Hindi play to showcase once popular Parsi theatre genre

It’s not just Parsis in the city who are all geared up to celebrate their new year on Wednesday. A city based cultural group Prayas, is presenting a Hindi drama ‘Marta Kya Na Karta’ on the Parsi theatre style at Scientific Society hall on the occasion of community’s New Year. “Parsi theatre style is replete with humour and witty jokes. It has loud acting and overstated expressions. This style of theatre has now become rare so I am trying to give the audience a taste of it,” says Priyanka Thakur, writer-director of the play.

In the city, Parsis had been organizing plays and cultural activities till a couple of decades back, which have now been replaced with a lot of socialization and festivities to mark this day.

“These plays were produced by Adi Merzban, a Mumbai-based theatre person and were staged in the city too,” says Shernavaz Bohariwala, the former HoD of English at NU. “I remember one play ‘Barrister Bairu’ which was about a woman becoming a barrister and how she harassed her spouse with her ways,” recalls Bohariwala and adds that the plays were always very enjoyable and loaded with humour.

“Some 20 years back, a few plays were staged by members of the community too,” says Shiraz Dongaji a businessman. “My father and brother have acted in these local productions. We would still like to have such activities but do not have the required number of persons who would participate,” he adds.

The community mostly socializes with family and friends who enjoy the delicious Parsi spread on the dining table. “The cultural activities are now happening in September and October when we commemorate the consecration of our Fire Temple in the city and celebrate the birthday of the founder of our religion. These events are usually held at the Parsi Gymkhana,” says Gev Awari, a social activist who belongs to the community.

Parsis follow a 10-day ritual during which homage is paid to the ancestors. “It’s called Muktad and finishes one day before the New Year by putting flower vases as a token of remembrance,” he says and adds that the community now gathers at one place for a sumptuous repast. “Lately, the Parsi Anjuman organizes a get together on New Year day so that the entire community can come together and meet instead of the daylong visits at homes,” Awari says.

Published on TimesOfIndia