Adakar’s Kanjoos at Riverside Theatre


A  new theatre group, Adakar, is working on its first production of a north Indian adaptation of Moliere’s comedy The Miser. Adakar’s play will be staged at The Riverside theatre, Parramatta, on 28 September.

Kanjoos is set in mid-20th century northern India, and is, in the words of director Saba Abdi, “a blend of satire and humour, exploring the depths of greed, lust and manipulation”. Kanjoos follows the dilemmas of Mirza Sakhawat Baig, a stingy old man, obsessed with his wealth. Saba says, “Kanjoos is a hilarious classical comedy that explores the depths of human greed, lust and manipulation, which is universally relevant and appealing. The fast-moving plot will ensure that the play is thoroughly entertaining”.

Mirza Sakhawat Baig, contrary to his name, is obsessed with the wealth that he has accumulated and is always ready to grab more but spend nothing. Now a widower, he has a son Farrukh, and a daughter Azra whom he wants to marry for money. Although Mirza is over 60, he is determined to marry an attractive young girl Mariyam who is actually in love with Farrukh. The complication arises when Mirza’s treasure gets stolen, only to be resolved at the end by a rather conventional discovery that some of the principal characters are long lost relatives.

The play is directed by Saba Abdi and is based on Hazrat Awara’s adaptation of Moliere’s The Miser. Radhika Mathur is the assistant director. Others involved in the production are Rajeev Maini, design, Mala Mehta, costume design, and Druvjyoti Ghosh, lighting. The cast includes Amitav Goswami, Shashi Dandekar, Aparna Vats, Ambika Asthana, Asif Ghafoor Khan, Vikas Sehgal, Nisar Surghru, Satish Mathur, Pankaj Yadav, Sunjay Kalra, Khuram and Saba Zaidi Abdi.

Adakar aims to be a non-commercial drama group focusing on South Asian communities. Theatre lovers and other drama experts have come together in a voluntary effort to promote the cultural needs and expressions of the Indian and South Asian diaspora in Australia. Adakar will use money from ticket sales and sponsorships to cover the costs of production.

Speaking to The Indian Sun, founder-member Saba said that Adakar will be promoting local talent and stories in its future plays. Saba is a seasoned theatre professional trained in Indian’s National School of Drama as well as NIDA in Sydney. The main idea behind the theatre group, Saba said, is to provide a platform for the local South Asian community, particularly the generation that grew up in Australia, to express themselves in art.

Saba says that the group initially explored the possibility of a play on issues of identity but most members of the group felt that a comedy would be a good way to get started.

Saba says Riverside Theatre in Parramatta will keep the event in the heart of one of the largest sub-continental residential areas in Sydney. Rehearsals are currently on at Auburn as well as the premises of the Hindi school run by Mala Mehta. Discussions are also underway to stage the play as part of the Parramasala.

Published in The Indian Sun (Indian Magazine in Australia)

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