Reviving an old Tharu story with a modern twistTharu is the fourth most-spoken language in Nepal but the representation of the community who speak it in Nepal’s mainstream art and theatre is regrettably scarce, says Pranab Akash, director of a new Tharu-language play called Karot.
Tharu is the fourth most-spoken language in Nepal but the representation of the community who speak it in Nepal’s mainstream art and theatre is regrettably scarce, says Pranab Akash, director of a new Tharu-language play called Karot.
Karot is just the second Tharu-language play being staged in Kathmandu; the first, Bhurbhura Rahar staged in 2015, was also directed by Akash.
“The play is universal in its theme and can be understood by non Tharu speakers as well. But with it I wanted to portray the changing socio-economic landscape of the Tharu community,” Akash says.
Karot tells a story centred on how selfishness and greed wreaks havoc in a happy, middle-class family, according to Akash. The play features a family with two couples and their mother. It derives its conflict when the wife of the younger brother finds a traditional, golden tilahari. The wife then harbours a devious plan to break away from the family and use the money acquired in exchange of the tilahari for the couple only. But things do not go as planned. Incidences involving the mass migration of Tharu youths for jobs abroad also make it into the play’s interplay. According to the director, Karot is a tragedy grounded in reality. To add up to its sense of verisimilitude, the director informs, the play also features three songs popular among the community and sung on special ceremonies—Sajna geet, Maina geet, and Nachnachwa.
“With this play I tried to portray the socio-economic landscape of the modern Tharu community while also attempting to represent the community in Nepal’s theatrical scape,” says Akash.
The play was inspired by a real event as told to the director by his grandfather. “I have tried to give the traditional story a modern twist,” Akash adds.
“While the old story involved a plough, an invaluable equipment for Tharus, most of whose occupation is agriculture; the story I chose to tell involves gold.”
Karot, a Tharu word, literally translates as ‘to turn over’ in English. “If I were to name two main motives that I set my eyes at after the conception of this play, it’s to depict the Tharu community’s socio-economic overturn, for one, and to preserve and popularise the Tharu language and culture which is so dear to my heart,” Akash said.
Karot stars actors Indra Chaudhary, Deepak Pachhaldangya, Laxmi Chaudhary, Bhumika Chaudhary and Nirajbabu Chaudhary in the lead roles.
The one-hour long play is currently being staged at Sarwanam Theatre in Kalikasthan every day (except for Thursdays) at 5 pm and will be on until January 5, 2019.