- Language: Hindostani
- City / State: Maharashtra
- Directed By: Mohit Takalkar
- Produced By: Aasakta Kalamanch
A play about faith, family and societal constructs of gender
Based on the myth of Abraham, Chaheta(The Beloved) imagines what happened after father and son come down from the mountain. The play explores the psychological scars wrought upon Abraham’s son after surviving the traumatic event and attempts to question the sanity and sanctity of people who claim to converse with God.
A play about faith, family and societal constructs of gender
Three great religions- Islam, Christianity, and Judaism- share the story of Abraham binding and nearly sacrificing his son. Though based on this myth, Chaheta(The Beloved) is not the story of ‘that’ Abraham; it imagines what happened after father and son come down from the mountain. The play explores the psychological scars wrought upon Abraham’s son after surviving the traumatic event. Did Abraham bring his young son to the mountain for the purpose of human sacrifice, as his wife and son believe, or was he simply trying to toughen up his sensitive young son with a father-and-son camping trip? Did an angel of God in the form of a brown sheep, actually intervene on the mountain as scriptures dictate?
Chaheta’s dysfunctional family misplaced in time, walks a fascinating line between inclusivity and alienation and in turn attempts to question the sanity and sanctity of people who claim to converse with God. The violent abstraction that sometimes borders on the absurd takes us to a place far more insidious than we can imagine.
RASIKA AGASHE (MOTHER)
SAGAR DESHMUKH (SON)
Mohit Takalkar, trained as a professional chef, set up his own theatre group Aasakta in Pune in 2003. Active in... various aspects of theatre for the past eighteen years, Takalkar and the group are widely acclaimed by both the audience and the critics. His plays have been regularly invited to various national and international festivals. His first venture as a director was Girish Karnad’s Yayati in 2000. Since then, he has directed more than thirty plays including, Mein Huun Yusuf Aur Ye Hai Mera Bhai, Chaheta, F-1/105, Uney Purey Shahar Ek, Mosambi Narangi, Comrade Kumbhakarna, Gajab Kahani, Garbo, Tu and Kashmir Kashmir. He is also a well-known film editor and screen director. His debut feature The Bright Day, premiered at the Toronto International Festival and was also screened at various film festivals across London, New York and Shanghai. His documentary Chirebandi, on the life and works of Mahesh Elkunchwar, was produced by the Sahitya Akademi. His next feature, Medium Spicy, is slated to be released in June 2020. Mohit Takalkar is a recipient of the Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar, Homi Bhabha Fellowship, Shankar Nag Theatre Award, Aditya Vikram Birla Kalakiran Puraskar, Amrish Puri Award, Sahitya Rangbhoomi Fellowship, Zee Gaurav Puraskar, Mama Varerkar Puraskar, and Maharashtra State Award amongst many others. A Charles Wallace Scholar with a Postgraduate degree in Theatre from the University of Exeter, he also runs his own restaurant Barometer, in Pune.
- Best Innovative Sound Design
Pradeep Vaiddya has been working in theatre for over twenty years as a writer, director, music composer, singer, light designer,... theatre trainer & theatre manager. He graduated as part of the first batch of SMART Course Programme (a joint programme by Junoon, ITF & IFA). He has, to his credit, a META for ‘Best Light Design’ in 2007, 2011& 2016 besides several nominations across these years. Other prestigious awards for his all-round work in theatre include MIFTA (2012), Zee Gaurav Awards for lights (2008, 2013, 2015) for writing (2014, 2019) for setting and direction (2019) Tanveer Natyadharmi Puraskar (2012). His organisation, Expression Lab has been making a crucial impact on Pune's Theatre ecosystem over the last 10 years. He is presently working on projects of developing alternate spaces for theatre.
