Theater Watch: Aadhe Adhure is a tragic and touching play

Aadhe Adhure is a brilliant play by a brilliant author – Mohan Rakesh. You have to read some of his works to understand what you might be missing out on by not having read enough hindi literature.

The play was staged by Prime Time Theater Company and stars Mohan Agashe, Lillette Dubey, Ira Dubey, Rajeev Siddharth and Anushcka as the Nath family – Mahendra, Savitri, Binny, Ashok, and Kinny, a family torn at the seams.

Binny ran away from her home at a tender age with a man she thought she was in love with. Ashok is an aimless young man. Mahendra himself has been an unemployed man, and is a house husband. Kinni is a 14 year old girl not happy with making so many compromises in her everyday life, and crossing the threshold of being just a kid. And Savitri is the bread earner of the family, a woman with many wishes and desires from her and a woman who is perennially unhappy with the fact that the others in the family are not doing their bit. Not enough.

The first half of the play takes you through the threadbare relationships in the family, with Mahendra deciding to leave the family one day (which he does quite often apparently), and Savitri deciding to not care about anyone else’s but her own wishes. The number of times things are left half said makes the plot intriguing and you keep looking for the dirt that has been swept under the carpet. The secrets that every family has, the unexpressed emotions that often explain the expressed ones better.

The second half introduces two new characters – Jagmohan and Juneja. Jagmohan is from Savitri’s past and Juneja is a friend/mentor of Mahendra. How the endgame takes you to a very subtle understanding of human desires and how people keep looking for something more than what they have. The meaning of “Aadhe Adhure” is revealed here. That is what the play is all about.

As a cast, Mohan Agashe who plays 5-6 different characters (including Mahendra, Jagmohan, Juneja, etc.) , Lillette playing Savitri and the Rajeev playing the son are the pick of the lot. Rajeev has the angst of KayKay Menon, the way he carries himself. Lillette is the center piece of the play and is wonderful in her portrayal of a middle class woman, conservative in her life but liberal in her mind and actions. Mohan Agashe, with his subtle changes across the different characters that he plays is phenomenal. The personality swifts from the forgetful but lecherous boss to the playboyish Jagmohan, to the pedantic Juneja, and to the broken/frustrated Mahendra are extremely well played out.

It’s a two act play, and the set (which is the Nath household) is detailed but static. In fact, it is one of the more detailed sets that I have seen in recent times. Maybe, because, it must be a fairly old play. And the set is true to a low income household from a few decades back.

This one is not a comical fun play. Rather, it’s a play that makes you think too hard, and I am sure the Experimental Theater at NCPA (especially the side balcony seats) is not the best place to enjoy it from. But it’s an excellent play and must be enjoyed.

 

I would strongly recommend watching this one.

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Well.. I haven’t stopped watching movies, or plays…

Well.. I haven’t stopped watching movies, or plays, or listening to music that I want to talk about, or books that I have read that I want to let you know about. and its not that I have been totally deprived of time either! Yes, life has been a bit of this and that, but I think its more of outright laziness lately that has stopped me from writing!

So… Wassup? Me? Watched Shrek3, Cheeni Kum, Shootout at Lokhandwala and n number of Naruto episodes lately. [ Remind me to start writing about animation series like Naruto and Avatar-The Last Airbender as well]

Shrek 3 was neat, not as neat as 1 or 2, but neat nevertheless! Time well spent. Watched it at Eros, Nariman Point. It was a pleasant change to watch a movie from balcony for 60 bucks, in a really downtown location (people tell me that it doesnt get more posh than that in mumbai – South mumbai is “the” place!). I guess one of these days I would stop watching movies so frequently because I don’t think a movie like Shootout deserves even 25 bucks, leave aside 250 bucks! The movie was pathetic, to say the list. Rediff was right in commenting about the idiots who fund such movies. Cheeni Kum would have been a perfect movie if the length was shortened and Paresh Raval muted a bit! Tabu and Amitabh are cool, and its surprising to notice that they had a pretty cool chemistry! Its a good movie to watch!

At one time I really wanted to blast movies like Tara Rum Pum having watched the early shows. But thats some less blood on my hands! 😉

Watched a play – “Flowers” at NCPA. Its a monologue enacted by Rajit Kapur (Of Byomkesh Bakshi fame). (Here is a review that I largely agree with) . Same problem as Cheeni Kum. The length, though short by the standards of usual plays (90 mins), could have been shortened further. More so, because there was no change in scene, no pause, no other character but the protagonist, and no movements. Its about a priest who’s torn between his duties as a priest, his love for his wife and his lust for a courtesan. Its a 90 minute narration where the priest walks through the course of events, his emotions, his agony and conflict, paints images using his words, and makes us all visualize the drama! Rajit Kapoor managed to be ok. But the play was just not my kind. I don’t want to take the credit away from Rajit, but c’mon – I have a low attention span. I can’t concentrate on something for 90 minutes on the trot! Not a lecture from the greatest of professors, not the same song even if I am in love with it, nothing!

My analytics blog is still waiting for the remaining articles and a response to Amit’s comment.

There is a blogger meet on 9th June in Mumbai. I am still debating within myself if I want to attend! Should be fun. Lets see!

