The sinless lovers
What a farce? Our society thinks murders in communal riots as normal and love of a man with another as abnormal!
In an emotive discourse, the young man expresses his inability to marry the fiancee and asks her whether his love for another person is proper particularly when that person also happens to be a man?
The reviewer is not championing the theme of the play yet he thinks that no subject should be taboo for discussion. Sure, we must promote normal kind of human relationships, but we have no right to stigmatise the other ones until and unless they harm the society. At least they are much better a lot than a riotous person.
Love knows no boundary - neither geographical nor racial nor of body. A fervent love can exist anywhere between man and woman, woman and woman and "between man and man". You may find it irksome but this is the reality of the society. These have been practiced since ages and would be practised till the world ends. Better we should assimilate them honoring their privacy. The unconventional and yet highly touching story was shown in the play "Javeda' at Ravindr4a Natya Mandir, Prabhadevi (mumbai) on 16.10.2019.
In the beginning, Iman who is a struggler bollywood lyricist reads a newspaper ad for vacant house and knocks at the door of Aman Awasthi. Aman thinks him as a well-behaved and trustful man and agrees to share a part of his house to him for rent. Aman is dependent on Iman for certain domestic and Iman on Aman for others. Both begin to enjoy the company of other. They soon develop appreciation for each other quite normally.
Iman keeps he the house tidy and prepares tea for Aman. On the other hand, Aman has given one set of the keys of the whole house to Iman so that he has a right to live in the house even in the absence of Aman.
With passage of time, the love between Arman and Iman well surpasses the social realm and enters the cell of individual privacy. Aman is extremely uncomfortable on reading the letter given by the postman that the parents of Iman has fixed his marriage with a girl in the village. Yet, on the pretext of danger of communal riots, he pushes him forcibly to the village so that his normal conjugal relation with a girl could be established.
In the village, Iman meets his fiancee who is also his childhood friend and whom he still likes. He does not want to play cheat on her and reveals the unsavory truth. The truth that he can not marry her because he loves another one who happens to be a man (and not a woman).
After some time, he cannot bear the separation from Aman and comes back to his house in Mumbai. But their lives together does not last longer and Aman is killed by the mob in a communal riot leaving Aman with no reason to live.
It is more than obvious that neither of two are promiscuous, lascivious or innately different from other men. Though the circumstances make them so. This is proved by the incident when one of the pimp suggests to provide girls to Iman for money who is genuinely in search of an abode. Iman subs him saying that he is not a man of that sort. Here Aman also has never been in sexual relation with anyone before or after the relation with Iman. Even these two men goes hardly beyond kissing as shown on stage. The whole issue is predominantly a psychological one rather than that of body.
The small details have been knit together so beautifully that they make a sterling show of real life journey of both. Aman is in such a deep love with Iman that he does not mind even when Iman puts salt in place of sugar. Also, after the departure of Iman from his house, he misses him so much that he stops dringking tea in his office and replaces it with coffee which he never liked. And when Iman returns to his house, Aman again switches over to his old favoured beverage of tea. The tea-seller is totally confused what has happened to Aman Saheb? Even the sweeper, milkman and akhbaarwaalah has to face the ire of this separated touchy lover.
The actors were Aaryan Deshpande, Ahan Nirban, Yashaswee Gandhi, Rinila Debnath, Akash Soni, Gorande Katira, Katha Salla, Saundarya Goyal, Neer Mota, Pratik Tiwari, Yash Dattani, Anirudh Kolarkar, Pratik Bhadekar and the director-playwright was Navaldeep Singh. It was produced by Abhedya Artworks. The Set-design had been prepared by Pratik Bhadekar & Shubham Jadhav. Sound Desinn was by Navaldeeep Singh only.
The honesty with which the playwright has put the matters is astounding. The playwright Nawaldleep Singh has used the scenes of communal riots deftly to show the striking anomalies in the social psyche. The psyche that permits ghastly murders of people from other community but thinks a love between them a heinous crime.
Among actors Iman's facial expression was really moving. Aman provided adequate support. The two girls who played the alter ego of Aman and Iman respectively did justice to their roles. The comedian villager who wants to marry the fiancee of Iman won the hearts of audience with his queer mannerism. The tea-preparer was able to convey the confusion well with his facial expression and body language. He is confused why sometimes Aman prefers tea and sometimes don't. The sweeper and postman had short role but they played well. The fiancee showed the dignity of the character in true spirit. All the actors were below 25 and performed beyond what could be expected of them.
The set-design with doorstep in the middle of the backstage and couple of chairs and table put on the opposite halves of the stage with lot of walking space helped in seamless toggle between the riotous scene and the inside view of a common household.
The director Nawaldeep Singh has succeeded to keep dramatic effects quite far from this play which was a necessary requirement for an honest discourse on such a serious issue. He has done an experiment in the form by presenting two females for respective alter egos of two male characters probably to convey that gender has no role to play in a game of love. But delivery of the endless masculine dialogues from the mouths of two conversing females has it's own risk.
I have no qualms about saying that it was a brilliant show for restoring the dignity of genuine class of lovers that is regarded unjustifiably as the taboo-est of taboos by our hypocritical society.
Review by - Hemant Das 'Him'
Photographs by - Abhedya and Bejod India blog
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