- Best Light Design
RASIKA AGASHE (Mother)
A National School of Drama (NSD) graduate specialising in acting and performing arts, Rasika has successfully established herself both as... an actor and director. Whether its on television or on stage, Rasika’s soulful performances in Wedding Album, Museum Of Species In Danger, and Chaheta to name a few, have always been able to draw applause. As a director, Rasika has a very unique style of highlighting socio-political issues that prevail today and rejuvenating hope for a weaker section of society. With her directorial ventures in theatre which include, Museum Of Species In Danger, Andhere Ke Romio Juliet, Sat Bhashe Raidas and Gandhi And Me, she brings to light the issue of gender, caste and religious discrimination. In the capacity of a director cum coach, Rasika is also a part of a theatre group named Being Association. She has single-handedly started a theatre festival called, ‘Sanhita Manch’, that gives new playwrights a platform to stage their plays and perform across the county. The festival also includes panel discussions and masterclasses by renowned theatre and film personalities. She is also in the process of curating an online e-library that will house old scripts and stories by celebrated writers and authors.
- Best Actor in a Lead Role (Female)
SAGAR DESHMUKH (Son)
A lawyer by education, Sagar took his first theatre lesson in 1999, in the Progressive Dramatic Association, Pune. While acting... is his main strength, he also dabbles in writing and directing. A founding member of Aasakta Kalamanch, Pune, Sagar has acted in more than 25 plays and his notable works include Marathi plays like Matra Ratra, Tichee 17 Prakarne, Uney Purey Shahar Ek, F-1/105, Mein Huun Yusuf Aur Ye Hai Mera Bhai and Chaheta. He was also a part of the Hindi production, Piya Behrupiya, directed by Atul Kumar, which premiered at The Globe Theatre, London. His English productions include Kashmir Kashmir and Noises Off. Sagar has also been a part of Grips Theatre’s Pune chapter and has performed in plays like Sapadli Yukti Sapadli, Stronger than Superman, Aai Pan Baba Pan. His encounter with mainstream plays includes performances like Lagnakallol, Lochya Zala Rey, Mukkampost Bombilwadi and Aaila Ho Rey. As a writer, Sagar has translated and adapted Bradley Hayward’s Legitimate Hooey and Duncan Wells’ A Girl Who Lives Under My Bed to Matra Ratra and Bed ke Neeche Rehnewali respectively. His original works include Talyat Malyat and Shillak. He penned Shillak while he was part of the Writers' Bloc of Royal Court Theatre, London and Rage Theatre, India. Sagar has also been a written dialogues for Eka Laganichi Tisri Goshta- a daily soap on a Marathi Television Channel. A recipient of the Zee Gaurav Puraskar for his performance in Matra Ratra, Sagar can often be seen in television commercials. His performances in Hindi feature film Hunter and Marathi feature film YZ have been widely appreciated by both audiences and critics. At present, he is enacting the role of Babasaheb Ambedkar in a biographic television series.
- Best Actor in a Lead Role (male)
This is my second collaboration with Zuabi after 2016's Main Huun Yusuf Aur Ye Hai Mera Bhai, and is yet another piece of proof for the theory. What attracted me to this play was the flawed and underlying masculinity being called out to the nature of guilt as well as the responsibility and morality of instrumentalising human life. The first reading of the play was an unforgettably unnerving experience for me. Chaheta integrates elements from the Qur’an and Genesis, such that devotees of each might still claim ownership. Names matter when dealing with the important issue of lineal succession. The decision to not provide names to any character except for Abraham, deliberates ambiguity regarding names and enhances the play’s mythical status. Through these careful choices, Chaheta invites people of all religions across the world to enter into the story and see it through their own faith and in turn question their religion, the burden of myths associated and the judgment handed over.
Charting the very slow-burning journey of a son who simply cannot connect with anyone in the real world, the play blends mournful poetic instances with brute reality. These dueling registers attempt to reflect the trauma of the boy and are emotionally illuminating.
For me, the play is allegorical, satirical, anti-realist, and one that defies genre labels. A frontal attack on patriarchal assumptions, Chaheta is a also a play about a weakened father figure who must face his own hubris.