Clean Design

15: Lohar (Hindi 1999)
Play: Lohar (Hindi 1999)
Playwright: Balwant Gargi
Design and Direction: S.M. Azhar Alam

Synopsis: One of Balwant Gargi’s finest play in Hindi, Lohar/Lohakut focuses on the emotional tensions in a traditional Punjabi family of blacksmiths. The furnace used by the blacksmith is reiterated and the fire becomes a symbol of the emotional fire consuming many members of the family.

The play Lohakut is about a village woman married for 18 years who summons up the courage to end her loveless marital relationship and seek a new life with the lover of her youthful days. And giving an edge to this near-revolutionary concept of women’s liberation in rural India is the fact that it is the woman’s teenage daughter who shows her the way by eloping with her lover on the eve of her conventional marriage arranged by her father.

Clean Design

Press reviews:

“Hearing a name like Little Thespians, you may be forgiven for thinking that they specialize in children’s theatre. Far from it. This young group, a recent addition to local Hindi – language theatre, has chosen for its fourth production Lohar – a Hindi translation of Balwant Gargi’s debut play, Lohakut, which in 1944 revolutionized Punjabi theatre with its stark, no-holds-barred depiction of rural domesticity…..rightly, S. M. Azhar Alam’s direction in Lohar does not point an accusing finger at the blacksmith who, after all, only represents what society has ingrained in him…the lead role may well be Subrata Chowdhury’s best performance to date – hard-working, physical, yet with a soft interior easily hurt by the insult to family honour. Uma jhunjhunwala also acts well as his wife, while Karuna Thakur shows promise as their headstrong daughter. Apart from the emphasis on a realistic style, the detailed set of a village hut deserves special mention….the production also feature a couple of big backstage names as well: Aim Rasheed Khan has composed the music and Tapas Sen designed the lights.”
The Telegraph, Friday, 15 October 1999

“S.M Azhar Alam’s direction is fast paced and he gets good performances out of his actors. The interaction amongst the characters is well handled. Tapas Sen’s sensitive lighting creates a magic around the furnace in the corner and Ain Rashid Khans music matches the finale ……….
The Statesman, Kolkata, Friday 10th August 2001

“The presentation of the play is so powerful and impressive that one has to give all the credit to the director S.M. Azhar Alam for this. With each play he is proving himself as a director and this is quite a good sign.”
Weekly Jansansar, Kolkata, June 3, 2001

“Little Thespian, a Kolkata theatre group founded in 1994…..performing in Delhi as part of the Fifth National Theatre Festival organized by the National School of Drama, did well in staging Lohar which has a simple theme powerfully portrayed….the powerful performances of the actors caught the eye. The director S.M. Azhar Alam sets and maintained a good tempo, which is the hallmark of a good director.”
The Statesman, New Delhi, April 4, 2003

“….powerful performance by the actors…. Stage design was very symbolic and attractive.…each component symbolizing the various aspects of life…the iron wall of the set representing the harsh and cruel attitude of the society towards the feelings of the woman…..the flame of the furnace changing according to the mood or emotions of the characters… ”
Hindustan, New Delhi, March 31, 2003

“Such is the presentation that it forces the audience to think…nevertheless there is no two opinion about the fact that the director along with his actors have done their utmost to make the play very powerful….. ‘Lohakut’ is Little Thespian’s one of those production that will leave an indelible mark on the memory of its audience…. ”
Jansatta, Kolkata, May 13, 2009

“The play is very much revolutionizing as because what the director has tried to show cannot be very easily accepted by the men folk even today….. Kudos to the director for some of the scenes which were very classically presented……for bringing out the best performances from his actors…..The music (by late Ain Rasheed Khan) and lights (by Late Tapas Sen) were equally effective in bringing out the various emotional tornado in the lives of the characters……”
Chappte Chappte, Kolkata, Monday, May 25, 2009