Last Thursday evening, Dimona residents gathered in the city's Cultural Center to watch a new play. The play, based on the well-known Indian film "Sangam," is in Hindi and the actors are local residents of Indian origin. The hall has 600 seats. The night before, the hall was packed; on this evening, local residents took up two-thirds of the theater.
Production started over a year ago. David Mirage, an American Jewish millionaire, came to the city, was moved by its cultural diversity and decided to donate money to different projects. Director Ilan Greenberg met with Dimona's Indian residents and decided to turn "Sangam" into a play. After staging the play in Dimona, Greenberg started receiving offers to perform it all over Israel.
And so the play begins. The curtain opens to reveal a young boy, Sunder, who is in love with a girl named Radha. A girl and a boy, Radha and Gopal, approach Sunder. Sunder and Gopal fight, and Gopal leaves with Radha. Sunder promises himself that one day he and Radha will marry. These words foreshadow all that is to come.
The stage is divided into three parts and a musical ensemble is a part of the background. Behind the stage hangs the screen with the Hebrew translation. The three children grow up. Sunder is still in love with Radha, Gopal is also in love with her but suppresses his feelings out of love for his friend. Radha herself loves Gopal, but he is unattainable.
The set design allows the play to look just like a well-edited film. In tense moments, the music grows louder than the voices in the scene and the singers from the musical ensemble sing instead of the actors. Just like in Indian films, say audience members.
The audience recognizes the actors as their neighbors. They laugh, critique their fluency in Hindi and occasionally applaud. The plot moves along. Radha rejects Sunder's love and he enlists in the army to become worthy of her. When Gopal and Radha learn that Sunder is dead, they allow themselves to be together. But a short time before their wedding, the reports of Sunder's death are proved false and he returns. Gopal gives up Radha and she and Sunder marry.
During the intermission, the auditorium turns into a sort of little India. The snack bar sells Indian snacks and Indian films are on sale to all interested. The audience soon discovers that the end of the story, unlike in American films, is not a happy one. The director of the community center, Noam Cohen, reveals what everyone who is familiar with the film knows. "The end is bad, all three of them try to commit suicide. Gopal succeeds, and Sunder and Radha remain together. That's how it is in Indian films, friendship is valued above all else."
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