Bollywood ka salaam…1950s ke naam

When theatre, the neglected granny of cinema, meets its wanton runaway celluloid child, we can expect great fun. This play doesn’t disappoint either, for it has gathered all the stereotypical roles, situations and dialogues that are now well ingrained in the Indian psyche. However, there is seriousness that lurks in the background. For the producers truly believe in the grandness of the schemes cooked up in the movies of this era, only to showcase the lowest common denominator of them all. A true meeting of the minds, and how much removed is the product today than it was in its own times? Or to ask a more relevant question, how much more advanced or regressed from today than in its own times? The kissing that we hear was so common in the cinema of 40s disappeared soon. So much for regression. If a boy and girl could meet and romance in public in the 50s, how advanced was that? One can surmise...
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Two plays

Dayashankar Ki Diary A monologue performed by Ashish Vidyarthi and directed by Nadira Zaheer Babbar. Deals with the struggles, failures and fantasies of a migrant struggling actor employed as a junior clerk. Dayashankar is perturbed by his poverty, lack of status and respect and failure to become an actor. Neither is he successful in wooing the MLAs daughter whose house he frequents. He is critical of the city life and its politics. A news report on the missing king of Nepal draws him into a world of fantasy, where he imagines himself to be the king. From a lighthearted comedy, the play transforms into the tragedy of Dayashankar imprisoned in the torture chamber of a mental hospital. The weakness of the play lies in its rather too realistic theme. Is it a just depiction of what awaits men like Dayashankar? Is it a portrayal of how cruel society can be to its failures? There is never any reference to movies and actors although...
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Pune Highway – Play review

Rage Production’s play Pune Highway has been travelling round the world with its intense and gripping one-night-on-the-highway drama. The show was recently staged on April 10 at Prithvi Theatre. Written and directed by Rahul Da Cunha, it is part of a trilogy woven around the theme of childhood friendships that have endured and lasted into adulthood. In the wee hours of the morning, three friends find themselves taking refuge in a dingy lodge off the Mumai-Pune highway. Harried, sweating and nervous, the trio has to bear the shabby and waterless room, a noisy love-making couple and the uncouth receptionist. Soon the reason for their discomfort is revealed – a fourth friend who has apparently been attacked and is lying dead on the highway. The friends make for an interesting circle – a better and horse gambler in his forties who loves his freedom (played by Rajit Kapoor), an immaculately dressed bald corporate executive with history of coke addiction (Shankar Sachdev),...
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Chaos Theory – play review

Drawing a houseful crowd, Rage’s play Chaos Theory was staged at Prithvi on April 8. A story of unexpressed love set in the communist spotted academia of the 60s and 70s in the US and India, the play tackles the intricacies of relationships that one forges in the halls and foyers of colleges – friendships that for reasons do not cross the boundaries of intimacy. The lead characters Mukesh and Sunita (played by Zafar Karachiwalla and Anahita Uberoi) know each other since their college days at St Stephens, where they studied English literature. Moving on to academic postings in the US, their lives seem to be inextricably linked, though there is no reason why that should be the case. In a world of chaos, two friends and admirers share each other’s professional woes and marital agony. The law of attraction follows them, binds them at crucial junctures in their lives, yet they must remain, by the same law perhaps, two separate,...
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