Charandas Chor

Habib Tanvir

Translated by Anjum Katyal


5.5 x 8.5 inches, 133pp. 2004

ISBN : 9788170461081

Rs  150.00 (PB)
$9.95 (PB)
£6.95 (PB)

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‘Who’re you?’

‘A man.’

‘I can see that. I’m asking your name and what you do.’

‘My name is Charandas and my profession thieving. Taken together that makes me Charandas the thief.’

Impudent and irrepressible, Charandas is a thief with a difference. Having vowed never to lie, he manages to keep his work while robbing the rich blind. A typical folk hero, street smart and savvy, he runs rings around the forces of law and order till he comes up against one wall he cannot scale—his own commitment to the truth. And the unexpected twist at the end of this heart-warming comedy lifts the play onto another plane.

Charandas Chor by veteran playwright/director Habib Tanvir, performed by Naya Theatre’s Chattisgarhi folk artists, is a contemporary Indian classic. Folk actors on the contemporary stage, vibrant and self-confident, speaking their own dialect and performing their own material, was a novel experiment in Indian theatre. It opened up a new direction in theatre practice.

Charandas Chor, performed all over India and at festivals abroad, won the top award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1982.

This volume contains the translated playscript, an introduction to Habib Tanvir’s theatre, and a long interview covering the milestones in his career.

Habib Tanvir, a veteran playwright, director and actor, whose pathbreaking work with his company Naya Theatre has shown how folk elements can inform contemporary performance. He has won many major awards, including the prestigious Padma Bhushan, Padma Shree and Sangeet Natak Akademi awards. He has served as Member of Parliament and been granted a D. Lit by several universities. He has written, adapted and directed more than 20 plays.


Anjum Katyal is a writer and editor based in Calcutta. She has several translations to her credit.

Theatre And Performance Studies
New Indian Playwrights