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The Prophet and the Poet is an internationally acclaimed play developed by Bangalore Little Theatre (BLT). It is based on the exchange of letters and articles between Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore over 25 years, with the Indian freedom struggle as the backdrop. The exchanges reveal how the two personalities differed significantly on many matters, including the form and content of the freedom movement. The differences widened over the years. However, they maintained genuine respect and love for each other steadfastly in spite of the deep differences.
It was the political maturity that prevailed in those times in India. It is a subject of utmost significance today. The play has been used as a base in several senior level leadership development programmes, raising the critical question: what organizational conditions can create the culture of maturity, both within the organization and in external transactions.
Bangalore Little Theatre was privileged to be invited to stage the opening shows of the play at the places hallowed by Gandhi and Tagore in their lifetime – Sabarmati Ashram, Santiniketan (Visva Bharati) and Thakurbadi-Jorasanko (Rabindra Bharati). The play had a command performance for the President of India.
There have been over 105 performances of the play since its opening all over India and abroad. The play has had productions outside India as well. In 2014 Prasar Bharati commissioned a tele-film of the play. The film was telecast several times over Independence Day and Gandhi Jayanti. It is most fitting that the play is presented to close the 160th birth anniversary celebrations of Rabindranath Tagore in Bangalore.
Acknowledgements: Prof. Sabyasachi Bhattacharya, previously Vice Chancellor of Visva Bharati University, for the archival research; Mr. Shailesh Parekh, Tagore scholar, for concept of the play.
Image caption: Performance at Santiniketan, before Tagore’s summer cottage.
In collaboration with Bangalore Little Theatre
Minti Jain is an actor, trainer and dancer currently working with Bangalore Little Theatre. She is active in the Bangalore’s theatre community, working to spread the importance of theatre in education. Some of the plays she has performed in include Robis Garden, Stalowa Wola and Jis Lahore Nahi Dekhya.
Naveen Tater is an actor, trainer, storyteller and Treasurer at Bangalore Little Theatre. He has been part of two seasons of Tales of Tenali Rama, Moliere Alive, Finding Ananda, and Lady Still Waters. Naveen has also been part of short films.
Karan Manveer Singh Dalal is an old timer with Bangalore Little Theatre. He has been part of several productions including Rhinoceros, The Prophet and The Poet, The Year of the Rooster and Tell Me the Name of a Flower. Karan will do anything for theatre – backstage, onstage and even off stage. He gratefully acknowledges the role played by BLT in his life.
Preetam Koilpillai is a musician, theatre director and filmmaker. He is the co-founder of Copac Media, a Bangalore-based creative agency specialising in the conception and production of editorial content – films, books and digital.
Murtuza Khetty has worked in multiple capacities as a trainer, mentor, director, set and light designer at Bangalore Little Theatre. He made his solo directorial debut with Madhu Rye’s psychological thriller Tell me the Name of Flower. Among his recent works is Monsters in the Dark, based on the highly acclaimed history of cancer treatment, The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddharth Mukherjee. Murtuza has also co-directed the award-winning play Credit Titles. A trained trainer, he is an experienced researcher-facilitator in Bangalore Little Theatre’s Education Enrichment programme.
Prof. Vijay Padaki is Trustee Emeritus and a member of Bangalore Little Theatre since its inception. He was earlier a member of the founding faculty of Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.