Tuesday 25 July 2023

"Wada Chirebandi" - a Marathi play staged at Dombivli, Kalyan on 22.07.2023

Sullen family fabric on the test of time

( हिंदी में समीक्षा के लिए -   यहाँ क्लिक करके क्रम सं. 26  देखिए )

It is certainly a cultured joint family with a golden past. The members are also naturally humane. Unfortunately, the whirl of the wily time has brought all cohesive forces to the anvil of adversity.

There is not as much a grief as a sigh of relief over the death of Tatya, the head of the joint family. They all belong to a socially reputed landlord clan While India has been making strides in twentieth century with a modern outlook this tradition adorer still tried to rule his family with all kinds of archaic prohibitions and taboos. The girls could neither get higher education nor could be married off. Now, the gene of zamindari cultural has directly passed into the eldest son.  He is trying to take up the gauntlet of his father claiming the full authority of the estate and other belonging. But see the farce, he has no resources to observe the customary Shraddha rituals with full dignity of a zamindar. Moreover, his wife who is the eldest daughter-in-law of the house has already taken over the charge of the keys of the jewelry and valuables as if her mother-in-law or others have no say.  Two thoughts are flashing in the mind of the eldest son - to ask his younger brother to spend an exemplarily huge amount  on Shraddha karma or to seek a further loan for the ceremony. The hope of getting loan again is a far cry as the earlier instalments of repayments are still due. The girl wants to flee the shambles of a broken castle and join Bollywood. She is eying on her tutor for her elopement.

The younger brother has come from Bombay after many days of the death of his father but thankfully before the Shraddha ritual. He who is supposed to spend aa hefty amount for the last rituals of his father has himself cherished many plans to get his large chunk from the estate and valuables of the house. Tatya's wife is the only person who is really sad on the departure of Tatya. Tatya's mother is  lying on the bed without the eyesight or hearing capability for gerontological reasons.

There is a male character with bandaged foot. Perhaps a tractor crushed his foot. One of the son just loiters around the village with no work in his hand.

This drama is not about putting a storyline but to show you how the fabric of a joint family is dismantling because of hard realities mainly of economical nature.

The gloom loomed large all around the set for the most part of the second half. I admit to have missed the first half of the play. The set-design was truly a statement of the adversity faced by the lineage of the lost zamindari. It was specifically designed as if to no ray of hope should trickle in onto the set giving a full bloom to the gloom. The set-designer has done a marvelous job.

"Wada Chirebandi" is the first of the trilogy by Mahesh Elkunchwar, a well-known name in Marathi dramas. Chandrakant Kulkarni was the director of the play. The actors were Nivedita Sharaf, Vaibhav Mangle, Ashish Kulkarni, Pournima Manohar, Pratima Joshi, Dhananjay Sardeshpande and Akshay Patil. 

Such a realistic depiction was impressive. This play works like a slow but effective medicine that heels your wounds of gloom if creeping inside. It gives you a sense of belonging and you feel you are not the sole person facing the harsh realities.  You never startle over the performance even for a single chance but actually you feel to be a part of the story moving on. To show you the harsh details of the family is the  sterling work of the playwright but to let you feel to be a part of it is the success of the director and the actors.

Review by - Hemant Das 'Him'
Send your response to - hemantdas2001@gmail.com / editorbejodindia@gmail.com
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Wednesday 19 July 2023

"Partner mast tohh life jabardast"(PMTLJ) - a Gujarati play staged in Tejpal auditorium, Mumbai on 16.07.2023

Catharsis of conjugal frustrations

( हिंदी में समीक्षा के लिए -   यहाँ क्लिक करके क्रम सं. 25  देखिए )

There are three states of matter - solid, liquid or gas and so are that of relationship- marriage, live-in or  friends. The problem is not as how to keep it solid, the problem is how to save from becoming it a gas. PMTLJ is a dauntless interesting commentary on nowadays relationships. It ends up being somewhat ahead of the time. Just imagine, a young man in thirties ring up from abroad to his parents to wish on their fortieth wedding anniversary and in the process it is revealed that the young man and his wife are final on their divorce. The young man conveys his father that now his divorce is only a matter of timing when the little daughter is psychologically prepared to come to terms.

A debonair couple hires a classy well-furnished flat costing forty-five thousand rupees per month. The girl is a corporate executive and the boy is a struggling scriptwriter. The house belongs to a typical elderly Indian couple the members of which are the poles of conservatism and modernism respectively. The nosy elderly landlord would not allow any remission on the observance of orthodox cultural values that might be totally outdated for the renter couple. Everything is questionable- how a man can participate in household chores? How can a woman dare to carry her maiden name in post-marriage life? And far more importantly, how can man-woman live together without the sacred ceremony of marriage? Later it is reveled that whatever was being imposed by the house-owner on the dainty renter couple was in fact a catharsis of his personal frustration in his own family life. 

The unusual presentation style gave an elbow room to the director as well as a new taste to the viewers. The ideological thrashing of modern values carried up in the first half with the raison d'etre of it in the second half. The readers would be amazed to know that the first and second halves of the play are in fact two synchronous pieces shown separately.  

The script analyses the institution of marriage with an incredible finesse in modern context. It's not a matter of holy duty, neither of societal sanction or prevalent tradition, it's just a matter of saving the lives turning into a hell. Without any sort of mutual appreciation and understanding a marriage can take a couple nowhere other than to a noose.

