Amavas se Amaltas: Where Amaltas Bloom in the Dead of the Night
It was a particularly harsh summer evening in Delhi. But inside the Stein Auditorium at the India Habitat Centre, Amaltas were in full bloom. Metaphorically drawing upon the essence of the yellow showers that survive the heat and the warm season and yet paint a shade of happy yellow around this time of the year, the play Amavas se Amaltas, directed by noted playwright Smita Bharti, has a positive message to give – blossoming of limitless potential.
In the director’s own words, “Amavas stands for limitless potential and Amaltas is the flower that blooms in the heat of summer.” With over twenty plays to her credit, Bharti translates her extensive experience as a social activist into performance art through theatre, multimedia productions and films. Staged for the first time last November in Delhi, this brand new play from Bharti’s stable, produced by Sakshi and Aganpakhee and an Aartwo Entertainment presentation, bears all the hallmarks associated with Bharti’s plays.
The play touches upon sensitive issues from autism to human trafficking and centre them around children and initiate a conversation around children in difficult circumstances, creating a platform that invites a debate, a discussion, and a call for action around some of the most difficult and invisible causes that prevent these children on the margins from accessing their constitutional right to equality as an everyday practice. The play, sometimes hilariously, sometimes dramatically, points a finger at the gap between the ideal and the real – between theory and practice – and sensitizes and entertains the audience in equal measures.
The play sees Jayati Bhatia play a former judge (Shikha) in the juvenile justice system, who has voluntarily retired after being diagnosed with cervical cancer, living with her daughter Sonali (Ankita Bhargava), a corporate lawyer, and her autistic son, Jai (Ssumier Pasricha). Things take a hilarious and dramatic turn in their lives when 16-year-old Khushi (Chitrashi Rawat), a sex worker and survivor of human trafficking lands up at their doorstep. This unleashes several unspoken truths. The characters’ journey from amavas to Amaltas is what the play explores.