Tuesday, 30 May 2023

"Yada Kadachit Returs" - a Marathi play staged in Vashi (Navi Mumbai) on 27.05.2023

A cricket match- catch or dance?

( हिंदी में समीक्षा के लिए -   यहाँ क्लिक करके क्रम सं. 20 देखिए )

When the play is a mad comedy and that too in a language the reviewer doesn't know then you can well gouge the level of the article's propriety. But that is not going to desist me from going ahead with my pen aka keyboard. Well, one thing certainly qualifies me for moving forward in my write-up is that I am equally mad like the play. And surely I don't have any doubt in the reader's qualification too.

There is a quarrel between two regal warriors for gaining the authority of a kingdom located somewhere in ancient India. And when all efforts fail then Imran Khan from Pakistan turns up at once and suggests to conduct a cricket match. Whoever wins the match, the throne will be his only. A fierce cricket match is played when many a batsman is declared out in a succession but then comes a mighty batsman who hits the ball up in the sky. Many skilled fielders are gearing up to catch the ball. See, now the whole match is a function of ball drop. If it falls in a fielder's hands his team will win the match as well as the throne. But if the 'catch' is dropped then it will be a 'sixer' the the batsman's team will win. This is a very tricky situation. But the solution is easy. Suddenly, Devasena appears on the dias in full swing of dancing charisma all fielders are hyptonised. The catch is dropped and the match is lost. In a most deft manner, the scriptwriter has allegorically conveyed that when the attention of the voters is drifted away from the core issues by introducing irrelevant but attractive matters like Devesena's dance then the result is a complete loss. This trick is often used by a ruling or opposition parties in an inefficient form of democracy that prevails in several regions like Pakistan.

Had I comprehended the quickly spoken dialogues in Marathi more, perhaps I could have seen several issues like female infanticide, farmer's issues, judicial ineffectiveness and a lot more kneaded into the script.

The audience was seen bursting in guffaws after almost every dialogue. Each character was distinctive in look, style and characteristics. The inflow of all characters from different contexts and times may look absurd but at the same is the very strength of the play. 

The 'vetal' (phantom) does not ride the back of Bikramaditya only and is seen hopping around from one's back to another. But when once, he tries to use a female's shoulders as his seat (like that of Vikramaditya) then Katappa warns him of decorum and even a ghost like 'Vetal' understands his duty to respect the modesty of a woman whereas in real world, even a so-called honourable human being often fails in it.

This majestic work seems chiefly to be the brainchild of the scriptwriter, director and lyricist Santosh Pawar. The different characters in the play were Bahubali, Bhallaldev, Shivagamini, Katappa, Shaista Khan, Shishupal, Devasena, Shatabai, Vikram-Vetal, Imran Khan, Shahrukh Khan, Shehenshah etc. The actors names were not revealed on the ticket or poster.

The whole show is a symphony of script, action, choreography and other effects. The whole show is knitted with captivating choreography that carries a typical signature of Maratha culture. I would recommend the Marathi knowing people strongly in favour of watching the play.
Review by - Hemant Das 'Him'
Send you response to- hemantdas2001@gmail.com / editorbejodindia@gmail.com
(Note: The drama team may send their cast names and photos for inclusion in the article).
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Sunday, 14 May 2023

"Tu Tu Me Me" - a Marathi play staged in Dadar (Mumbai) on 13.05.2023

When wives are exchanged ..! 

हिंदी में समीक्षा के लिए -   यहाँ क्लिक करके क्रम सं. 18 देखिए 

The biggest riddle on this earth is wife. You can never understand what she likes and what she doesn't. And the vice-versa is equally true from a women's perspective. So, there are two pairs of husband-wife and I think it does not need any elaboration that both the couples are in deep trouble. In both the case, the wife does not like the husband and the husband does not like the wife. Both couples are the next door neighbours and to add spice to the story, it has already come to the surface that each of the wife is the earlier girlfriend of the other's husband. The disputes rise to a level that police is called. But you must be knowing that police can control hordes of dreaded criminals but not a husband-wife. In this interesting stretch, the two husband-wife keep quarrelling to their own spouses and are seen busy in dreaming rekindling their love stories with their respective old flames. Fun, humour and entertainment is at the peak on this level for both the characters and the viewers. There are many sequences of dances with full original songs for the relish of the audience.

