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Week Special

Chhatrapati Shivaji, the Jaanta Raja makes it to Delhi!

By Vijay Satokar
Apr 14, 2018
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The stage was set when Aamchidilli organized a ten-day exhibition of paintings of Chhatrapati Shivaji at the prestigious Twin Art Gallery of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA) in October 2017. The life size paintings- over 120 of them- attracted bureaucrats, historians, political bigwigs, teachers, students. If RSS Chief Dr. Mohan Bhagwat made it, so did AAP leader and Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.

Remarked Dr. Waman Kendre, Director of the National School of Drama (NSD)- Delhi was not fortunate to have the Chhatrapati setting his foot in the then Mughal capital. Through the exhibition Delhiites have welcomed the people’s king, he said.

The exhibition was followed by decision of the Maharashtra Government to design its Republic Day float on Shivaji’s coronation. The tableau won first prize. Direct descendent of Chhatrapati Shivaji and nominated MP, Sambhaji Raje organized a mega show- Shiv Garjana- at the IGNCA on a massive stage with artists presenting the life and times of the Chhatrapati.

Stage, thus, was set for Delhi to host Jaanta Raja, the mega play, ‘Maha Natya’ which has a record of over 1000 shows in India but never in Delhi. Renamed especially for Delhiites as ‘Raja Shiv Chhatrapati Aitihaasik Gaurav Gatha’, the organising committee headed by BJP Vice-President Shyam Jaju left no stone unturned to ensure the capital gave reception the King deserved.

A five-story stage, parts of which were revolving, was erected in record time with the historic Red Fort- seat of the Mughal empire- that the Chhatrapati fought against in the background. Seating arrangements for 6,000 and no tickets (but registration required) led to a capacity crowd watching the show from April 7 to 10 (April 6 show was cancelled following rains and dust storm).

It was a welcome the King deserved and Delhi was not found wanting.

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