Desi Talk - page 14

By Sunthar Visuvalingam
– CHICAGO
andi Theatre Group,
formed by a group of
like-minded local
enthusiasts to produce
Hindi plays in the
Midwest, staged a media preview
of their maiden attempt, a 35-
minute play, “Udan Khatola” here
at the downtown premises of the
Indian Consulate, March 25.
Adapted from acclaimed writer
for All-India Radio, Allahabad,
K.M. Mishra’s radio play “Pushpak
Viman,” the name of Ravana’s fly-
ing chariot, and directed by Mandi
founder Alka Sharma, the skit also
celebrated “World Theater Day”
that fell onMarch 27.
The light-hearted three-act
comedy revolves around the
dream of the protagonist “Mishra
ji” to own a private airplane. The
funny accents, gestures and stu-
pidity converge to create a hilari-
ous drama.
While scanning the newspaper
headlines, in the first act, Mishraji
played by Rachit Trehan is caught
up by a report of a relatively
affordable two-seater pioneered
by German engineers.
He is already discussing plans
with his skeptical wife Shakuntala,
played by Sharma, then with his
more credulous buddy Gyan
Chandji, played by Mohan Rawat.
In the second act, we see the
couch potato enjoying his maiden
flight over his city neighborhood
with wife Shakuntala, only to be
rudely awakened in the final act.
Hilarious moments in the dream
sequence bring typical middle
class attitudes and sentiments to
the fore, including treating the
wife as a dear servant.
Consul General Ausaf Sayeed,
who was joined by others in
laughing over some of the dia-
logue and interaction, praised the
homegrown talent and expressed
satisfaction at being able to host a
Hindi play for the first time.
“Specifically targeted at those
who shifted here during ‘70s and
‘80s, the theme of this play is a
common man’s day to day life.We
wanted to begin with a light-com-
edy so that most Indians living
here can connect to the ‘80’s era,”
Sharma told Desi Talk.
“We adapted somewhat 70 per-
cent from the original and added
few punches. Dialogues were re-
written for a Chicago audience.
The climax has been improvised
to make the ending hilarious. The
characters are the same, but there
is a lot of improvisation,” she
added.
Mandi Theater is dedicated to
producing “classics” of Indian dra-
matic literature that are otherwise
not accessible to a wide audience
in Chicago.
Its threefold mission is to pre-
serve India’s great theatrical tradi-
tion; educate, inform and enter-
tain the Hindi-speaking commu-
nity through content revolving
around social issues and values
pertinent to the lives of young
people; and to strengthen the role
of traditional Indian theater in the
arts community of the Chicago
area, potentially enhancing India’s
reputation.
Mandi founder Sharma is an
actor, dancer, poet and a radio
jockey “RJ Alka.” A freelance writer,
she has been associated with
Aakashwani-Delhi and Shree Ram
Bhartiya Kala Kendra in Delhi.
As channel director, she has
been handling operations for
Hindi radio “Spice Box,” formerly
known as “radio chann pardesi”
since inception.
Trehan is a Chicago-based
actor, singer and filmmaker, who
trained under Ed Hooks. His last
venture was with Rangbaaz the-
atre group inMumbai.
Local entrepreneur and theater
enthusiast Rawat was discovered
by Mandi. In the play, he almost
lived the character of Gyan
Chandji while performing. Besides
hosting shows as a master of cere-
monies, he has walked the ramp
as a model for various clothing
lines and events.
Mandi hopes to bring “Udan
Khalota” to the wider public some-
time inMay.
– that’s all you need to know
14
April 3, 2015
CITY VIEWS
M
Mandi Theater Stages Media Preview of ‘Flying Hammock’
From Chicago Bureau
– DOWNERS GROVE, Ill.
A
lumni from Indian
Institutes of Management
held their annual conven-
tion here at Ashyana Banquets,
March 14. Organized by IIM
Americas, an umbrella entity
uniting all North American
alumni of the IIMs, the conven-
tion was themed “India Inc. – the
New Opportunity?” More than
60 attendees participated in the
talks and panel discussions.
Sunil Chopra, professor at
Kellogg School of Business,
delivered the keynote address on
“Supply Chains for the Future.” A
talk on “The Organics
Opportunity,” by Prof. A.
Thimmaiah from the Maharishi
School of Management, delved
into how rising demand for
organic products could be
exploited at both individual and
business levels.
A panel on business opportu-
nities in India, moderated by
Archana Gidwani, comprised
entrepreneur Udai Kumar, CEO -
OHUM health care Solutions,
professor Anil Maheshwari,
author of “Data Analytics Made
Accessible,” and telecommuni-
cations expert Dwaraka Taparia.
The experts shared their insights
in the areas of health care, smart
cities and telecommunications.
Several alumni also shared their
experiences in creating and
developing startup firms, the
challenges faced and strategies
used in tapping business and
nonprofit opportunities in India.
Professor C. Ranganathan
fromUniversity of Illinois
opened the convention and
shared the mission and the
future plans of IIMAmericas.
Emceed by alumni Akhila Rey
and Poonam Zantye, the event
was organized with the help of
other alumni volunteers includ-
ing Badrish Prakash, Abhishek
Khandelwal, IshaVyas, Krutivas
Mangalapalli, Ashish Kullar and
Vikas Singh.
Front, from left, Vandana Jhingan (TV Asia),
Mahijit S. Virdi (mentor to Mandi), India’s
Consul General in Chicago Ausaf Sayeed,
Alka Sharma, and Information Officer at
the Consulate O.P. Meena; Rear row, from
left, Meenu Jethi (stage setup), Mohan
Rawat, Rachit Trehan, Shirowid Sharma
(technical assistant) and Arti Rawat (sound
engineer).
Alumni of Indian Institutes of Management held their annual convention at Ashyana Banquets, Downers Grove, Illinois, March 14 that featured
a panel comprising, from left, Udai Kumar, moderator Archana Gidwani, Prof. Anil Maheshwari and Dwaraka Taparia.
Indian Institutes of Management Alumni Hold Annual Convention
About 70 to 80 people attended an
early-vote rally hosted by incumbent Mayor
Rahm Emanuel’s South Asian supporters at
Studio Elite on Chicago’s Devon Avenue,
March 28 morning. The main organizers of
the event were Salman Aftab, right, Tariq
Butt, Rana Javed and Shahida Khan. There
was a big turnout of Bangladeshi, Indian
and Pakistani-American supporters.
Emanuel reiterated his agenda and
accomplishments and said that voters
would have to choose between someone
who “doesn’t know what he’s talking
about” and someone who has a proven
record over the last four years. Praising
the mayor’s inclusive policies, Aftab
recounted what Emanuel had done for
Desis and other minorities by appointing
them to key positions and creating the
ethic advisory committee.
Rahm Emanuel
Rallies Desi
Supporters for Early
Vote on Devon
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