel that this would be my opportunity to possibly portray a writer and director of the 1950s and show the real pain that these filmmakers felt. And coincidently, when I read the script, there was a line about ‘Duryodhan’. It just clicked! I knew this script was destined for me!”

Actress and Producer Sharon Chandra says, “ I feel extremely lucky and happy to get an opportunity to work with Puneetji. His work ethic, dedication, and support to our team motivate us. He is an inspiration to us and always ensures to guide us. I am happy that I represent my country Fiji and hopefully motivate people from my country to come to India and live the adventurous life of an artist!”

Directing an original script is always a gamble but Akshay Mishra had a fine answer in store. “There is an actual need to tell original stories! Writers such as Saadat Hasan Manto, Ismat Chugtai, Nirmal Varma, Harishankar Parsai, Kafka, Maupassant, Sharat Chandra, Dhanveer Bharti, Tolstoy, Gorkhi, Bhishm Sahani, etc. have inspired and led us into the right direction. Truth be told, just using these prestigious writers’ work more or less guarantees a certain percentage of the audience. Our generation should also take inspiration from these writers and attempt to write original stories and plays that would later become a pathway for the upcoming generation of writers. I kept perfecting the script and song lyrics and it brought me great joy when Puneet Issar sir agreed to come on board on the first read!”

Watch ‘Dhappa’ on Saturday, June 18th at 7 PM at St. Andrews Auditorium, Bandra.

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Asim Riaz

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