Now, there is no surprise in mentioning that they actually reach a point where divorces seem to be the only solution. Both the couples contact the same advocate who calls all the four to his office. The advocate suggests them that the judicial divorce is a time taking process so it is better to first have a taste of second married life as wished by both the couples. It meant that each of the husbands should live with the other's wife (i.e. his earlier girlfriend) for at least 15 days when the date of court appearing comes. Both the wives and the also the husbands are very excited on the idea and begin living as per the new arrangement. But the problem arises when one of the wives is found 3 month's pregnancy by the doctor. Surprisingly her new partner is very happy that his new wife will give birth to a child and he will be called as a father. He has a reason for it. His actual wife (now living with another man) had  aborted without his consent and so he had been missing his unborn child very much. But this woman who is living with another man is perplexed. Will it be good for the child to take birth in the house of a man who is not his father? So she decides to abort. When this news reaches to her actual husband (living with another woman) he is restless and wants to save his child in any manner. He rushes to the house where his wife has been living now. And a big fight ensues. Let me not divulge further. The viewer should watch the play to know what happens hereafter.

The other woman (who is not pregnant) is a fashion queen and relishes in ordering her husband to bind her shoe-strings. Her ex-lover (now living with her) finds that she has not remained such a woman now for whom his heart throbbed earlier. 

This play is a magic of the script which is marvelous. The script not only keeps the story recharged with full amount of humour from the first to the last point of the story but also raises many many burning and pertinent social issues to the fore. It shows clearly as what could happen when people adopt the wanton course of new marital life with their earlier girlfriends leaving behind their respective wife. The matter of pregnancy is just illustrative and not exhaustive. It actually alludes to the fact that a woman can never feel free of her earlier husband and a man can never cut absolutely from his earlier wife.

The writer Kedar Shinde has also succeeded as a director and the way he showed two synchronous marital stories in single view set-design was superb! I want to cite a scene when the advocate advices the wives to live temporarily with their respective ex-lover then the the wives feel ashamed of social stigma and rush suddenly to their respective husband. They are ready to live with their ex-bf only when it is made clear that the boyfriend will not touch his girlfriend till divorce. The director has been able to show the social barrier at full intensity. 

It is still unbelievable for me that he was a single person called Bharat Yadav who appeared as 14 absolutely different characters like father, police officer, watchman, peanut seller, soothsayer, waiter, advocate, professor, salesman, co-passenger and many more. He is really a genius. Kamlakar Satpute, Nikhil Chavan, Aishwarya Shinde and Ruchira Jadav did full justice to their respective character of husband or wife. One remarkable point about the show is that all the actors did impress with their remarkable dancing skills too. One of the male actors advances his stomach at several occasions as a humour gesture. When there is already a glut of natural humour in the play, what's the use of this artificial fun gesture? Otherwise that male actor has indisputably shown his good acting skills in the show.

Superb pithy songs from Guru Thakur set in music by Ashok Patki were vital to the roaring success of the show. Lights from Shital Talpade and background support from Pradip Mulche also added to the value.

Even though I don't understand Marathi fully still I enjoyed the play thoroughly. And the series of loud guffaws mixed with emotive vocal responses from the viewers were testimony of quintessential Marathi fun.

Review by- Hemant Das 'Him'
Respond to - hemantdas2001@gmail.com / editorbejodindia@gmail.com
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Sunday, 7 May 2023

"Charcha Tar Honarach" - Marathi play staged in Vashi (Mumbai) on 06.05.2023

The ideological turf - a fierce battle

हिंदी में समीक्षा के लिए -   यहाँ क्लिक करके क्रम सं. 18 देखिए 

Whether this is a matter of might or thought is itself a controversial point but the nationalistic sweep on global level cannot be denied since last a few decades. There is a clear gain in a number of countries on ideological turf all over the world. This is not possible without a strong base of ideology. The medium of drama cannot keep itself aloof from it and addressing it symbolically may not be very effective in eliciting it with full ramifications. Elucidation on it needs to be outright wordy and spontaneous. This will allow the electricity of debate to reach viewers without any transmission loss. And the Marathi play "Charcha Tar Honarch" is just a corollary of it.

