Raunaq & Jassi aims to compete higher for the act

It would have been foolhardy to talk of making a stage play from a magnum opus like Mughal-e-Azam before Feroz Abbas Khan successfully pulled it off. Now, with his new musical, Raunaq & Jassi, he aims to compete higher against himself. A story of love, not Romeo and Juliet, but the lines are still in verse.

Khan has Neha Sargam, who had previously played Anarkali, to play the female lead, preferring not to mess with the tried and tested. Piyush Kanojia is the music director and the dance sequences are choreographed by Mayuri Upadhay. Teaching the actors to make the blank verse, written by Iqbal Raj, the natural sound was an experiment that had never been done before.  As created by Manish Malhotra, a Punjab of the 1950s; diction, music and all, including a matching retro wardrobe.

Khan maintains that the story of love is symbolic and the product of “the days in which we live, as the theatre is at its most strong when it resides in the domain of the metaphorical,” he adds.

Hate and love have existed since the beginning of mankind as universal emotions. Khan’s play is aimed at showing that emotions are greater than class, ethnicity, and state or country. However, like all other star-crossed couples, Raunaq, Jassi prove that the greater emotion is passion.

The game resonates with the young lovers thus restoring affection for the elderly. At Mukesh Patel Auditorium, NMIMS, Vile Parle, the play is playing in Mumbai.

Excerpts from Morn to Dusk — The final day of the 50th anniversary of NCPA, Mumbai Curated by Swapnokalpa Dasgupta, the dance performances were selected to “represent various styles with variations.” Dasgupta says that they aimed to remember all the dancers who had worked with the National Center for Performing Arts (NCPA) over the years and had stories to share.

By adding dance appreciation and lecture demo modules as part of the overall dance experience, Dasgupta hoped to help the audience develop and foster a greater understanding and appreciation of classical dances in them.

Nonetheless, the choices made on December 1 for the Morn to Dusk performances showed that a curator could perfectly comfortably match the classical with the contemporary.

Sriyah, with pride, would have made Protima Bedi smile by The Nrityagram Dance Ensemble Company. The three brief shows were a perfect blend of music and action, performed with elegance, characteristic of the dance style, and with a fire that illuminated the movements of the dancers.