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Ambedkar musical: Grand stage ready; first day shows fully booked

The opening show of 'Babasaheb: The Grand Musical' hosted by the Delhi government will be attended by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, his deputy Manish Sisodia

B R Ambedkar, Dalit icon

B R Ambedkar

Press Trust of India New Delhi
A grand stage decked up with thematic props in a capacious hall at the JLN Stadium here is all set to welcome guests for the spectacular musical on the life of social reformer B R Ambedkar from February 25 onwards, with both shows on the opening day fully booked already.
Lead actor Rohit Roy of "Swabhimaan" TV series fame, who is essaying the role of Babasaheb in a Broadway-style musical, and other supporting cast and crew members on Tuesday did rehearsals on stage for the grand musical, which will be hosted from February 25 to March 12.
The opening show of "Babasaheb: The Grand Musical" hosted by the Delhi government will be attended by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, his deputy Manish Sisodia, and several Delhi cabinet ministers, officials said.
AAP lawmaker Atishi, who visited the venue on Tuesday to take stock of the preparations, told reporters that all safety protocols in view of the Covid situation, will be followed and therefore, only 50 per cent of the seats in the big hall would be occupied in any show.
The play will be staged twice every day at 4 PM and 7 PM. The auditorium has a capacity of 2,000, but only alternate seats will be occupied, so about 1,000 people will be able to watch the show at any time, she said.
The shows continuity will also depend as to when will the model code of conduct kick in, she said. Civic polls in Delhi are due in April.
Kejriwal had earlier said tickets will be available for free but people will have to book them in advance due to the limited number of seats.
As on Tuesday, both shows on opening day were fully booked, a senior official said.
Lead actor Roy, 53, said, instead of trying to mimic Ambedkar's look through make-up, "I have tried to slip emotionally into his character, how Babasaheb would have spoken those lines, how would he would have reacted to a particular situation."

"The script is wonderful, which I keep doing over and over again to deliver the lines more effectively," he said.
The play on the architect of the Indian Constitution will be showcased on a 100-ft arena having a 40-ft revolving stage, which has been mounted with a thematic design. Stagecraft also include digital props and spectacular play of light and shadow.
The stage has been decked with decorative digital screens in the proscenium area and also embedded with props, which bear images of 'Mooknayak' newspaper that Ambedkar used to bring out, and words associated with his life, and titles of books written by him.
The screens will display a matrix of words like, 'The Annihilation of Caste', 'Pakistan or the Partition of India', 'The Buddha and his Dhamma', and innside screens carry, 'Nayak', 'Riddles in Hinduism', etc.
The music and songs, include contributions from the Indian Ocean band, and in the climax song, singer Shubha Mudgal has lent her powerful voice, which Roy said, "gave me goosebumps".
The duration of the play is about two hours and will also showcase a mix of theatrics, acrobatics and choral performance to background music. The script is embedded with social commentary on the plight of the Dalit community and their struggle.
About 30 supporting cast and crew members, drawn largely from an acting studio in Delhi, are part of the production.
Delhi-based Disha Sharma, who plays the role of Ambedkar's first wife Ramabai, said, "We all know about the struggles of Ambedkar, but his wife managed the entire household with children, when he went to Columbia University for higher studies. She was a Dalit and a woman, and her sacrifices also need to be known."

Nagpur-born Gauri Dewal, who graduated from the National School of Drama in 2008, is playing the role of Ambedkar's second wife Savita Ambedkar, who was a doctor.
"I grew up in Nagpur, so aware of the legacy of Babasaheb, and his memorial I have seen there. Also, as a child I had once played the role of 'Ambedkar', so it's kind of destined I believe to play his wife now, after so many years," she told PTI.
Earlier, the play was to be staged from January 5 but it was postponed due to the rise in COVID-19 cases in the national capital.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Sisodia on December 23 had told reporters that the play on Ambedkar will be organised here on a grand scale to tell the story of his struggle and inspire others.
It would be done on a grand scale at a big venue, "on Western musicals, Broadway style, Sisodia had said.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Feb 23 2022 | 2:00 AM IST

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