Sunday 16 June 2019

"Monalisa ki muskan" staged at Vile Parle (Mumbai) on 15.6.2019

The dynamism of female psyche

हिन्दी में यहाँ पढ़िए यह नाटक समीक्षा - यहाँ क्लिक कीजिए

The most difficult question of this universe is what does a woman really want. A riddle for others is herself riddled on why she wants to stay riddled with the nonsensical talks of a man. And this play takes on the challenge of solving it in a most beautiful manner even though being fully aware that it is only a defeating game.

There is a stalemate in the conjugal life of Ruhi. Her chemistry with Armaan is just not going through. When he is away the door is knocked by an unknown man Ikbal who introduces himself as an old friend of him. The rest story hinges around this enigmatic man who is a liar, badly mannered, discourteous, almost cruel and yet liked internally by each and every woman without any plausible reason. From the very beginning up to the end Ruhi is bemused. Even her overt resistance to this unknown man is thoroughly emaciated .  

The beautiful woman Ruhi is almost hypnotized by Ikbal's winding language and a mannerism befitting to a man. The tenor of his voice ranges from adulating obsequious to that of life-threatening criminal. He seems to be fond of feminine variety and flirts with every woman he comes across. May be she is house owner Ruhi, housemaid Hira, homely woman Uparwali or the elegant modernised club-member girl Sakina. All pretend to give a resistance to this totally unwarranted creature Ikbal and vocally proclaims that he is worthy to go from there. Still, the more notable fact is no woman actually make attempt to throw him out and from within they all are spectator of the manly magic and want eagerly to be a part of it.

Though Ruhi is again and again on the verge of total surrender to Ikbal and this is absolutely voluntary when she is once interjected by Hira, the housemaid. On another instance when Ruhi is about to share bed with him when her friend Sakina suddenly comes to her safeguard by a sheer chance.

Ikbal has a simple trick - praise the beauty and exploit the sensual pleasure to the extent possible. And women of all sorts are rushing to fall in line with his ulterior motives. They register their opposition but try subconsciously to meet and get closure to him as more as possible.  Sakina emerges as the most sensible woman who talks of the limit that should not be crossed by a woman. Though she also does not wage a full-fledged war against Ikbal still, she keeps on resisting vociferously.

In the end Armaan is seen to have returned cutting short his outstation stay and it is revealed that Ikbal was not the old friend of Arman. What happens further is not shown in the play as the object of it was just to show the psyche of a woman and not to present a tell-tale story of traditional kind.

The story of Krishna Baldev Vaid was written in 1970s and is still relevant in toto. He has well analysed the psyche of a woman and the factors affecting her decision about crossing over. 

Sushmita Vishwas, Pradeep Nigam, Reetika Shah, Garima Shrivastav, Rajveer Gunjal and Mamta Singh had acted in this show directed by Sushmita Vishwas and produced by Harpreet Sethi.

The man in the cameo role of Dr. Bose left his long lasting impression on the viewers with his round-mouth dialogue delivery with a bonafide Bengali accent.

The play analyses female psyche and all the female character acted brilliantly. 'Ikbal' seemed flawless and yet to be giving his low-tone performance.  Perhaps that was itself his nuance. To let the female characters dominate was a calculated decision on his part otherwise he might have been misconstrued as a ringleader or protagonist of the show defeating the very purpose of the play.  'Ruhi' was able to show the internal dilemma of a beautiful woman who is disenchanted with her life-partner and attracted to another man. Her facial expression and body language was a true representation of that.

'Hira' with her innocent blushing smile drew the attention of all. 'Sakina' played successfully the role of a brave sensible woman and "Uparwali' of a woman who wants that all of the women in her apartment should lead a moral life except her.

Director Sushmita Vishwas has extracted the talent of the actors to their respective maximum. Still more rehearsal can make it more effective.

The loud applauds of viewers kept the hall resounding. The whole team should be praised for remarkable discharge of their theatrical duty as artist. 

Review by - Hemant Das 'Him'
Photographs by - Bejod India blog
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