Curated by: Playpen Performing Arts Trust & G5A

Through the naive eyes of a daughter of an army officer, and a storyteller with his band of musicians, we hear the story of Manipur, its present situation and the presence of its most charismatic activist, Irom Chanu Sharmila. The play is about a complacent middle-class homemaker in Delhi questioning India’s most revered political activist and her struggle. Irom Sharmila has spent 16 years fasting to repeal Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in Manipur and stop political violence in India’s insurgent states.  In a dramatic reversal, Irom begins to have second thoughts on the future of her movement, whereas the woman has found her compassionate gaze. Will she succeed in convincing Irom Sharmila to further her cause, or let her go on the path to personal happiness in matrimony? The play navigates through the uncertainties of Menghaobi's (Irom Sharmila, as she is fondly called by the people of Manipur) future and the states affected by the AFSPA act.  Written by renowned novelist, playwright, cultural critic and theatre historian, Shanta Gokhale and directed by Sahitya Akademi winner, playwright, director Mahesh Dattani, Menghaobi is a thought-provoking play that engages through its quick-witted protagonist's personal and political journey. It also questions the mainland Indian’s perspective of who is included in the nation called India.

About the artist

Written by Shanta Gokhale, Directed by Mahesh Dattani

Music by Anadi Nagar, Choreography by Tapas Boro

Cast: Sukhita Aiyar, Padma Damodaran, Prince, Himanshu Talreja, Payal Nair, Rahul Valmiki, Tapas Boro, Jason Tham


Sukhita Aiyar

Sukhita Aiyar dons many hats, but the one that truly makes her feel alive is Drama. She has acted, directed, stage managed and taught Drama for over 15 years in Bangalore, and now teaches at The Drama School Mumbai.


Padma Damodaran

Padma Damodaran is an actor, director, writer, trainer and dancer. A former business journalist, she is also one of the co-convener of The Drama School, Mumbai. She has acted on stage and on screen, in classical and modern shows, and has written, choreographed and directed her own productions. Her film Mantra won the Best Feature award at the South Asian Film Festival, New York and her short film Best Friends Forever won the National award for Best Film on family values. 



Actor, Writer, Theatre Director, Experiential Corporate Trainer and Leadership Coach, Prince Kanwal dons various hats. Prince is a veteran of more than 25 plays, TVCs, short films, TV shows, web-series, and 3 feature films. Prince routinely writes for TV and corporate films. His corporate training program 'Onion Intelligence' has won him many loyal clients. As a Leadership Coach, he is being nicknamed 'The Horse-whisperer for Business Leaders.' Theatre remains his first love.


Himanshu Talreja 

Himanshu has been part of the theatre industry for nearly 10 years. A graduate from The Flame School of Performing Arts, he has been part of plays like Lassanwala, Titus Andronicus, Hello Farmaish, Aaj Rang Hai and Rhinoceros. Himanshu was the recipient of the ‘Thespo Best Actor’ award in 2015 for his performance in the play Lassanwala.


Payal Nair 

Payal Nair has been an actor for the last 20 years. She has acted in plays, television shows, films, TVCs and web-series. Her most popular work has been two monologues on the stage, Next to Kin (British TV series), Once Upon a Time in Mumbai, Jungle, Sorry Bhai (Films), a web series on ALT Balaji and over 25 TV shows. She recently acted in a Cine play on Pygmalion and is also assisting Mahesh Dattani on the play ‘Menghaobi.’ 


Rahul Valmiki

Trained as an actor at the Roshan Taneja School of Acting, and The Drama School, Mumbai Rahul has written and performed a piece called ‘What's in a Name?’ mentored by eminent playwright, Mahesh Dattani, whom he also assisted on the films movies Hasmukh Sahab ki Wasihat and 30 Days in September. Rahul was faculty intern at Actor Training Programme, conducted in Mumbai by SDDS Education of Australia. He has also conducted theatre workshops for Mercedes School Pune, and corporates like CEAT, HFFC and others. Rahul plans to keep acting in theatre plays, films, web series, TVCs, television shows and continues to audition actively.


Jason Tham

Jason is a Chinese actor, choreographer and filmmaker. Born in the United States brought up in New Delhi, Jason came to Mumbai 5 years ago to work as a choreographer for reality shows but destiny turned him to an actor as well. 


Tapas Boro

Tapas Boro is a professional dancer, choreographer and artist. He has performed in the Disney India’s musical Beauty and the Beast, Jugnee Indo- Contemporary Festival, he was the leading artist in the dance theatre play Keep Calm and Dance, directed by Yuki Ellias, and also choreographed movements and dance for the plays Final Solutions and Maati, directed by Mahesh Dattani. Tapas recently represented India in the International Contemporary Dance Festival of Mexico City.


Anadi Nagar

Anadi Nagar hails from a family with a heritage of music and theatre. He is trained in classical Hindustani music. As a child he learnt music from his father and also worked under the guidance of his father Pandit Ravi Nagar in Lucknow. Anadi has been a part of projects like Ishq ahaa (2015), Lassanwala (2016) as music director & vocalist, Gandhi- A musical (2016) as part of music ensemble, Khabsoorat Bahu (2016) as music director & vocalist, Shikhandi- The Story of in-betweens (2017) as vocalist. He is currently working as music composer for Salim Arif’s Arre! Mayavi Sarovar and was also part of the play Preyasi: A Musical Love Story as music composer. Apart from theatre, Anadi is part of a Pune based genre free band called Balalaika, where he performs as a vocalist, travelling cross cities like Hyderabad, Mumbai and Pune. 




The Black Box

  • We request you to bring warm clothes as it gets chilly inside the Black Box as temperatures need to be controlled at optimum levels as per technical requirements
  • Food, beverages and water are strictly prohibited inside the Black Box. Please do not carry them in your bags either
  • Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis
  • Please do come at least 15 minutes prior to the show and enjoy a good cup of coffee at PORT
  • No Late Entries will be allowed
  • Latecomers can only be allowed in at intermission or at an appropriate pause in the program and as per the instructions of the organizers





Register Online here