Beyond the physical borders or imaginary constraints, there exists a commonality that brings all humans together. The power to transgress all such hindrances is curtailed within the enigmatic space of art forms. And one such art form that shines through its visual medium surpassing all tides of “shadow lines” is “theatre arts”.

On 31st March 2024, four young CULT actors came from The Kerala School of Drama and Fine Arts, University of Calicut, to exhibit talent up the stage of the theatre arts department of Sarojini Naidu School, in a way the holistic space had never seen before.

It was a display of a play based on the compilation of the stories of Saadat Hasan Manto- Tamasha, Ten Rupees, Smell, Dog of Tetwal, Rats of Shahdol and The Hundred-Watt Bulb, which made the evening of students of Hyderabad Central University special.

Quite like the art form itself, the Malayalam play seemed to transcend linguistic and all other regional barriers, a prominent theme in all of Manto’s work. Like smooth flowing water, the craft of these students moulded to take up different bodies, characters, stories, symbols, motifs, and emotions, spontaneously.

The drama began with a startling goosebump-generating wailing of a lamentation, setting the mood of the audience. With Subin K K’s lighting, and the masterful use of easily dispensable utility items the four actors Sarath Meraki, Shibil Paravath, Garggi Ananthan and Aswathy Raj, set the stage on fire.

From the thump of the tin box to the rustling of the dry leaves, to the resounding chords of the mouth organ, the creation of authentic raw music and natural sound was nothing less than a stellar sight to witness.

Neelam Man Singh Chowdhry, the director of the play, rightfully described, “Violence, memory, eroticism, and resistance as the running leitmotif of the narratives,” and even though the stories of partition were emotionally distant to these actors of Kerala the reiterating theme of the inherent “capacity of human beings to rebuild their world over and over again despite destruction and loss” was the one that struck a chord with everyone.

“Resilience” was poignantly found in the artistic frames of the narratives, within the struggles, within the giggles, within the sobbing, within the fragmented uncertain frameworks full of possibilities, which made the 7th hour of the evening of 31st March a treasurable sight to behold.

Written by Ishika Mukherjee (MA Communication- Media Studies student), Pictures contributed by Parth Prajapati (MA theatre Arts Student)