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Published on Apr 23, 2011
A play in two acts by Partap Sharma
Directed by Lillete Dubey
Primetime Theatre Company, Mumbai
Sammy! is the incredible story of Mahatma Gandhi, told by an ensemble of actors in a modern and exciting manner. Led by a lively debate between Mohandas, the man, and the irrepressible Mahatma in him, the play highlights Gandhi's relationships and how he changed everyone he touched. It traces the transformation of the young Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi from a naive, tongue-tied lawyer into a shrewd politician and finally a Mahatma and recounts his story from his earliest days in South Africa to his final assassination. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was an extraordinary man about whom Einstein once said Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one once walked upon the earth! The play aims to bring alive a man whose influence changed politics forever (and set in motion the journey of others like Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King). With its dynamic style of presentation it hopes to straddle a large cross section of audiences, especially younger ones, who know him only from dusty textbooks! The play is important not just as a powerful piece of theatre, but is specially relevant because of the times we live in, where the Mahatma's creed of non materialism and non violence is sorely needed in an age of terrorism and consumerism. The title of the play is easily explained and becomes clear in the early part of the action. The word Sammy, along with the word coolie, was used as a derogatory term by the whites in South Africa to insult Indians and other coloured people. It originates from the word swami, which actually means master or guru. When he first hears an angry mob in Durban shouting the word as an insult to describe him, the young Mohan smiles and ventures the hope that he may, some day, be able to live up to it. Sammy! is the result of several years of research on Mahatma Gandhi by Partap Sharma.