Life in Theatre for Maharaj Krishna Raina
The name of his own group was Prayog. For this group he directed Gorky's Lower Depths in 1973 and The Mother in 1978. Some of the other names are Bhisham Sahni's Kabira khada bazar men i.e. "Kabir Stands in the Bazaar" in 1981, Main hi hun kalpurush Oppenheimer i.e. "I'm the Man of the Times, Oppenheimer" in 1983. This was staged from Heinar Kipphardt's In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer and Asghar Wajahat's Virgati i.e. "Hero's End" in 1987.
These led to his reputation as an angry young man of theatre. For the NSD, he directed Dharamvir Bharati's Andha yug or 'Blind Age' in 1986. This was staged in Germany and the USSR. He also staged Kashmirilal Zakir's Karmanwali or 'Fortunate Woman' in 1990, and Bhisham Sahni's Muavze i.e. 'Compensation' in 1992. For the University of Hawaii, USA, he staged Shanta Gandhi's Jasma Odan in 1986 and for the Punjab Repertory Company he staged Paraikukh i.e. 'Another's Womb' in 1988, Brecht's Caucasian Chalk Circle adapted into Punjabi. Social commitment and simple but imaginative sets are important aspects of his directorial work. The use of painted scrolls or symbolic objects like puppets in Virgati provides a different dimension to his productions.
M. K. Raina also acts in films and television serials. Avtar Krishna Kaul's 27 Down in 1973, in which he played the train-conductor hero, featured his first major role on screen. This was followed by one of the three main characters in Mani Kaul's Satah se uthata admi or 'Arising from the Surface' in 1980. This was a leftist worker in Kumar Shahani's Tarang or 'Wave' in 1984 and the trader in Mrinal Sen's Genesis in 1986. M. K. Raina has been awarded Sangeet Natak Academy Award in 1995.
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