TajMahal ka Tender - A Satire on Red Tapism and sad state of officialdom


"Tajmahal ka Tender" is very popular play which is done by various theatre groups in India. And this time, it is happening at National School of Drama, Delhi during Summer Theatre Festival. 


The play is about bureaucracy in the country. The story revolves around the dream of Shahjahan to build Tajmahal and he consulted Engineer of CPWD for that. The whole story is beautiful written and directed as a play.  


The whole play shows how it took 25 years to just announce the tender for building Tajmahal. Here idea is not to share the story but share some facts. It's a brilliant play and must watch. 


This play is written by Ajay Shukla who post graduate from Lucknow University. 


As per Director of the play Chittaranjan Tripathi, Tajmahal ka Tender is a satire on rank - file, red tapism, and the sad state of officialdom. It focusses on ogranizational diseases that India is suffering due to - corruption, idleness, favoritism, arrogance and insensitivity to public needs. 


The team includes Assistant Director Abdul Kadir Shah, Set Designer Pankaj Jha, Costume Designer Sunita Chand Rajwar, Choreographer Meghna Malik, Light Designer Govind Singh Yadav, and Rajesh Bahl who took care of Scenography, Poster, and Brochure Design. 


On stage cast includes Shahnawaz Khan, Vipan Kumar, Manish Kumar, Akhil Pratap Gautam, Siddheshwar Kashinath Thorat, Raghvendra Pratap Singh, Deep Kumar, Suresh Sharma, Shruti Mishra, Sampa Mandal, Naresh Kumar, Jagannath Seth, Mohan Lal, Basu Soni, Annapurna Soni, Aparajita Dey, Yatendra Bahuguna, Rajeev Kalita, Anamika Sagar, Ankita Gusain, Akhil Pratap Gautam, Reena Saini, Raju Roy, and Jaga.
The play presented some historical characters in a new light. For example, Aurangzeb was the leftist cool dude who regularly unleashed words like liberty, secularism, equality. Carrying a guitar, he was seen plotting against his father, be it by creating hiccups in the builds of Taj Mahal or by inciting his deceased mother "Mumo" against visiting Shahjahan in his dreams. 
Shahjahan was portrayed as the hopeless romantic who dreams of building a monument for his beloved wife. His preference for his Chetan Bhagat-addicted son Dara Shikoh and his blind trust on the government officer Gupta ji form the foundation of this story.
Gupta ji, perhaps, is the symbol of everything that is wrong in the country. Bureaucracy, red-tapism, corruption - you name it and he embraces it. Project Tajmahal is in his hands. What he does with it is for you to find out when you watch the play. 
The play has been running for years and it is clear that the team improvises it according to the changing times. There are references to Kejriwal, Odd-Even, Didi, Amma and even Krishna. The truth is there for all to see - even though the faces in the front change, India's problems remain the same. 

The play hits hard. At time you want to turn away from the reality because it is so harsh. Building of Taj Mahal in a democracy is very much like Waiting for Godot. There's plenty of humour in the play but underneath you are squirming at your helplessness against the system. 

The slow decay of the monarch's authority while bureaucracy gets stronger underlines the concluding lines of the play - "Raja Maharaja to kai aaye aur gaye, par Gupta ji hamesha rahenge. Desh Gupta ji hi chalate hain."





We strongly recommend watching the play. The summer theatre festival is currently on at National School of Drama and Kamani auditorium and there will be several screenings of this play. The tickets cost much less than your movie tickets and the experience is much more enriching. So go and watch. 



Important note -  Ideally photography is not allowed in theatre plays, without permission. Since NSD has not put hard restrictions, I have been doing it for few years to promote their talent and shows. I have officially done some coverage for their annual festival. But here I want all viewers of this post to be respectful to the artists and audience. I would request not to click photographs and feel free to download from my blog. I can also share photographs of these plays without watermarks, if needed. And if you can’t resist clicking one, make sure you don’t use flash, fast shutter mode. Your action should be so quick that nobody around you get disturbed. I would strongly discourage to use phone for clicking photograph, because the phone light is very irritating for audience around. Looking for your support and respectful behavior towards artists and audience. 

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