Merchant of Venice dons an Indian avatar with a grand stage presentation SAUDAGAR

Being presented by The Films and Theatre Society, Saudagar is the Indian adaptation of one of the most famous plays by William Shakespeare Merchant of Venice.

July 03, 2014 10:28 IST | India Infoline News Service
The merchant who signed a bond for his dear friend; the moneylender who demanded his pound of flesh; and the remarkable and intelligent heiress who turned the tables to save her lovers friend! For the lovers of William Shakespeare, these are characters etched in classic gold. For the first time, however, theatre fans in Gurgaon will get a taste of an Indian version of this Shakespearean classic.

Being presented by The Films and Theatre Society, Saudagar is the Indian adaptation of one of the most famous plays by William Shakespeare Merchant of Venice. The play will be staged at the Epicentre on the evening of July 5 and will present the gracious  Antonia, the beautiful Portia, the devoted Bassanio and the wronged  Shylock in Indian avatras.

As Portia turns into Priyamwada and Bassanio becomes Basant, Saudagar, adapted and directed by Atul Satya Koushik, promises to be the quintessential Shakespearean drama albeit with a completely Indian taste. Saudagar was launched at the Shri Ram Centre on June 21 to much acclaim and appreciation. Its second staging is being held at Gurgaon.

Based in the Mewar District of Rajasthan and set in the end of 19th century, the adaptation is peculiar for recreating the true Shakespearian moods on stage but with jokes and dialogues that will have a Rajasthani flourish.

A merchant lends a sum of Rs 30,000 to his friend in order to assist him in his effort to woo the wealthy and beautiful princess of Pratapgarh, a princely state in British India. However, with the merchants own money tied up in a risky venture, he has to borrow from a moneylender whom he has previously insulted for his act of charging high rates of interest and for his religious beliefs.

The moneylender does lend the money, but against a bond whereby a failure to repay the loan on the agreed date will entitle him to a pound of the Merchant's flesh.

How successfully the merchants friend woos the heiress and what happens when the merchant fails to repay the sum on the agreed date is the plays theme.

Adapting a William Shakespeare play is not easy at all. Every word written by him is a responsibility on you as it demands justice. If he chose to write a word, there has to be a reason behind it. In this adaptation, my constant endeavor was to keep the Shakespeare alive in every word that I write, every song that I play, and every emotion that I arise in my audience, says Koushik.

The play is garnished with light hearted jokes peculiar of Rajasthani life-style and hummable and rustic folk music along with a royal Rajputani feel to the entire grandeur.

The play has a rich background score and a few Hindi songs which have been composed by Ravi Rao, the resident music director of the society. Costumes for the princess and women have been designed by famous celebrity designer Mumtaz Khan in Bhopal.

The play will be staged on July 5 at 7 pm at Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44, Gurgaon.

(Tickets: Rs. 350/-, Seating on first come first serve basis

For tickets call @ +91-9873579796 or +91-9873033405

Online @ bookmyshow.com)

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