Monday 28 August 2023

"Hai Mera Dil" - a Hindi play staged in Chembur (Mumbai) on 26.8.2023

A kind husband is a bigger danger

( हिंदी में समीक्षा के लिए -   यहाँ क्लिक करके क्रम सं. 30  देखिए )

If someone is husband and he is not skeptic, it means there is a bigger danger to the wife. The sudden disappearance of intra-family stress is something most nauseated by a wife and she turns extremely inquisitive. And you know it better where the inquisitiveness of a wife invariably leads to. 

A 42 years old husband Madan has a charming wife Usha and they live peacefully. The husband is though physically fit but he prefers to a get-up and mannerism best suited to an greybeard pensioner. One day, a male ex-classmate of college days of Usha comes to her house for some work and stays for some days. Usha asks her husband to accompany her and her old male classmate for shopping. But the husband (Madan) is feeling some heart pain and so he allows both Usha and her old male friend to go for shopping together. The same thing happens for some days. Initially Usha enjoys strolling around the city with an unmarried and youthful male ex-classmate but ultimately she doubts the motive of her husband. How a husband cannot object his wife moving out for excursion again and again with another man. There is certainly something amiss! And she concludes there must be some girlfriend of her husband who would be accompanying him in his revelry in absence of the wife. So, an epic fight of husband-wife begins. Ultimately, the husband admits that yes he liked his wife to go out with her male ex-classmate and he really wanted that both should befriend each other much deeply so that both could marry in near future. Hearing this the wife is in full rage but just before she is about to turn horribly violent the husband clarifies that there is no girlfriend of him. He further tells that the doctor has said that he is going to die soon so he wanted that her wife should chose some boy for marrying so that her future is safeguarded. Usha is stupefied over this news but she begins to looking after her husband like a loyal wife. 

When Usha is not at home, the husband calls a monument-builder and orders him to build a memorable civil structure in his memory soon after his death. He has also requests one of his drunkard friends to write his biography which should be published after his death.  One day when Usha is at home, the doctor friend comes at her flat with a big fish in his hook. The moment he offers the fish as gift, Usha expresses anger how a severely cardiac patient (her husband) can eat fish? Then the doctor understands everything and opens the secret that the terminally ill patient he was talking about over a phone call from her house was someone else and not her husband. The whole thing turns a U-turn again and the wife again suspects that this all story of 'dying' was nothing but a hoax which was cooked up only to be used as a subterfuge for debauchery and indulgence with the girlfriend. The husband is again helpless but then the monument-builder knocks at the door to show the designs of monuments for which he has already been paid Rs. 4.20 lakh. The wife now believes that she has got a hypochondriac but a cent-percent loyal husband who not only thinks about her in his lifetime but also cares for her after his life.

This whimsical comedy has been running on stages since 1970s till now and more than 1125  of stage presentation have been made of it.  "Hai Mera Dil" is a Hindi adaption of Broadway play by Norman Barasch and Carroll Moore, also made into 1964 American comedy film, "Send Me No Flowers". The Hindi adaption is made by Ranbir Singh who has been able to reap the best out of the original.

Preeta Mathur Thakur, Aman Gupta, Atul Mathur, Shankar Iyer, Gujan Sinha, Sangam Rai,Sapna Choubisa & Rohit Goswamy were  the artists in this play. The play originally directed by Dinesh Thakur who also acted he lead role  in large number of shows in his lifetime. It was now directed by his wife Preeta Mathur Thakur. 

The whole hall erupted in laughter in two scenes of imaginary thoughts. In one, the husband imagines that after his death, his wife is selling balloons for her livelihood and is deceived by the buyers for her poor mathematics. In another, the wife imagines that her husband is on loving binge with the witch girlfriend.

Preeta Mathur Thakur and Aman Gupta were a good combination as a delusive husband and fun-finder but super-alert wife. The way the husband Madan (Aman Gupta) pushes down the dialogues with a handing face it certainly gives an impression of a dying man. On the other side, there is the agile wife Usha (Preeta Mathur Thakur) with all her sixth sense working who can readily smell a rat in anything. The male ex-classmate of Usha also befittingly an army officer. The drunkard advocate friend was truly in a tipsy avatar. The doctor and monument-builder also did their job well. A dance sequence of hypochondriac with his concocted girlfriend added musical flavour to the show. As a whole, the show was superbly entertaining which made the people suffer from laughter bouts throughout the play. 

The show proves some plays are evergreen and "Hai Mera Dil" is one of them. This is mentioned as the longest running comedy in the history of Hindi theatre.

Review by- Hemant Das 'Him'
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