To put this heavily word-centric ideological battle on stage might not have been easy but the scriptwriter has thought an innovative way to create two intellectual debating characters in their pristine forms with bringing one more character - a judge-like person who has come from an international NGO with a task to choose the winner. For putting some dramatic spice there is a prize of Rs. Eleven Lakh for the winner. The woman debater is supporter of liberal thoughts and the man debater is one who takes pride in the past only. Each of the both is given chance to express his/her views on different controversial issues like Feminism, Traditions, Faviourite books etc.

The whole play was so replete of ideological Marathi words and the actors were so fast in Marathi tongues that it was really difficult for me to see the clear picture of the ideological salvos and the fencings built-in. Nevertheless I am giving below what I could make out of the silhouettes.

Incidentally the woman debater wins the debate and gets the 11 lakh rupees as prize. But she gives Rs. 5.5 lakh out of it to her contender. This symbolic cession of monetary benefit signifies an extremely important reality that an idea can not stand without it's antithesis and a society needs actually a perfect mix of both. None of them is more or less important rather both are valuable and both should survive for the progress of mankind.  

Hemant Edlabadkar is the writer and director of the play while Aastad Kale, Kshitij Jharapkar and Aditi Sarangdhar were the actors. The scriptwriter has shown his guts to depict the topics in it's true form without any manipulation which everyone tries to evade. So he must be praised. All the three actors acted well. The man in NGO officer's role impressed with his British accent. The man debater might have been more natural. The set-design was impressive and the  walls seemed to be a true replica of that of a JNU hostel. The colour of kurta of man debater should have been more different from the colour of window-screens and window-frames to make his appearance more impactful. 

Overall, it was a thought-provoking play which fills a very wide gap pervading in the society nowadays where nobody wants to discuss the most important matters. The dedication of the producer for social theme is praiseworthy and this is obvious that this product from their side is more for social benefit than for a monetary benefit.

Review by- Hemant Das 'Him'
Respond to- hemantdas2001@gmail.com / editorbejodindia@gmail.com
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Sunday, 30 April 2023

"What goes around" English play presented in Andheri (Mumbai) on 29.4.2023

The detective of lackluster love

हिंदी में समीक्षा के लिए -   यहाँ क्लिक करके क्रम सं. 17 देखिए 

The wife is not worried about the dwindling love for her husband, rather she is worried about not getting a response from her old best friend for last two years and hires a detective for this.

There are fair chances that I could not comprehend the true story but here is what I could get to. There is a young couple living together. The wife is worried for a matter why her best friend has not been respondng to her for last two years. The husband is confused about the importance of it. But the wife is so disturbed that she takes the help of a female detective to solve the riddle of indifference in her bestie. The detective is advised by the Wife not to reveal her identity and purpose. The detective tries to contact the wife's bestie but by mistake meets the guy's brother and considers him as her client's bestie. She pretends to be his lover and comes into physical relationship with him. The moment later, when the man knows that the excellent love behaviour from the woman was actually for his brother who was misidentified in him then he feels cheated. Ultimately, she comes back to her client and passes on her findings. Now the husband also seems to compensate somewhere else for his lackluster love relationship with his wife. Ultimately, something happens in a manner that the strong vibes of love is again rejuvenated in the couple.

Here & Now Entertainment presented “What Goes Around”, a comedy by Jeff Baron, directed by Nikhil Kedia, starring Aakash Prabhakar, Aiman Mukhtiar, Farzana Palathingal and Ismeet Kohli. The venue was Dafney Studi, Andheri (Mumbai).

