Tughlaq, a famous play by Girish Karnad, captures the reign of a man who got too much power and couldn’t understand how to wield such authority on unwilling subjects. The play, which was initially written in Kannada, was translated several times and is interpreted by many. This play, directed by K Madavane, adds yet another layer to its timelessness.


The play is about a king who could not understand his subjects and about subjects who were not ready for the King’s dream of a perfect kingdom. “Mad Mohammad” or “Sanki Sultan”, the names that were pinned on him seemed appropriate as he shifted his kingdom from Delhi to Daulatabad – a move which brought his kingdom to its knees. The further disillusionment that Tughlaq went through led him to isolate himself from his people as intolerance reached its peak. He is surrounded by people who slander him, plot against him and murder each other ruthlessly


The play is timeless. Its many interpretations are proof enough of its brilliance. What’s interesting and different is how K Madavane, the director of the play, brought to life the sense of displacement of the people, madness of the king and his orders, his dreams and his illusions, and a kingdom who saw its ruin well before time. The setting of the play included a large movable wooden throne, brilliant sound, and lighting. A special mention to Ayaz Khan who portrayed the role of Tughlaq – he was brilliant.


Since the play is about a Mughal Ruler, the Urdu language has been used extensively. But if you are open to listening to some sweet sounding, rich language, you are in for a treat. A few scenes seemed loud and dragged a little in places. But the brilliance of the play still remains intact.


The play is timeless and a classic. It spoke volumes in 1964 when it was written and it still holds relevance in this day and age. Watch it for the amazing portrayal of Tughlaq, Barni, and Aziz by brilliant actors. The play has many aspects that are left to the audience to interpret and it only adds to the beauty and complexity of the play. Watch it to get acquainted with the most talked about Mughal emperor and brilliant acting.