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'
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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'
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(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'
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