Houston Maharashtra Mandal to Present Historical Play on Shivaji

The epic play Janata Raja is presented on a multi-level stage with as many as 100 actors on stage.

HOUSTON: The Houston Maharashtra Mandal (HMM) will present on stage an epic play titled Janata Raja (The Wise King) on Saturday, March 9 at Stafford Centre on Cash Road. The play is a dramatic presentation of the life of Chhatrapati Shivaji, a warrior-king (1627-1680 AD), who founded the Maratha kingdom in the western region of India.

A tribute to Shivaji’s life and times, Janata Raja is presented on a multi-level stage as a dramatic spectacle, featuring as many as 100 actors. This is a full-length historical opera, which is enacted with clockwork precision against the background of splendid scenography and digitally recorded 4-track sound.

Janata Raja was written by Maharashtra state’s popular historian, Babasaheb Purandare. On 2019 Republic Day, Babasaheb was awarded with the Padma Vibhushan Award.

Staged in both Marathi and Hindi languages, Janata Raja can be a unique, outdoor theatrical presentation with gigantic sets rising up to three stories, elaborate props and costumes, including elephants, horses, camels and even bullock carts.

Janata Raja is considered a marvel of the theatrical world. Since 1985, more than 1,250 dramatic enactments have been performed in both urban and rural areas of Maharashtra and in several other regions of India. More than 800,000 people have attended live Janata Raja performances. A typical performance has approximately 6,500 people in the audience.

In the United States, Janata Raja was presented at the BMM (an organization of people of Maharashtrian origin in North America) convention in Boston in 1997 with the active participation of local Americans of Maharashtrian origin. Janata Raja was also performed at London’s Wembley Arena on February 6, 2015. In Houston, HMM will present a similar enactment with the active participation of our local membership. Two directors associated with Babasaheb Purandare are conducting the rehearsals.

Janata Raja has been performed to critical and audience acclaim wherever it is presented. When the play was presented in New Delhi, the performance was appreciated by former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.

Janata Raja shows are never done for profit; they are produced predominantly by local artists for generating awareness about the history and culture of Maharashtra and raising funds for preserving forts and monuments of historical importance. In Houston, the play is being presented as a fundraising project to support construction and development of its 11-acre property in Rosenberg, Texas, including a Hanuman Prayer Station, Siddhi Vinayak Temple and a sabhagruha (auditorium).

For additional information, please contact Rahul Deshmukh at president_vastu@hmmhouston.org or Abshishek Bhat at treasurer_hmm@hmmhouston.org or visit www.hmmhouston.org/jr

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