Ideal Drama and Entertainment Academy (IDEA) founded by Mr. Mujeeb Khan, is almost single handedly working for the promotion of Hindustani Theatre for more than three decades. IDEA has been staging plays on relevant social issues from time to time, mostly topical, relevant to the people in general, affecting their day-to-day activities. IDEA also conducts workshops in schools and colleges.
IDEA was the only theatre group participating in the historical Dandi March from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi in March 2004, to commemorate the 75 years of the march. During this period IDEA staged plays on women empowerment, anti-gutka and national integration in the remote villages of Gujarat. IDEA performed a play titled “Tsunami-the terror” at various railway stations and around other locales in Mumbai, Thane and collected Rs. 48,000/- (rupees forty eight thousand only) for the Tsunami victims, for information IDEA was the only group in India to have shared the grief and suffering of the Tsunami victims. IDEA was also part of the peace march from (Rajasthan) to (Pakistan), and participated in the programme held at the Mantralaya (Mumbai) to commemorate 100 years of Satyagraha, later IDEA also joined the peace march on October 2nd 2005 at Juhu (Mumbai).
IDEA has been actively striving to revive the otherwise forgotten Indian literature since 2005. It has been staging plays based on stories of Munshi Premchand and till date has staged 305 out of 315 of his stories in 390 weeks. This mission began with the objective of paying homage to the great literati on his 125th birth anniversary, but when the truth dawned that the youth of today did not recognize Munshi ji it became a responsibility to introduce the great personality of Hindi / Urdu literature to the youth and in the process the curiosity to know more about the writer grew and search for the same perceived. The series is called, “AADAB MAIN PREMCHAND HOON:. In order to reach out to more audiences we began staging the plays in schools and colleges where Munshi Premchand’s stories were part of their curriculum and we staged the story that was part of their syllabus. Munshi ji’s plays are very contemporary. They contain a social message and speak about voice raised against the social evils pertaining in the society.
Then followed another series, “NAMASHKAR MAIN RABINDRANATH TAGORE HOON”, in which we staged plays based on Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore’s stories. This made us understand that we must shoulder the responsibility of saving the gradually fading literature. In other words we may say that just as the archeological department caters to restore the dilapidated heritage buildings we needed to bring back to existence the forgotten Indian literature and literati, and it was observed that doing it through the medium of theatre (through drama) had a lasting effect than just reading the same. Gurudev’s stories speak about cultural rapprochement between communities which is the need of the hour. His ideas on culture, gender, poverty, education, freedom remain relevant even today.
After Gurudev came Saadat Hassan Manto’s turn and we began one more series “MANTO KA DEEWANAPAN”. This changed the taste of our audience towards bold topics and encouraged us to stage plays based on his stories. His stories ridicule the values and taboos society holds dear and boldly states that they are wrong. They end the division of humanity in religions and sympathize with the down trodden.
Simultaneously we staged plays like “GHALIB KI HAVELI” & “AZAD KA KHWAB HINDUSTAN KI AZAADI”. ‘Ghalib ki Haveli’ is a personified form of Ghalib’s haveli which is in ruins and narrates the problems faced by it when Mirza was alive and after his death, which is part of history and rarely known to the masses. It also mentions the role played by Ghalib to bring about national integration in our country. ‘Azad ka Khwab Hindustan ki Azaadi’ was staged on the birth anniversary of Maulana Azad, based on the life of freedom fighter and first education minister Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. The play unfolds those pages of his life where he stressed on the need of educating women which very few people are aware of. He was the founder of Lalit Kala Academy, Sahitya Kala Academy, ICCR, IIT (for technical education) and many more educational institutions. He strongly believed that instead of us, Indians going abroad for higher studies, people from all over the world should come to our country, which is true today.
The impact of these plays on the audience is such that people value the importance of education, criminalization of values in society, youth respect elders, develop the courage to speak the truth and against injustice met out on the down trodden and discrimination on the basis of caste, class or religion. They openly accept change in the society. It also helps to teach the people to live in harmony burying their indifferences. Last but not the least to make known to the youth our golden literature that stands out among other literary works but is gradually escaping their memory.