Chaos of Indian film industry of 1970s comes to Theatre

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My Heart Goes Thadak Thadak at Q Theatre from November 21

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In the lead up to the silly season, audiences will get a chance to become extras in a boisterous new play from visionary writer and director Ahi Karunaharan.

Playing at Q Theatre from November 21 to December 14, 2019, ‘My Heart Goes Thadak Thadak’ channels the controlled chaos of the seventies film-making industry in India.

Complete with fight sequences, live music, and a rambunctious dance number finale, this premiere season also champions the subversive political undertones of the time; the inclusion of which continue to position Silo Theatre as one of New Zealand’s leaders in thought-provoking contemporary theatre.

Welcome to the City of Dreams, Mumbai (Bombay) the height of the 1970s.

Legendary Bollywood Director Rakesh Ramsey has died in the middle of shooting the Dust of the Delhi Plains, an epic desi Western with all the trappings: magnificent landscapes, bounty-hunters and gunfights on horseback.

Ramsey’s two children, Roshan and Kamala, are forced into the Director’s Chair.

But they have inherited a disaster; the crew’s unhappy, the money’s all gone and the big Bollywood star is holding the production hostage. Can they bring their father’s dying dream to the big screen, or is Dust of the Delhi Plains as cursed as everyone says?

Love letter to Communal Spirit

‘My Heart Goes Thadak Thadak’ is Karunaharan’s love letter to the communal spirit and ritual of making art in India.

It is a homage to Indian Cinema and Spaghetti Westerns of the 1970s.

The entire show is set in the world of a film set; the audience are the extras who have gathered for the shoot and the actors are characters from the film.

Each night, a different community dance group will perform the grand finale, a programming decision which places local communities on the mainstage.

It is a wild ride for audiences who can gain insight to a time in film making history that was escapist, celebratory, and high octane.

About Ahi Karunaharan

Ahi Karunaharan has become one of the most sought-after creatives in Aotearoa.

In 2018, he was Winner of the Bruce Mason Playwriting Award, and wrote and directed the award-winning production of TEA at the 2018 Auckland Arts Festival, and directed the sell-out season of the Auckland Theatre Company and Prayas’ production of A Fine Balance.

He has worked with internationally-acclaimed theatre companies Tara Arts and Belvoir St Theatre and has presented critically acclaimed works at the Sydney & Adelaide Arts Festivals and the NZ International Comedy Festival.

Ahi Karunaharan has been working on this script for the last two years and was thrilled when Silo programmed this as their major commission offering in 2019.

Set in a time in history when the East and West collided in India, ‘My Heart Goes Thadak Thadak’ uses the construct of the classic Western film as a metaphor to explore the idea of new beginnings and new frontiers.

“During the 1970s, we had the most Western immigration to India. Sergeant Peppers and Ravi Shankar happened in this era. It was a time that begged to be examined theatrically, for its imagery, celebration and the shifting sands of cultural and gender representation,” he said.

South Asia Theatre popular

Through the efforts of Ahi and local groups he has connected with, South Asian theatre is popular with Auckland audiences who have flocked to his last two sell-out productions to experience the stories and aesthetics of this rich culture.

“’ My Heart Goes Thadak Thadak’ is my way of increasing the South Asian visibility on our mainstages. It is my way of re-imagining our past, rewriting it, and placing our experiences, presence and voices in times, places, and spaces in which we did not previously exist,” he said.

A cast of five talented South Asian actors take the reins for this production including Mustaq
Missouri (TEA, Dara, The New Legends of Monkey), Rashmi Pilapitiya (A Fine Balance, TEA), Mayen Mehta (Shortland Street, Fresh Eggs, The Bad Seed), Shaan Kesha (Tea, Ideation) and newcomer Sanaya Doctor.

Live musicians creating a score of tunes to best match the Spaghetti Western genre are local legends Finn Scholes (Carnivorous Plant Society) and Leon Radojkovic (Boys Will Be Boys, Live Live Cinema, Peter and the Wolf, Fortress Europe).


What: My Heart Goes Thadak Thadak

              Suitable for ages 10 and over

Who: A Silo Theatre Commission

             Presented in collaboration with Q Theatre

Where: Q Theatre – Rangatira

When: From November 21 to December 14

               Tuesday to Wednesday: 7 pm

               Thursday to Saturday: 8 pm

               Sunday: 5 pm


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