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nosy elderly landlord would not allow any remission on the observance of orthodox cultural values that might be totally outdated for the renter couple.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'
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