CATS latest production, The Lifting of Imtiaz Khan deals with much more than its political undertones

Vithal Rajan’s political comedy, The Lifting of Imtiaz Khan, makes its stage debut

Rebecca Vargese Published :  01st March 2019 11:05 AM   |   Published :   |  01st March 2019 11:05 AM

The Lifting of Imtiaz Khan

If we were to go by the number of stage adaptations that plays by Vithal Rajan have seen in the last six months, it does illustrate that the Ooty-based playwright is quite popular among the theatre circles in the Nilgiri and Coimbatore districts. The latest production, The Lifting of Imtiaz Khan, comes just after the staging of The Spartan Conspiracy at The Coonoor Club last week. While co-founder of the Coimbatore Arts and Theatre Society, KV Siddhartha smiles this off as coincidence, it is hard to ignore the timeliness of the themes of Vithal Rajan’s scripts. Be it Wolfgang that offered a view of the Indian woman hustling to overcome daily situations or The Spartan Conspiracy that took a jab at America’s invasion of Iraq, all of Rajan’s characters are contemporary. The Lifting of Imtiaz Khan follows suit. A satire that engages in a range of themes from polity, class difference and generational gap, the 90 minute-play will feature minimal setting, we learn.

Art should inform

Tracing a series of incidents that unfolds following ‘the lifting’ of the title character by police from his college hostel, the six-scene play navigates, in part, through the drawing room of retired Chief Justice Krishnamurti, who has been approached by lawyer Kalpana Sonewala and Imtiaz’s father Qader Ali Khan to secure the release of the boy. 

Despite its dark undertones like revolutionary speeches on college campuses’ the story delves into familial equations and changing ideologies across different generations, while keeping the element of humour a constant. “The play focuses on much more than what its title suggests. It raises the questions on how power can be used or misused to fast-track things in a person’s favour and how people manipulate a system to get their way through,” explains Siddhartha, as he tells us that a member of the troupe had declined a role in the play even before reading it. 

Cast and crew of the play
Cast and crew of the play

Show ’n’ tell

Testing the waters before announcing the final production, The Lifting of Imtiaz Khan was part of multiple play reading sessions in the city that doubled as auditions. A six-member cast production, look out for familiar faces including Ramesh Chandran, Ambujakshi Shankar, Somy Sridass, Dr Radhika Prithvi, Anupama Madan and veteran Pierce Nigil. 

Expected to be in attendance at the performance, we learn that Q&A session with Vithal Rajan is also in the works. 

On March 1. From 7 pm. At The Residency. Rs 850 (inclusive of a buffet dinner).