Da­raundi ko Pani at Shilpee Theatre

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Da­raundi ko Pani, a play that re­casts from a piece of his­tory, is cur­rently be­ing staged at Shilpee Theatre in Bat­tisputali. As its sub­ject, the play, writ­ten and di­rected by Aashant Sharma, draws on ac­tual events that tran­spired in Gorkha dru­ing Ram Shah's regime, his death and the con­se­cra­tion of the fa­mous Manaka­mana Tem­ple. “There is a short­age of plays based on his­tory in Nepali theatre. Plays like Ranadullav, by Natya Siro­mani Balkr­ishna Sama, and Amar Singh come to mind, which were writ­ten in the last cen­tury. In the resur­gence of Nepali theatre, which many term a re­nais­sance, there have been no at­tempts to adapt his­tory into drama,” said direc­tor Sharma. Speak­ing about the ge­n­e­sis of the play Da­raundi ko Pani, direc­tor Sharma said, “As a stu­dent of his­tory, I felt the dearth of his­tor­i­cal plays strongly. I have been read­ing this fa­mous his­tor­i­cal text Gorkha Ban­sawali, which nar­rates the events that tran­spired in Gorkha, in the run up of the Shah dy­nasty. Da­raundi ko Paani is a fic­tion­al­i­sa­tion of an episode of the text.” Da­raundi ko Paani tells the story of Sid­dha Lakhan Thapa Ma­gar (not to be con­fused with Lakhan Thapa, of­ten cited as the first Nepali mar­tyr), who is ap­pointed by King Ram Shah as a helper for his wife. The drama picks up as King Shah dies and his widow, Queen Lila Wati, kills her­self by climb­ing onto the fu­neral pyre (Sati), even though Ma­gar re­quests her not to. “There is some sort of un­told love be­tween the queen and Ma­gar, and I have fic­tion­alised that,” said Sharma. Sharma also said “with the play, I am try­ing to in­spire re­searchers and read­ers to peel be­neath the façade that is Nepali his­tory.” Da­raundi ko Pani fea­tures ac­tors Namita Ghis­ing (as Lila Wati), Ajashra Dhun­gana (as King Ram Shah), Prayas Bantawa Rai (Lakhan Thapa Ma­gar), Ka­mal Pyasi Devkota (Guru Go­rakhnath) and Bina Thapa (Bish­nuwati, King Ram Shah's first wife), in the lead roles. The play is cur­rently on stage at Shilpee Theatre in Bat­tisputali ev­ery day at 5:30 pm and will run through August 15.

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