The Descendants

The George Clooney starrer Descendants has won two Golden Globe awards, and received glowing reviews from the media around the world. Shot in the scenic Hawaii islands, the story deals with the tribulations of a lawyer with two daughters, whose unfaithful wife is in coma after a water accident. The movie is indeed well made, for it takes the luxury of spending sufficient reels depicting emotions and moments that require a good amount of space and time. The performances are praiseworthy, all natural, instinctive reactions interwoven around important moments. And yet, how mean, narrow and devilish is the plot! Nobody, none attached with this production, the novelist onwards, seems to have had the balls to acknowledge that at least a modicum of respect is due to a character, who chooses to start a new journey inside a marriage and is seeking divorce. She must be killed, and no one must say one good word, all property deals closed, and anyone who comes...
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Natak Achha Hai, Zaroor Dekhna

Sometimes a low-budget production can entertain and educate more with its directedness and relevance than some other lavish plays. With this play, Rang Nirvana Theatre, which did a wonderful job with its last performance, ‘Saiyyan bhaye Kotwal’, has returned to stage with biting poetry, a socio-political message, and some candid performances. The play, directed by Rakesh Sharma, is a set of three short skits, all performed by Nauman Sarwat Azam and Abhijit Agarwala, and each introduced by a poetical prelude. The poet (Puneet Sharma) introduces us to the true meaning of art, by comparing poems with crops grown by poor farmers. Contrast amorous hearts with empty utensils, white pigeons with red seeds, true love with fake encounters and judge whether the art you admire stands on solid ground. The first skit presents before us a unique dilemma – a sowing machine’s needle breaks every time the machine is run. Shall we repair the machine, or keep changing needles? We know the commonsense...
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Ok Tata Bye Bye

Ok Tata Bye Bye The title of this play will be all too familiar to Indians and especially foreign tourists, who often wonder what this combination of familiar words, found painted on truck rears, could mean. In this play, written by Purva Naresh and directed by Rabijita Gogoi, the words take on a meaning larger than a mere chance association. The goods carrying trucks speeding on the highways of interior India are a source of money making, the age old way, for some communities thriving on prostitution. The dhabas (roadside eateries), Sardar (Sikh) drivers, and the famous title phrase are now the stuff of popular culture. Lesser known is the existence of the communities, whose girls, often minors, would have carried on their profession unknown to the rest of the world, had the spread of AIDS not brought them into the radar of NGOs.   The play takes off from the perspective of two documentary makers, Pooja (Ahlam Khan Karachiwala) and the foreigner Mitch...
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Preth Play Review

Though we live in modern times, native wit and wisdom strikes a deeper chord within us when used to tell stories, such as ‘Preth’, written (with Naresh Saxena) and directed (with Gopal Tewari) by Purva Naresh. A simple folktale tells the story of how a goddess agreed to follow a small tribal king as long as he did not turn around to look back at her, which would turn her into a statue. He eventually does, tricked by her silence, and thus begins the history of a small tribal kingdom and its ignorant and superstitious people, ruled by an autocrat, on whose cry of ‘murtivat’ they must turn into lifeless statues in order to pay respect to their goddess. One of them is Alha (Rahul Sharma), living with his wife Lachhi (Trishla Patel). Alha must run for his life, as he has witnessed the killing of a beggar who dared to move during one of the ‘murtivat’ moments, when the courtiers turn...
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