As you can see, there is not merely a love triangle rather a love polygon under play. Though there is a detective for solving the hodge-podge, it is not a suspense drama. The bizarre happenings makes it a comedy. But the underlying issues are such a burning issue of today that you are more inclined to think  rather than laughing over it.

The director has done an excellent job and the whole set is changed frequently in just seconds with the help of four wooden cubes and wearing and removal of a handy outer attire of a different colour. Even the colour difference of shirts is brought by just reversing the sides of the attire while wearing. If all the four cubes are in a straight line then it forms a sleeping bed for the couple and if they are arranged with one put sideways then it is a living room. Putting the cubes corner to corner in a straight line creates the scene of a different location.

As the motif itself was sexual life, it was replete with bedroom scenes. The actor's actions looked real in such scenes though it was not. And this is why a drama is said to be more dignified medium than cinema. In drama you present all such scenes through the postures and very short dark sequences where the main object is to convey the story and not to arouse any sort of wrongful emotions. The situation is often just reverse in cinema where often the purpose itself is to arouse sensuality in viewers.

There were six characters played by just three actors named  . The only male actor did his work extremely naturally. His facial expression, body movements and dialogue delivery were perfect. The actor playing Detective and a lover girl was also true to her roles. The girl playing the Wife also acted well but I don't know why she kept her eyes closed while delivering dialogues. 

The play was worthy to watch not only for its funny tale which tingles you intermittently but also for the way it was presented in a seamless manner. 

Review by- Hemant Das 'Him'
Respond to - hemantdas2001@gmail.com / editorbejodindia@gmail.com

Wednesday, 19 April 2023

"Case No.99" - Gujarati play staged at Tejpal Hall, Mumbai on 16.4.2023

"Who lives with you?"

"Why did you pick up my call after I made two calls earlier in a row?"
"I just entered my house at the very moment."
Why my phone call was cut from your side after being picked up before that?
"There is a technical snag and phone connection cuts automatically.
""Well, then why it rang fully without any cut just before the subsequent two call??
"Who lives with you?"

"There is still a fresh flower garland on the wall photo-frame of your husband who died far 6 months ago?"
"Yes, I still love him as must as earlier."
"Who puts the garland on his photo?"
"Of course, I."
"Can you show me the back of the photo-frame? Just try."
"Oh... my hands are not reaching the photo."
"Take the help of a stool or table."
"You should know there is no such furniture in my house.....!!!!"

There are many other tiny bits of findings also which established the complicity of the wife! But the shocking discovery is altogether a different news.

The suspense thriller Gujarati play takes to you an amusing ride of suspense though with a lull and breeze of air to keep you at constant comfort. You hardly feel a jerk and still enjoy the show which basically hinges upon the framing of scenes. Full of topsy-turvy turns and altered circumstances keeps you engaged throughout the show. The dance and music was like added bounty. The specially noticeable backstage contributions other than music and dance were from the set concept and the dress design.

Vipul Vithlani, Deepali Bhuta, Vistasp Gotla and Savan Dodhiya were among the actors in the play. All the actors have acted well. While Vipul Vithlani was in full form as a detective police officer, Deepali Bhuta took her utmost care in putting the nervousness of wife completely on stage, Vistasp Gotla was also dashing with a gait and demeanor of an unscrupulous husband. Sawan was exactly confused as required.

Though "some unheard sort of" element in the storyline might have attracted more audience this play can definitely be called as a successful one. The play through it's performance gives you the worth of the ticket you bought.

Review by- Hemant Das 'Him'
Email ID for your response - hemantdas2001@gmail.com / editorbejodindia@gmail.com
(Pictures of the play may be sent by the drama team on the given email ID for adding in this article)

Sunday, 2 April 2023

'Gharwali' - a play based on Ismat Chugtai's story performed at Andheri (Mumbai) on 01.4.2023

Wife minus marriage

हिंदी में समीक्षा के लिए -   यहाँ क्लिक करके क्रम सं. 14 देखिए 

"Dispose of the marriage for happy conjugal life with your wife" - howsoever absurd and obnoxious the statement goes you will agree to it after watching the play 'Gharwali' - a theatrical presentation of Ismat Chugtai's story. The context in which this story is set takes you to a point where you begin to sympathise with the most fallen and loose kind of woman, Lajo. The whole story puts man-woman relationship vis-a-vis marriage and analyses it with an unprecedented finesse! The hypocrisy of  male-dominance on character front is being peeled off ruthlessly by the storywriter to such a level that you will think hundred times before saying anything demeaning to a woman in general.  A glaringly visible and declared lecherous woman's stature stands much much bigger than a so-called socially acceptable  civilised man. 

