‘Ghalib in New Delhi’ wows packed audience at SIBF 2021
Visiting Indian theatre group Pierrot’s Troupe stages India’s longest-running
comedic play at the 40thSharjah International Book Fair
For immediate release
Sharjah, November 7, 2021
What happens when one of India’s most celebrated poets time travels and jumps straight out of the 18th century to land in the present-day world? Pandemonium and laughter ensue, of course!
This what a packed audience of theatre-goers discovered at the staging of one of India’s most popular comedic plays, ‘Ghalib in New Delhi’, at the 40th Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF).
“Our biggest challenge was to evoke the right emotions and spirit of the audience while keeping the humour alive and roaring,” said Dr. M. Sayeed Alam, the director and playwright who also plays the role of the protagonist, Mirza Ghalib, the famous court poet of the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar.
“It was a relief in the end to be able to pull it off with ease on such a huge platform [SIBF] before a diverse and discerning crowd,” added Dr Alam, who has in the past led the Pierrot’s Troupe to stage his play across the UK and USA. “Performing on SIBF’s globally-acclaimed cultural stage is both a great honour and privilege,” added Alam a successful close of the production, which is said to be India’s longest running comedic play that has been staged over 500 times since 1997.
‘Ghalib in New Delhi’ chronicles the travails of Mirza Ghalib as he revisits his beloved city with high hopes of savouring his posthumous poetic legacy, only to find it damaged and misinterpreted by Indian sub-continent’s top mainstream celebrities – from Bollywood’s Salman Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vicky Kaushal to retired cricketers like Inzamam-ul-Haq, Shahid Afridi and Virender Sehwag from both India and Pakistan.
The plot revolves around Ghalib striving against an ever-present identity crisis, beginning with the loss of his haveli (ancestral bungalow) to new occupants, to people mistaking the revered poet for a djinn.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, and Ghalib decides to ‘sell’ or market himself in one last-ditched attempt at restoring his lost glory. He appoints an agency for the job with the clarity that what it gives him shouldn’t be cheap publicity. This leads to some stark, thought-provoking observations on present-day mores and ethics.
More such thought-provoking and masterfully presented stage shows, plays and concerts will be taking the SIBF 2021 stage until November 13 in Expo Centre Sharjah. All these shows are free to attend. For more information, visit https://www.sibf.com/en/home.
- Images during the play