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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