Partap Sharma: playwright, author, actor, director and commentator

Sammy! The word that Broke an Empire - a play by Partap Sharma

Sammy! (2006) is a play about the irrepressible 'Mahatma' in Gandhi, the Inner Voice he could not ignore. This intricately crafted play portrays Gandhi's journey from a tongue-tied lawyer to a shrewd politician and finally the Mahatma (Great Soul). Set against the dramatic background of India's struggle for freedom, this outstanding play surprises our expectation at every turn of the story. Full of humour and style, the play makes past events seem like present gossip and the audience is transported deeper within themselves.

Partap Sharma's play brings alive Gandhi's philosophy, pragmatism, and sense of humour. It unwinds Gandhi's concepts and his techniques for non-violent struggle. The play is captivating as we realise that Gandhi's struggle has no enemy, no arms, no hate nor revenge, but only the inner strength of millions of ordinary men, women and children.

Commenting on the play, Sharma said:
"Gandhi needed no introduction to the millions. He was a man of the multitudes. But it was interesting to examine what provoked him to become what he did. It took me twenty years of intermittent research and writing to put together "Sammy! The word that broke an Empire". Judging by the response of audiences and actors, the play works, and that is important to me."
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Sammy! The word that Broke an Empire (play)

The play won the best playwright and three other National awards at the Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards (META) in March 2006. It performed to standing ovations and full houses in Brussels, Antwerp (in both cities it played to simultaneous translations in French and Flemish!). Following its successful performances in New York, Boston, Stanford, San Francisco, Houston, Los Angeles and London, it was invited back to the US again later in the same year.

What does 'Sammy!' mean? The answer is in Act 1, scene 5.

90 Minutes for Gandhi, produced and directed by Pranay Ahluwalia was staged at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2009 under the banner of The Holycow Performing Arts Group. It compares Gandhian ideals and way of life to incidents in contemporary India. Ahluwalia has adapted the play from playwright Partap Sharma's award-winning Sammy! based on Gandhi's philosophies. "Every nation in our neighbourhood is torn by terrorism, hunger and poverty. Gandhi's ideas on non-violence have never been more relevant," says Ahluwalia about his play.
Sammy - watch the play online


"SAMMY! will be the sixth production on Gandhi in recent times, making the Father of the Nation the most watched character on stage." - Deepa Gahlot in The Times of India, Mumbai.

"Outstanding. SAMMY! is by far the most interesting, comprehensive, dramatic work on Gandhi! A great play!" - Peter Ruhe, Gandhi Serve, Berlin.

"The play is full of gems of wisdom taken mostly from Gandhiji's writings and put into a discussion between the Mahatma and Mohan. The playwright has an interesting way of changing the scene to carry the play forward. Listen to Mahatma when he says, 'If the good succeeds, God is good; if the evil succeeds, God is evil. So my concern is not God as God may turn out to be, but the Truth. Because truth is God.' ... 'But how can an ordinary person like me tackle such a vast crowd?' asks Mohan. 'Reach out to them, take away the blindfold and they will see...they called you Sammy,' without completing the sentence the Mahatma withdraws." - Romesh Chander in The Hindu.

"90 minutes for Gandhi are not enough! I can say that for sure after seeing this adaptation of Sammy! - one of the finest historical Indian plays. This Fringe version is presented at Riddles Court by an experienced local amateur theatre group… Partap Sharma's original script, abridged and seen through the eyes of director Pranay Ahluwalia, came across as a fairy tale in which actors and characters walk side by side - pondering over the aesthetical shape of the play, before choosing to follow spontaneity…" FringeGuru, 2009.

SAMMY! Le mot qui brisa un empire

Translated by Philippe Gratier, the French edition was published by Versant Sud, in 2010.

Gandhi, l'homme au-delà du mythe, avec des doutes, des hésitations, des erreurs, des coups de génie ... Sammy!, Jouer Partap Sharma. L'auteur présente une très humain Gandhi durant les différentes étapes de sa vie sait que la chambre a confirmé un succès à chaque fois dans les différents pays où il est joué: Inde, bien sûr, mais aussi la Grande-Bretagne, l'Australie, l'Allemagne ou les États-Unis. La chambre avait déclenché Partap Sharma applaudissements lorsqu'elle est effectuée en anglais au Bozar en 2007. Ici, il est maintenant disponible en français.

Juillet 2010 voit la publication de la version française de Sammy !, pièce de théâtre de Partap Sharma. L'auteur y présente un Gandhi tellement humain au cours des différentes étapes de sa vie que la pièce connaît un succès chaque fois confirmé dans les différents pays où elle est jouée : Inde, bien sûr, mais également Grande Bretagne, Australie, Allemagne ou encore Etats-Unis.
Biography   Zen Katha   A Touch Of Brightness   Begum Sumroo   Days Of The Turban   Dog Detective   Little Master Of The Elephant   Sammy   Surangini   Top Dog   India Stories   Awards Please click an image to read
about Partap's work and awards.