It was a perfect closure to Hyderabad Literary Festival. Two prominent personalities of Indian history were brought to life by the Bangalore Little Theatre group. Titled The Prophet and Poet: Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore, this play focused on the relationship they shared over the years. One called the other Mahatma, while the other addressed him as Gurudev.
Directed by Vijay Padaki, it was the letters exchanged between the great leaders that form the crux of the show. The 25 years of freedom struggle period became the backdrop. The play opens with the last words of both the leaders and takes the audience through a backward journey to their first-ever meeting.
Even though both the leaders had contrasting ideologies, they shared mutual respect. In the letters they exchanged, one can sense the disapprovals, but, at the same time, their constant effort to find some common ground. Over the years, they met on several occasions and exchanged several ideas. Their paths were different, but the goal was the same.
There are a few things in the play which catch the attention of the audience. Like the poem penned down by Rabindranath Tagore when Gandhi broke his fast in Pune. It became a ritual that it was sung everytime Mahatma broke his fast. Likewise, when Rabindranath Tagore fell unconscious for almost 62 hours, Gandhi constantly kept checking on him through telegram. It is these small snippets from their life that makes the play authentic.
The script of the play stayed absolutely faithful to the original letters. All the theatre group did was give it a proper form and structure. There are mainly three characters in the play that tried to maintain a balance between storytelling and empathising with the characters.
The roles were played by young actors who explored the life of the leaders. And the third character is the link between the present and the past that connects the characters with the audience. The settings for the show were simple like the script demanded.