November 1 – Ammi Jaan

Ammi Jaan is adapted from the short story Une Madre by Dario Fo and France Rame.

Directed by Satchit Puranik ¦ Produced by The Laughing Cavalier, Bengaluru
Language: Kannada, Dakhini Urdu ¦ Duration: 75 minutes ¦ Suitable for 12 years and older

AMMI JAAN is a monologue of a woman without a name. She can be called Amina or Zahida or anything, for that matter. But she is known to everyone in Tannery Road, Bengaluru as Ammi or Ammi Jaan, a term of endearment.
Ammi Jaan loves to chat, about the neighbourhood gossip, about the half informed knowledge she gains from the obsolete world of her run down cyber café. About the news, both fake and true, that she receives on her modest smart phone.
Ammi Jaan loves to cook and feed, like most mothers, in her neighbourhood. She flaunts the new recipe that she had invented for her only son, Mehmood. As ‘the apple of her eye’ has a weak constitution and suffers from Irritable Bowel Syndrome since a tender age, she has devised her own ingenious ‘biryani-e-kathal’
She has been packing a tiffin with this biriyani, which she wants to feed her son. Incidentally, he is in jail. He is accused of being a terrorist, or an anti national or an urban naxal, or whatever, the nomenclature of the charge doesn’t really matter. But his crime does. The government had been mapping the dreams of ‘some’ of its citizens, and in his particular dream – his subconscious reveals that he has been thinking of a certain food item, a certain kind of non vegetarian platter, full of stake and kebabs.
Dreaming of a certain forbidden ‘meat’ could mean the end of his freedom. Or the end of his life. Ammi Jaan is telling the audience how dreams work and life ends.

About the Director: Satchit Puranik is a theatre maker and film maker based out of Mumbai. He works across different mediums in 6 languages – English, Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi, Kannada and French. His film work includes fiction feature films (Court, Ship of Theseus, Garbage, ButterFly, Mr.Ya Miss etc.), documentaries (For The Love Of A Man, Tell Them Where I Live, 8 of us etc.), docudramas for television, music videos etc. While his film work includes writing, direction, editing and casting his stage work has him producing, writing, directing and performing.
His theatre pieces include Loitering (inspired from the non-fiction book Why Loiter), Karl Marx In Kalbadevi, English Medium, Mahabharata, Family 81 etc. The last two are the start of his sojourn with Documentary Theatre in the Netherlands since 2011.
Dabbling in advertising, event management and media planning during his internship, he arrived at his true calling, documentary theatre, which he chooses to call ‘theatre of part fiction – TOPF’. To turn TOPF into a self sustainable business model, Satchit formed LAUGHING CAVALIER aiming to make content rooted in the Indian context, in touch with its political, humanitarian and progressive leanings. He continues to work with other film and theatre makers like Sunil Shanbag, Chaitanya Tamhane, Atul Kumar, Manoj Shah, Lillette Dubey, Anand Gandhi, Ramesh Arvind etc. Owing to his collaboration with Marjolijn Van Heemstra, during his stint with Amsterdam based Frascati Theatre, he has performed across more than a dozen countries and his work on All’s Well That Ends Well got him to perform at Shakespeare’s Globe, U.K for a 2nd consecutive stint.

Why this play?
Since 1969, when Mistero  Buffo by Franca Rame and Dario Fo created a stir of controversies, the authors had to face tremendous pressure. It earned them a reprimand from the Vatican.  They were banned from entering America till 1984 as they were considered political undesirables. In Italy itself, they were variously assaulted, denounced, censored, arrested, jailed, banned from television and subjected to death threats. In the 1970s, theatres daring to show them routinely had their licences withdrawn, while the couple could not find a landlord in Milan willing to rent them an apartment. Most horrific of all, in 1973, Franca Rame was kidnapped and brutally gang raped. In 1981, she along with Dario Fo come up with Una Madre, an account of the plight of political prisoners.

Read more here –

About the Company: LAUGHING CAVALIER is the maverick voice of “Documentary theatre” or “non-fiction theatre” in India. With a series of cross cultural projects, we want to make relevant work which essentially speaks about the human condition.
We, at LAUGHING CAVALIER truly believe that in our hyper contemporary times, our work should get more and more local. Only then can it achieve its purity when it resonates with its universal appeal.
We curate content which is rooted in the Indian context and in sync with its pluralistic, political, humanitarian and progressive leanings. Key areas of work include public spaces, Indian Pakistan peace initiatives, research, documentation and preservation of certain folk art traditions, Hindustani classical music, philosophy and sustainable development.