The climax is incredibly unorthodox that makes you think even more after the show is over. The senior man happily books flight tickets for a foreign trip with his wife on the call of his son abroad. Why son called his parents? Guess.

The senior couple played their roles to the majestic delight of the viewers. The chemistry of the beau and belle in their sixties was supreme. If on one side, the elderly man was in full swing with his conservative tantrums and cynicism then on the other side was also suitably populated by the dancing beautiful  aged woman with an outlook far ahead of her time. the man-woman relationship among the house-owner and renter couples look absolutely anti but in the core of ideology both are same. Both men are suspicious about their lady and carry a will to control. The difference of generation reflects only in the reaction of the females. Whereas the elderly lady bears every tantrums of her old hubby the new-aged lady is always ready to react aptly and this is why their relationship also is on the verge of collapse. How it is saved? For knowing it, see the play in the theatre. The actors playing young couple maintained the tempo and tension well-set by the older actors. With emphatic dialogue delivery, the young husband impressed in his drunken scene.

The pragmatic set-design consisting of doors in the lateral position in the background and two adjacent flat's inside view without a demarcation allowed the actors to use the floors of other couple seamlessly. The director should also be appreciated for the parents-son phone conversation scene and the delicate treatment of the aftermath sequence.

The dance of the elderly nymph was so impressive and the kind actor obliged the viewer's "once more" demand with her repeated dance presentation.

Feiroz Bhagat, Apara Mehta, Prithvi Pancholi and Kervi Udani were the actors playing different roles in this play. This was directed by Feiroz Bhagat.

The show was a wholesome entertaining piece filled with contemporary message. The viewers including me enjoyed it fully.

Divorce is a poison that kills normal pleasures of one's life but at the same time is also a pill which keeps one alive at the cost of one's normal pleasures. An organ (sorry, a relationship) transplant, no matter how painful it is, prolongs life.

Review by- Hemant Das 'Him'
Respond to- hemantdas2001@gmail.com / editorbejodindia@gmail.com
Link of the other drama-reviews:  Click here

Tuesday 11 July 2023

"Sumi aani Amhi"- Marathi play staged in Vashi (Navi Mumbai) on 8.7.2023

The dilemma of a professional unmarried girl

( हिंदी में समीक्षा के लिए -   यहाँ क्लिक करके क्रम सं. 24 देखिए )

You can break everything in this world but the bonding between a father and daughter. The play "Sumi aani Amhi" does not merely vaunt the super-special relationship between a father and daughter but also encompass the wrathful patches of it. 

Sumi is the darling of her parents since early childhood. Her parents make a middle-class family and raise their daughter with their best of resources. The daughter becomes an IT professional and after some time she plans to pursue her Masters in Science from California University, USA. The retired couple for whom even a ten thousand of rupees is a significant amount arranges somehow rupees ten lakh for her foreign education. One of the colleagues of the girl promises to help her in arranging further expenses and all the foods and lodging In California. Sumi writes a letter from her workplace in Bengaluru to her parents in Mumbai. This missive falls like a bombshell on the parents. Actually, she had mentioned about her boyfriend who will give shelter to her in the foreign land. Which Indian father has such a widespread heart that could accommodate such a digression from their culture? Both parents are in doldrums after reading the letter. The family doctor who had helped the girl in arranging the fund is also upset with the boyfriend string of the matter. On top of it, the girl makes a call to convey that she would catch the flight for USA from Mumbai but would not get time to visit her home. So her parents should come to the airport to see her off.

In the midst of the darkest gloom which also affects their health severely, the parents witness the surprise arrival of their daughter Sumi. In fact she could not resist herself from meeting her parents. Now she is in huge dilemma how she will go leaving her parents. Then a phone call comes from her boyfriend who has hired a beautiful well-furnished flat for living together with Sumi. But on a certain statement made by the boy the girl is flabbergasted. There is a dramatic change at this juncture. For knowing about what was the statement made by the boyfriend and what happened thereafter you should go to the theatre and watch the play.

As is evident from the collage of photos, the beauty of the set-design can be appreciated and you wonder whether occupants of this residential unit should face problem in arranging further 40 lakh rupees as required for Sumi's education?

Mohan Joshi as the father was in his excellent performance. The whole gerontology was epitomised by his demeanor and dialogue-delivery. Savita Malpekar in the role of mother was also well noticeable with all her caring attitude of a cultured Indian family. She provided a strong support to Mohan  Joshi. Shraddha Pokharankar in her lead role of Sumi did justice with her character. The dance on the child-song "Twinkle twinkle little star" was well-conceived and executed. The synergy between the director, music-composer and actor was stunning. Purushottam Berde was in dual charge of director and music composer and therefore the perfect symphony was visible. other actors namely  Uday Lagoo, Rajesh Chitnis, Pradeep Joshi and Chandrashekhar Bhagwat also did flawless work.

Shital Talpade did astounding work in terms of creating the natural scenes of morning, evening from an inside view of a residential flat. The script was written by a seasoned writer Rajan Mohadikar, 

And the quintessential message was that a relationship of father and daughter lies deep in psychology and not necessarily in the biological fertilisation of molecules. Also, a live-in relation with some boyfriend can solve practical problems but how to deal with the emotional problems? The evocative power of the show must be praised.


Review by- Hemant Das 'Him'
Send responses to - hemantdas2001@gmail.com
Link of the other drama-reviews:  Click here