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Friday, May 9, 2014


(Pranesh Maharaj as Balram. Pic by Ashok Dhaneshwar)

The Department of Arts and Culture in conjunction with POLART Productions present performances in Pietermaritzburg of Bhagwan gave me this Life (God gave me this life). This play in Hindi, written and directed by Vivian Moodley and performed by Pranesh Maharaj , makes a triumphant return to the stage after its earlier successful run at Catalina Theatre.

Vivian Moodley, who has an illustrious resume in the performing arts on every known medium, says: “This is probably South Africa’s first Hindi cultural production. Yet it is designed to be accessible to all. The story is specific to the time and area. And, if you are from that generation, then it will bring back memories, make you laugh and shed a tear. If not, then it will give you a sense of history and cultural heritage.”

Set in 1981 in Inanda, the story is about a widower (Balram – played by Pranesh Maharaj) who we meet at a major turning point in his existence as he looks back on his life with its high and low points.

Balram’s wife Lalita was introduced to him via a family arrangement by two eccentric aunties from Ottawa and Inanda. The proudest of his family was his brother, Sukhram, who involved himself in the wedding. The brothers shared a very tight enduring bond.  The plot of the play centres on the couple’s inability to have a child at first. Balram’s parents longed for a grandchild until, years later, a son is born. The traditional values of an old community, the wood-and-iron house, the nostalgia of the music listened to spiritual guidance instilled over the years come to the fore in this dramatization of inner wars.

The human condition can be described as the unalterable part of humanity that is inherent and innate to human beings and not dependent on factors such as gender, race or class. It includes concerns such as the meaning of life, the search for gratification, the sense of curiosity, the inevitability of isolation, or awareness regarding the inescapability of death.

Bhagwan gave me this Life is produced by Polart Productions in conjunction with Radio Hindvani and supported by the Department of Arts and Culture KZN. 

The family-friendly production runs at the Winston Churchill Theatre, 2 Leinster Road, Pietermaritzburg, from May 14 to 18.
Performances May 14 and 15 at 19h00 and May 16 at 20h00. There are two performances on May 17 at 14h00 and 20h00 and on May 18 at 14h00 and 18h00. Tickets can be purchased online at or by cash or card at any Shoprite / Checkers store. The contact number for COMPUTICKET is 0861 915 8000

See Caroline Smart’s review on art