Aishveryaa Nidhi's GANDHARI...IN SEARCH OF LIGHT to Play Hollywood Fringe
The great Indian epic, Mahabharata, is the longest poem ever written. It is believed that it is (roughly) ten times the length of the Iliad and the Odyssey put together. The epic battle -- Kurukshetra War -- fought between the two camps of cousins -- Pandavas and the Kauravas is central to the Mahabharata (great tale of the Bharata dynasty) which forms an integral part of Indian mythology and cultural heritage.
Gandhari, the mother of 100 sons -- the Kauravas -- and daughter, Dusshala -- is the most tragic character in the Mahabharata because the boon with which she is blessed turns into a disastrous bane. Forced to marry a blind man, Dhritarashtra, Gandhari decides to protest against arbitrary male power and dynasty politics. She blindfolds herself not out of devotion for her husband but as an act of rebellion.
In a 60-minute solo act performance, artist and theatre personality Aishveryaa Nidhi promises to enact some of the unread, yet crucial, chapters of a woman's life who embraced darkness with open arms. Premiered at Sydney's most respected venue, National Institute of Dramatic Arts, Australia, the play 'GANDHARI...IN SEARCH OF LIGHT' is a quest for the woman hidden beneath glorious tales of heroes and wars.
It was not Gandhari who chose to block sunlight out of her life; it was us who turned a blind eye and deaf ear to a woman's pain, a wife's pleas and a mother's cries.
Produced by Abhinay School of Performing Arts Inc., Australia and directed by Arvind Gaur; Gandhari speaks her heart out for the first time. She assumes centre-stage and narrates the Mahabharata from her perspective. This thought-provoking production garnered appreciation and opened to rave reviews when performed in Australia and India.
Could Gandhari have averted the war had she not been determined with her resolve? She refuses to bless her sons for the Kurukshetra War and remains strong in her anti-war and pro-justice stand. But did her stand help?
The relevance of the play in the contemporary world is significant. It highlights the anti-war theme and the role of women, especially the mother in educating the society to give up violence.
According to news reports, Bollywood actor Anil Kapoor of the Oscar-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire fame has recently commented, "I believe 'Ramayana' and 'Mahabharata' can be upgraded and executed for the international audience. They would be loved for sure. In fact, the writers of 'Mission Impossible' once told me that they were looking for a script which they wanted to shoot in India. I had suggested (the story of) Akbar - The Great. It would have made for a phenomenal story, similar on the lines of 'Game of Thrones'."
Gandhari was a very strong and intelligent woman, who closed her eyes to protest against her marriage which was a violation of her right as a woman, at a time when her contemporaries like Kunti and Madri were free to choose their husbands. Had she exercised her power as the Queen, she could have discouraged her sons from waging a war against their own brothers and kin.
About the Actor-Aishveryaa Nidhi - Aishveryaa Nidhi is an accomplished Indian Australian Actor and director. She is the only Indian Australian actress to be nominated for Best Actress Award in Short & Sweet, Sydney 2009, the biggest festival of 10 minute plays on the planet, for her powerful performance in Mandragora, written by David Sharpe and directed by Lisa Eismen. She is also the only Indian Australian director in Sydney whose work was invited to be performed in People's Choice Showcase in Short+Sweet festival Sydney where her play 'Irish Stew' was adjudged third in 'Audience Choice' awards. She has received numerous community awards for her contribution to promoting art & culture. Under her able guidance her school has won 'Community group of the year' award at St George Community Awards, Sydney for two consecutive years 2014 and 2015. She was invited by Opera Australia as a coach for Lakme for movements, gestures and physicality for the lead actress and crew and has worked with Sydney Theatre Company in award winning John Birmingham's Leviathan, adapted and directed by Stefo Nantsou, resident director STC and also 'The other way' written & directed by Stefo Nansou.
About the Director - Arvind Gaur, eminent Indian theatre director, is known for his work in socially and politically relevant theatre. Gaur's plays are contemporary and thought-provoking, connecting intimate personal spheres of existence to larger social political issues. His work examines subjects like communalism, caste issues, feudalism, domestic violence, crimes of state, and politics of power, violence, injustice, social discrimination, marginalisation, and racism. Arvind is the founder of Asmita, Delhi's 'most prolific theatre group', and is also an actor trainer, social activist, street theatre worker and story teller.
Gaur was the recipient of a research fellowship awarded by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (India) (1997-98). He was on the guest faculty of Delhi University for Theatre in education program for three years. He has conducted many theatre workshops and performed in various colleges, institutions, universities and schools in India and abroad. He has organized theatre workshops for children in schools and slums as well as street theatre performances on different socio-political issues. He has directed more than 72 stage plays over two decades.
IF YOU GO:
GANDHARI...IN SEARCH OF LIGHT?
Hollywood Fringe Festival 2016
Sunday, June 19, 3:30 PM
Saturday, June 25, 2.30 PM
Sunday, June 26, 5.30 PM
All shows are in Hindi with subtitles in English, making it suitable for multi-cultural audiences.
Asylum (Inter)national House, 6500 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90038
For more information, visit www.aishveryaanidhi.com.