(Dhananjai Shastri’s article appeared in The Hindu, 7/25.)
“I really am all alone.” These are the final words uttered in Little Theatre's adaptation of French playwright Jean Genet’s Deathwatch,titled Rajdhani.
Those five words sum up the tragedy that is the life of Iqbal, one of the three main characters in the play. This play is not so much about the plot — there is almost no action till the ending — but is more about the conversation, the mind games, the personalities, and the agendas of Iqbal, Muna, and Haraya.
The original play involves three prisoners locked up in a cell, where as in Rajdhani, the three main characters are runaway boys living on the platform of a railway station. Jean Genet chose the prison cell to elicit a sense of sadness and hopelessness. It seems in the Indian context, the same could be expressed through children living on a platform, not knowing when or how they will get their next meal, in a place where death could be just around the corner. In a sense, the platform is their prison cell; they have no home outside of it.