THE STAGE & THE THIRD BELL…part 2.


        KI DOSH SI LOONA DA: The subject “Loona” is a folk lore of Punjab… a story of a beautiful young girl, who lives in impoverished conditions with her old father. One fine day, she participates in the beauty contest held in her town, in the presence of the king, & the other neighbouring kings too. She is declared the beauty queen & is crowned for so by a guest king named Salwaan , who is spell-bound by her beauty & falls for her; but he is a married man n twice her age. Yet he forcibly marries her, taking advantage of her poverty. Loona is betrothed to him against her wishes. Salwaan has a son who is very good-looking, yet very saintly, named Puran. Loona in turn falls in love with Puran as he is ideally like her dream man. The day she declares her love to him, Puran gets upset, as he always thought of her as a mother & swears never to come in front of her so that she does not feel drawn to him. Loona is upset and complains to the king of Puran’s high- handedness.  Salwaan the king gets angry & passes a sentence against his own son & gets him killed.

Ki Dosh Si Loona Da       

          SHIV BATALVI… a very famous poet of Punjab… for whom I could die for…but unfortunately was no more on earth, when I got to know of him. Yes I am crazy about him & his works & fondly refer him as the “Indian Shakespeare”!!! Anyway, he was totally in favour of the character Loona & had always claimed that Loona was a positive being. Look up at the story, can anyone claim that! Nobody could, many people picked up the subject & made a play on it but failed miserably to hold the claim of Shiv Batalvi; rather they ridiculed her character even further.

            During the phase when I was very depressed due to the set-back of someone’s mis-doing, (read part 1), Dad had taken me to watch a play… another play on Loona. The entire play was a shabby depiction & received hootings, than any kind of appreciation. We too came home criticizing the play. Next morning…”The Tribune” was equally critical… it said, “They have turned Shiv’s heroine Loona into a vamp”…but a particular line captivated Dad’s attention…it said, “one needs another Shiv Batalvi to justify Loona”. It hit Dad to realize, that along with Loona, another person needed to be justified…yes… his own daughter. He charged towards me & announced, “Prepare your-self…YOU are LOONA…& the justified one…the Heroine!

               Ki Dosh Si Loona Da

  Rest was history…as I mentioned in my earlier post…that I witnessed my “dynamite heavenly father” & my “dynamic earthly father” working in unison. Dad indeed altered the fate of Loona…if Shiv would have been alive, he surely would have hugged Dad. Dad also had promised me that he would make such a brilliant script that Sangeeta Mehta would beg for it. Each day Dad would pen down endless papers, & towards the eve, he would give me a copy to memorise & the other copy… he would carry to sangeeta’s home to narrate.      

 Now, the regular scene at Sangeeta’s home, during eves, was out of the world…her table usually laid elaborately with drinks n appetisers for all the famous personalities of the fraternity. All artistic discussions would take place, some singers would sing their latest numbers, musicians would happily play on their instruments; “shero-shayree’, poetries etc. making rounds in full swings…I too loved it all. Dad would narrate his work on Loona with utter pride. His each n every scene was to die-for, his dialogues made everyone dumbstruck, no one could imagine that Loona could go to such an awesome level of creativity. Each evening they all would wait for Dad to narrate further. Finally, Sangeeta begged Dad to allow her to do the role of Loona. Dad refused making it quite clear to her that she was older for the role. He could offer the role of  Salwaan’s wife…but… loona would only be enacted by Seema. No amount of her coaxing/ pleading worked on Dad. Ultimately, she took over to produce/direct, n act as “Ichchara”… Salwaan’s wife… & accept me as Loona.                                                                                                                                         

   Ki Dosh Si Loona Da        

           Dad was triumphant in his purpose!!! Imagine the person who tried to oust me from my first play, now signed me as the heroine of her own production & directorial venture!!! It was my “Jesus-Yahowa Nissi”, who fought my battle, avenged me & handed over the victory to me; & in the bargain, Dad came out with one of his brilliant work. I always believe that pain, hurt & zeal is always fruitful in the  end.

                    Ki Dosh Si Loona Da                                   

The pain, hurt n zeal was working on me too…I was so dedicated, engrossed n involved that I would breathe, eat, shower, sleep n awake on Loona. I usually worked on my lines at my terrace as the open space helped me to open up to Loona. I would go on & on delivering the great endless lines…only to realise later that the street below my terrace was full of spectators…no not for my talent but people were watching a mad girl who was screaming n shouting to herself…they probably thought I was mad & needed help or an asylum. I had to flee from there n hide!!! 

Sangeeta Mehta…was now my director & mentor. We developed an unsaid understanding. Seeing my obedience, hard-work n dedication, she too never got the chance to regret, rather, she was full of pride when the word of my performance spread all over Chandigarh; & people would invite them-selves in, just to see my rehearsals. I was thrilled when one day Balwant  Gargi…a famous n senior writer/director walked in to watch me rehearse, as he had heard so much of me, that he couldn’t stop himself from meeting me. He was so impressed to see me performing; he blessed me, also gave me a couple of tips, which I treasure until date.

        Ki Dosh Si Loona Da

The play “ki dosh si Loona da”(what was the fault of Loona) was power packed with high drama scenes, dialogues, music n songs. There was just no relief. In Punjab, people were used to watching light stuff but when they saw this play, they were spellbound, didn’t even shift in their seats watching a 14 year old me, mouthing such difficult lines with an ease of a maestro, performing the complex role of Loona with such finesse. The play got so popular that it staged from town to town, to city-to-city. All the ministers and dignitaries witnessed it. All had to admit that it was written superbly & Loona… is the claimed heroine & totally justified… as Dad had proved that Loona & Puran were innocent & the scapegoats of the villainous Salwaan, who moulded situations according to his benefits. The play was a  smashing hit!     

The best part of all was that on the Republic Day…the Chief Commissioner of Chandigarh, MR. B.S. Sarao, honoured me for my performance. Two rows of military men had marched on each side of me while taking me to the Chief Commissioner, to be honoured. Dad was thrilled, while my dilemma was whether I was to march with the military or walk straight!!! I chose to walk straight…thank God for that!

  Seema Kapoor recieving award from Mr. B.S. Sarao Chief Commissioner Chandigarh

Soon I was to be admitted in college for my Prep (11th & 12 STD.), the authorities acted tough on pretext of no vacancy. I was much hassled. Dad straight away walked into the Home Secretary “Sewa Singh ji’s” office. Now Mr. Sewa Singh had also come for my play & had rewarded me for my performance… the minute he saw Dad there, he recognised Dad & paid him the respect. Dad told him that, what was the point of so much appreciation & honour to Seema Kapoor, when she is being denied the admission in G C G College. Immediately a call was made for me.

 Seema Kapoor Miss Fresher GCG       Seema Kapoor Crowned as Miss Fresher GCG  

          Untitled 22         Seema Kapoor as Miss Fresher GCG     

 The whole scenario altered. I got a red-carpet entry in the G C G College, the authorities along with the principal were waiting to admit me in. Once admitted, no one regretted there too. They were proud of me as a student, as well as of my simultaneous professional endeavours.  My stage presence was looked forward to, in college; I was famous on the ramp. Also was the cultural head; & first… to make a record in GCG…I was crowned as “Miss Fresher” as well as the “Miss Graduate”.

         Untitled 26    Seema Kapoor as Miss Graduate GCG  

To be continued………

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