Lives of Others

All human beings, no matter who the person is, produce waste. But most of us don’t know where it all goes,” says the Pune-based director Suraj Parasnis. The thought that ragpickers and the rest of us live in two different worlds has inspired Kabadi – Uncut, a play which bagged five awards on Sunday at the 15th edition of the recently-concluded youth theatre festival, Thespo.

Kabadi–Uncut follows the story of a ragpicker, Barbie, who finds a camera and shoots a documentary about the landfill when a bunch of film students show up. The young girl shoots a lot of footage of herself, and gets immersed into filmmaking while assisting the students. The narrative is simple, but it’s the device they have employed to tell the story that makes the play stand out.

Parasnis says, “We used light from a projector in the background and actors performing in front of it to depict the footage that Barbie has been shooting. This way, we managed to convert the stage into a screen.” When the footage was shaky, Parasnis, who was sitting in the front row, would shake the projector he was holding to imitate the effect or if the shot was tilted, the actors would tilt their heads, and the projector would follow them.

The Marathi play was written by Siddhesh Purkar about a year ago, and was performed at local competitions in Pune with little success. “It was a 45-minute play earlier, which we extended to 70 minutes. Maybe that is what worked for us,” says Parasnis. The play was staged on December 11 as part of the festival, held at Prithvi Theatre, Juhu.

In order to envision the play, the team had wanted to experience a landfill firsthand. But like many, he had no idea where he could find a landfill. Following a garbage truck, they landed at Hadapsar in Pune. Purkar says, “The whole process of how a garbage truck unloads is so dramatic, I had to write about it. It’s amazing how we know nothing about them, even though we both need

… contd.


BMC is yet to  provide seperate dry-waste collection vehicles to the housing colonies.Despite notices to housing societies, BMC yet to provide waste collection vehicles

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