Theatre Review

Aurangzeb by Shraddha

Why is there no Black Taj Mahal across the Yamuna River facing the Taj Mahal in Agra?

How did Islam manage to entrench itself & flourish in Hindustan before the arrival of Europeans?

Using the name of Religion for their self interest by rulers of India, is it a recent trend?

Why did Aurangzeb kill his brother and have his father Shah Jahan arrested?

What power did the royal harem have in the Mughal empire?

If you wish to know the story behind these, book your tickets and watch Shraddha Theatres “Aurangzeb“. A brilliant theatrical attempt to tell the story of the last powerful Mughal rulers of India. The historical play is based on a work written 2 decades ago by doyen of Tamil theatre Indira Parthasarathy and directed by Venkataraman Balakrishnan

The play starts in the royal chamber of Emperor Shah Jahan with his affectionate daughter Jahanara Begum by his side talking about the succession to throne.  We see an aging Emperor obsessed with building monuments and caring about nothing else. He wishes to pass the throne to his eldest son Dara Shikoh even though the aristocrats across the empire were not in favour. Even Jahanara has doubts on Dara’s abilities to be a ruler of Hindustan, one who can rule over both Hindus and Muslims.  This is were young Aurangzeb steps in, the son of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal. As a devoted Muslim Aurangzeb has no problems in getting the support of the powerful religious leaders and the Government. Dara, as a learned scholar in Hindu scripts had translated Vedas to Arabic was betting on the support of Sikhs and Hindus only to realize that political support always follows the powerful.

Watching the engaging play you never realise it was running for 2 hours without a break. We are captivated by the family feud & individual ambitions that play out between the characters on stage. Seeing the power politics that happened in Agra 350 years back we are left wondering how come they are still familiar in modern India. And that’s the magic of writer Indira Parathasarathy. Excellent performance by Krishnamurthy as Shah Jahan, Swamy as Aurangzeb, Ganapathy Murugesan as Dara, Hema & Sathya as Jahanara and Archana Sharma as Roshnara. Kudos to all of them.

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