Saturday 17 February 2024

"Ishq-Mushk" Hindi/English play staged in Andheri (Mumbai) on 10.02.2024

 Love beyond boundaries 

( हिंदी में समीक्षा के लिए -   यहाँ क्लिक करके क्रम सं. 42 देखिए )

'Ishq' or love is like a musk which knows no bounds. It would go beyond any boundary of caste, creed, nationality, age or gender. This play specially focuses on some special kinds of love which are almost taboo in a human society. No doubt that the world will become a perfect chaos without the most prevalent epic kind of monogamous man-woman love typically reflected in marriage all over the world. Having said it, we cannot deny that God has not stopped here and He Himself has created such creatures like LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual and others who doe not belong to the most prevalent sexual creed). Keeping those people in view and to free them from a feeling of guilt this play presents anecdotes in a piecemeal manner.

Elucidating the contents of the play will be like a replication of contents available on sex websites. Let us talk about the method, purpose and theatrical aspects of the play. 

There was a graceful female anchor we talked to each of the different people who have undergone or have faced unusual kind of sexual aberrations in their past life. She receives call from all of them and facilitate her or him to present how and what happened to them. This included a tomboy case, a divorcee sex-thirsty woman case, a gay case and others. Here it is noticeable that each of them is not voluntarily spoilt for choice rather all of them have succumbed to the circumstances. The tomboy girl categorically says that she was well aware of her sexual aberration so she tried her best to conform to the views of her parents to effeminate herself but every time her internal voice thwarted it. Similarly, in the case of the divorcee woman who had been living apart from her life-partner since last fourteen years it was but natural that even a mason like sturdy man can be her choice for temporal fulfilment. 

With a high degree of grit and compassion, the anchor was listening to the so-called pervert persons. Each of her dialogues and actions was not of a participator but of a facilitator till the last episode when she too presented her own anecdote.

As I already said, this play was primarily a script-narration play with full facial expression and limited body movement. Even in their constrained space all the characters were looking like in their separate world thanks to the pragmatic set-design. The masculine attire of a girl engrossed in electric circuits  and the revealing "saree palloo" of a drowsy eye woman on a cosy sofa convey half of the story. 

What I found was that the play mainly hinged upon the corporal aspect of love and did not dig into the metaphysical space too much. That is why platonic love remained untouched. Perhaps they were bound to display the whole gamut of sexual aberrations so there might have been time constraint. By design, the director had faced less challenges in this play and the actors were their own masters to a large extent, I think. There was certainly a oomph in the divorcee woman actor. The bubbly chirpy college girl was full of zeal and energy, the mannish girl was genuine in presenting her case and the man to man lover was also puzzled to a desired level. 

Sulagana Chatterjee's script was the skeleton of the play on which fleshes were added by the actors through their voice and body movements.   The actors were Anjum Khan, Pooja Bhamrrah, Priyanka Charan, Sameeha Sabnis, Sidhant Seth, Surya Mittal and Tushant Mattas. The writer has taken care of the prevalent laws and that is why no character in this play is doing an act which may be put by you as a crime. As far as I noticed, everything was consensual. Those acts may be immoral on traditional grounds but were not illegal or such acts which might lead to undue harm to others.

The play was successful in delivering the message and keeping the viewers engaged throughout the play the duration of which was much more than the previously declared fifty minutes. 

Review by- Hemant Das 'Him'
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Saturday 10 February 2024

"The Chattaans"- English/ Hindi play staged in Andheri (Mumbai) on 04.02.2016

 The inundated globe

( हिंदी में समीक्षा के लिए -   यहाँ क्लिक करके क्रम सं. 41  देखिए )

This seemed an improvised play which might have emerged as a natural product of training process. The play raised an issue of global warming and proceeded with various metaphors and allegories. You may get a sense of unwritten documentary reshaped as a thespian outreach. In the outset there are some acting trainees and a teacher. There comes a devastating flood in Mumbai and contemplating the plight of his village an actor goes to his house. He finds that his house is inundated and his wife and children are facing a lot of troubles. I am still to find a coherence in fire sequence in the initial story (or no-story). Though there was a glut of grammatically correct dialogues in the play but the only sentence remained in my remembrance is something like that .."if proper steps are not taken then there is 100% probability that after 2030 Mumbai will face the same devastating flood every year and in 2050 all the big cities near seas around the world will be inundated." 

See, I appreciate the efforts of neophytes and the way they were allowed to showcase their acting skills. There is certainly no doubt that the training is on a robust path and the trainees are also full of capabilities. But the subject they addressed is a very very serious one and it directly relates to the existence of global human habitation across the world. May be hundreds of crores of people will face harsh consequences of negligent global leaders of now. The oblivious global leaders of the world may be from US, UK, Russia, China or any country they must heed to the environmental factor and redress the global warming issue otherwise none of them is worthy to be called a global leader.

The director of the play was Shiv Tandan. He is also a co-author with Vidyut Gargi. The actors were Abhimanyu Gupta, Chrisann Prereira, Geetanshu R Lamba, Dusha, Sayan Sarkar, Twinkle Kapoor, Vaibhav Kapatia

Though the output was still in a development process so I need not comment on it but the subject they chose definitely deserve a pat on the back. In my view as the play was a product of trainees the price of ticket should have been less than Rs.500/-.
Review by- Hemant Das 'Him'
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'Astitwa' -Marathi play staged in Panvel (Navi Mumbai) on 28.1.2024

House is my soul-mate

( हिंदी में समीक्षा के लिए -   यहाँ क्लिक करके क्रम सं. 40  देखिए )

Pangs of separation are very sharp no matter the departing one is living or lifeless entity. The house where one lives is not just a matter of bricks and mortars! In reality, It keeps a separate identity in a person's mind as a nearest companion, a biggest comrade and a dear-most friend. 

An inevitable predicament with the middle class salaried person is that he has to retire some day. And if he belongs to the lower most tier of the hierarchy then the biggest issue is where to go after vacating the government residential quarter. The retiring man in this play has a wife, sons and daughter. Nobody wants to leave Mumbai but the headman is thinking about settling in his ancestral place. The whole play is a cobweb of conditions arising out of this very situation.  

Even after remarkable performance of the actors Bharat Yadav, Jayraj Nayar, Chinmayee Sumeet, Saloni Surve, Hardik Jadav and Swapnil Jadav the play looked like a documentary. You may say the play was so realistic that it was a drama without dramatics. Swapnil Jadav as a Director was succeeded but perhaps as a playwright he should have put a most robust story-line which could have acted as a glue factor for keeping the audience tied with the play. 
Review by- Hemant Das 'Him'
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