The normalised seductive coquetry and loose behaviour with every Tom, Dick and Harry are what you can expect from a girl who could never know what is virginity since she grew. Lajo is such an orphan young woman who is handed over to the shopkeeper bachelor Mirza by his friend. After some hesitations, Mirza allows her to stay at his house as a maid servant. Lajo is young, beautiful and bold and in no time is the cynosure of every male in the surroundings. The glare of her deep black eyes is intoxicating and lips are like hot embers. Her sensual moves can leave everyone hearts quivering. Mirza's air is undoubtedly like a gentleman of the time and how can he like such cheap manners of her housemaid? So he is highly upset.

Before the time Mirza take a firm decision on removing Lajo from his house he is actually himself trapped by her flirtations. Lajo is experiencing like being the owner of the house of Mirza so she is enjoying her stay and in no mood to leave. After the passage of some time, Mirza becomes more possessive about Lajo and is strictly against her companionship with others. So with an aim to claim complete ownership on Lajo he plans to marry her even though Lajo is indifferent on marriage issue. Here one thing is noticeable that Mirza uses to go also to a prostitute Kanjari everyday for his regular gratification. The day he marries Lajo his attaction for her diminishes and he begins to avoid giving time to her though she was expected to stay in full celibacy like a wife. Lajo somehow bears her destiny and obeys the social custom of restrain. So, it is seen that she lost both her flirting entertainment and also the contiguity of her husband and now is being treated like a woman who has no desires of her own and as if she is proud of just getting confined like a wife. One day when Mirza comes to his house untimely he finds his wife is in love talks to the neighbour Mithua. He beats up Lajo badly but even after sustaining injuries Lajo is still loving Mirza. The remarkable aspect in her mind is that whenever other men used her they passed her on to some other man after the use, this nice man Mirza treated her like his own and never allowed to go to others. She is now unused by her husband but his full claim on her is itself enough for Lajo to let the love crop up for Mirza. But on the other side, Mirza is also concerned about his social prestige and he divorces Lajo after giving the 'mehr' of Rs.32. 

Lajo was already not enthusiastic about marriage and so is somewhat happy on getting divorce. She hires a room in the neighbourhood and begins again to live her flirtatious life full of enjoyment. Now Mirza is disturbed as she is her ex-wife and has been raising her stake of love with each and every man in the vicinity. One day, a cleric suggest him that his earlier marriage with Lajo was invalid because her birth is unknown and any marriage or divorce with a person with unknown birth is invalid. People also come to know that Mirza's marriage with Lajo was invalid and so is divorce. Both Mirza and Lajo are happy on this news and reunite to live together again without marrying each other.

Krishna Upadhyay performed the whole story in solo with an incredible finesse. While watching his show one is fully immersed in the story and I can say that cent-percent virulence of social hypocrisy was delivered by Krishna as might have been intended by Ismat Chugtai. His female dance sequence was not just a starter but a true prelude of the events going to happen in the show. The nimble feminine steps and moves combined with waist rolling, finger postures etc. were charming was his whole body as if turned into that of a young dancing belle. When the story proceeded, his facial expressions both as Lajo and Mirza were perfectly matching with the respective character's dialogue-delivery. The toggle between man and woman was so seamless in his acting!

The show performed with least stage properties and settings will be remembered for long for the actor and director Krishna Upadhyay's equal proficiency in expressing male and female sentiments.

Review by - Hemant Das 'Him'
Send your response to - editorbejodindia@gmail.com / hemantdas2001@gmail.com