Tumhari Amrita

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Tumhari Amrita
Written by Javed Siddiqui (Indian adaptation)
Characters Amrita & Zulfi
Date premiered 1992
Place premiered Prithvi Theatre, Mumbai

Tumhari Amrita is a epistolary play directed by Feroz Abbas Khan. Its original cast includes Shabana Azmi and Farooq Sheikh.[1][2] It is an Indian context adaptation of A. R. Gurney's American play, Love Letters (1988), and the Hindi/Urdu version was created in 1992 by playwright Javed Siddiqui. After its première at Prithvi Theatre, Mumbai in February 1992, it has been staged at venues across India, Europe, US and Pakistan.[1][3]

The story of unrequited love is read out through reams of love letters between Amrita Nigam and Zulfikar Haider, exchanged over 35 years, starting with Amrita's eighth birthday party in the 1940, when she first wrote to the ten-year-old Zulfi.[1][4]

Development[edit]

Following productions of The Royal Hunt of the Sun (1991), All the Best, and Eva Mumbai Ma Chaal Jaiye[5][6] Feroz Abbas Khan read Pulitzer Prize-nominated Love Letters, (1988) by A. R. Gurney. In 1991 Feroz met Guerney in Mumbai, and the producer started working on the play. Feroz approached playwright and screenwriter Javed Siddiqui to work on script. Siddiqui in turn also liked the play and wrote it as a new play, set in Indian context to be produced under the banner of Javed Siddiqui Productions. Shabana Azmi and Farroque Shaikh agreed to play the leads.[7] The central character of Amrita is reportedly based on bohemian Indian painter Amrita Sher-Gil (1913–1941).[8]

Staging history[edit]

Tumhari Amrita made its début at the Jennifer Kapoor Festival held at Prithvi Theatre, Mumbai in February 1992, under the direction of Feroz Abbas Khan, as tribute to Jennifer Kapoor on her birthday.[5]

As per the direction, the actors do not memorize the script but read out the letters kept on their writing desks throughout the performance. The play lasts 1 hour and 30 minutes. Director Feroz Khan was apprehensive on the outset, feeling that the work was too experimental for Hindi audiences. The play has since toured the world, including US, Europe and Pakistan, performing over 300 shows and acquired a cult status.[1][9]

The February 2006 shows, in Karachi and Islamabad in Pakistan, were performed to raise money for earthquake victims.[4] In her 2009 interview, lead actor Shabana Azmi said, " Amrita is the character I've enjoyed playing the most in my entire career." [10] The play returned to Prithvi theatre in November 2010, performed during the eight-day festival of Jana Natya Manch (Janam), a theatre company set up by Safdar Hashmi, to raise fund for building a theatre space in Delhi.[11] The play celebrated its 20 year anniversary, with performance at the Bandra Fort in Mumbai.[12] The last staging of this show was at Agra as part of the 2nd TAJ LITERATURE FESTIVAL on 14 Dec 2013. It was one of the most revered performances of the duo.<http://tajliteraturefestival.com/programs.html>

Reception[edit]

After its 2006 performance in Pakistan, leading daily Dawn, ran a headline, "Shabana, Farooque Enthral Audience", while another Daily Times's feature on the play said "From India with Love".[13]

Legacy[edit]

After the success of Tumhari Amrita, the sequel Aapki Soniya, also written by Javed Siddiqqi, had its premiere at Prithvi Theatre, Juhu, on September 28, 2004. It was directed by Salim Arif and lead roles performed by Sonali Bendre and Farooque Shaikh.[14]

The play was also adopted in 1998 in Marathi language as Prempatra (Love Letter) and was directed by Waman Kendre with Neena Kulkarni playing the lead role.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d With Love, Tumhari Amrita The Times of India, Feb 2, 2011,
  2. ^ Vijaykumar, Chithira (January 20, 2011). "On a creative high". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 
  3. ^ Their letters won our hearts The Times of India, TNN 21 January 2009.
  4. ^ a b "Shabana to stage quake fund-raiser play". Gulf Times. 22 February 2006. 
  5. ^ a b "In the spotlight: The best of director Feroz Khan will be on stage at the Old World Theatre Festival". The Hindu. Chennai, India. November 27, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Feroz Khan". Times of India. Dec 11, 2002. 
  7. ^ Writing its own destiny Screen (magazine), Namita Nivas, Nov 28, 2008.
  8. ^ Digital encounters The Hindu, August 13, 2006.
  9. ^ Action Replay Indian Express, 1 September 1999.
  10. ^ "There's an Amrita and Zulfi in all of us: Shabana". Times of India. Nov 27, 2009. 
  11. ^ "Theatre for theatre". Indian Express. Nov 26, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Celebrating 20 years of tumhari Amrita". The Times of India. Mar 1, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Shabana, Farooque enthral theatre lovers in Pakistan". The Tribune. February 22, 2006. 
  14. ^ "Soaking in the spotlight". Indian Express. September 16, 2004. 
  15. ^ Poojari, Chatura (April 15, 1998). "Credit that counts". Indian Express. Retrieved December 22, 2012. 

External links[edit]