Theatre Watch: Karode Mein Ek

A Makarand Deshpande play, Karode mein ek is a very sensitive portrayal of a patriarch who has gone insane after losing his wealth due to the betrayal by his own brothers.

The story starts at a point where Bansidhar’s (Makarand) son (Yashpal Sharma) and his daughter-in-law are struggling with the whims and split identities of Bansi, who refuses to believe that he has lost his wealth and stature. He revels in his lost glories, has forgotten his young daughter who cannot stop caring about his father, remembers small anecdotes from his yesteryears, is in love with his younger son’s (an imaginary one) wife(again, imaginary!). Yashpal, on the other hand, is trying to fight for respectable survival, keeps running around courtrooms and people who can help him. The daughter’s husband keeps coming up with ideas that never work. Yashpal’s wife keeps living and enacting multiple identities (mother, daughter, wife, daughter-in-law) to meet Makarand’s whims. Yashpal’s son and daughter are trying to make a name for themselves so that they can earn some money for their family as well. And there is the “Sarkar” angle of a friend for whom Bansi used to write speeches, and who later becomes the parallel government of Mumbai. The story ends at Bansi’s split personality killing his brothers and acting like the police inspector who is in charge of arresting Bansi. Bansi eventually kills himself, and Yashpal, with all his frustrations with his father and of being a failed son, becomes partially insane himself.

It takes a while to realize how much pain everyone is going through. The frustration of loving someone, and the difficulties in dealing with reality are the essence of this play. Makarand, Yashpal and Ayesha take this play to a higher level through their performances. The use of stage is phenomenal with the “other room” where Bansi sits, the partial illumination to give the effect of hope that never dies, and the interplay of shadows to highlight split personalities, being just a few masterstrokes. Background score is good, but could’ve been better. The story does not seem very new, but the dialogues are extremely tight and smooth. The disappointments were some of the support actors like the son-in-law and the (imaginary) daughter-in-law.

If you get a chance, do watch it. Its fairly experimental, with a lot of comic moments and some great performances!

Theatre Watch: "One Small Day"

I happened to catch a performance of One Small Day at NCPA. Not quite sure if it follows the mood of watching an idyllic sunset at Marine Drive with special someones, but the play was good in some parts, and average in some.

Backdrops first – Directed by Jayant Kripalani, Produced by Anish Trivedi, and enacted by Dipika Roy and Anish Trivedi himself, the play traces the interaction between two very different, yet similar people, caught in a room together where the lady has come to kill the gentleman (in a self-redeeming effort of avenging her sister’s death).

First, about the cast and the people. Jayant is known for his wit, timing and acting, right from the days of the TV Series – “Khandaan”. Truly a man of great theatrical skills, Jayant lends his credibility and touch to this play. Anish, an ex-Investment Banker turned playwright, with his previous play “Still Single” going off the streets after an year of performances, started the Banyan Tree production company, and has a radio show on 92.5FM. Banyan Tree is one of the largest radio programming companies in India. Theatre, has been a recent foray for Anish and Banyan Tree. And for encouragement, the previous act (Still Single) did win him some good and some bad press. Dipika Roy has also been around in the theatre circuits for quite some time and has a list of impressive plays to her credit. Anish’s partner at Banyan Tree, she is Anish’s muse for sure given her role in Still Single as well as One Small Day.

Trivia: In the initial running of the play, Jayant was acting and Anish was directing. But for some reason, within a month or so, the roles were reversed.

Back to the play, which apparently is an inspired play. The original required people to take sides, define things as right or wrong, while Anish and Jayant’s effort is more on the humorous side. It’s not an intellectually challenging play, and plays for approximately 2 hours on the humorous/ satirical side of things.

Sheila (Dipika) barges into Bollywood Producer Hari Kapoor’s (Anish) office to kill him. His crime – Sheila’s sister Seema has committed suicide, after Hari failed to live up to his promise of casting her in a role. A heartbroken Seema ends up taking her life, but not before telling her sister why she is doing it. Having had a troubled childhood (after losing her mother at the age of 18, and father at the age of 22, Sheila raises her 14 year old sister all by herself. She has lived her life by the social norms of right and wrong, doing all the right things and sacrificing her “life” in return. She blames Hari for having lost the most important person in her life- Seema. Hari, over the course of a long conversation which fairly wittily tries to address the question of different personalities, insecurities, actions, motives, reality, people, emotions, individuality, sacrifices, choices, careers, and most importantly, the futility of it all, end up liking Sheila, and making out with her (not on the stage, of course! Indian audiences are not ready for that real a play as yet!). Sheila, however, having been pulled out of her shackles in the first half of the play, digs out Hari’s insecurities in the second half, and shooting him (not fatally, though) towards the end.

The play continues to hit upon the broken dreams and failed aspirations of each of the characters (Sheila, Sushma and Hari) and the roles they played in making them the kind of people they were. And the undertone used is –humor and sarcasm. The play is quite funny, with its wisecracks. However, the essence of a powerful script is that the audience should carry the play with them when they move out of the theatre. That does not happen here!

Background score used in the play is quite involved and in sync with the theme. The stage handling is very apt, and so is the use of the stage. The two actors have played their parts well. However, some of the estrangement and grief that two torn lives should have was missing in their performance.

Overall- a good effort. Can definitely be watched. Much better than spending a weekend on movies like “Just Married” or “HatTrick”

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