Two to Tango, Three to Jive
Bolly actor-director Saurabh Shukla drew a full house with his first stage act in 18 years — a ticklish take on mid-life crisis. As a man looking for some spice outside marriage, Shukla’s Parminder Sethi unwittingly flits from the straightforward Achint Kaur to the sexy Mona Wasu to the depressive Preiti Mamgain, and ends it all with a call to his wife: “Hello Pammi! Chal date pe chalte hain...”
Lillete Dubey, who till sometime back did plays only in English, brought her first Hindi act — Adhe Adhure, set in the ’60s. And the director-cum-leading lady made sure we stayed hooked to the 105-minute drama, living out Savitri and her family’s trials and tribulations. As “The Man or Aadmi” playing out four different roles, Mohan Agashe was a treat. Ira Dubey and Rajeev Siddhartha held their own as the docile, responsible elder daughter and the frustrated unemployed elder son.
“Amar jhuli te de uki” — a little encouragement from Thakurma (grandmother), on stage and off went everyone on a magical ride to the world of byangoma-byangomi and rakkhosh-khokkhosh. Based on Dakshinaranjan Mitra Majumdar’s Buddhu Bhutum and Lalkamal Neelkamal, the play by Calcutta Choir was lapped up by the young and young-at-heart, bringing back dusty memories for many. About 70 artistes breathed life into the characters under Kalyan Sen Barat’s direction.
Even before the curtains went up for the opening Theban dance, a menacing cawing sound set the tone for the Greek tragedy staged by Drishyapat. Directed by Anirban Bhattacharya, Oedipus featured Debshankar Halder as king Oedipus and Senjuti Mukherjee as Jocasta, the Theban queen and Oedipus’s mother. The Greek tragedy was contextualised to the present times. “We are raping mother earth every day in some way or the other,” explained Debshankar. While the costume, props and dances played a crucial role, it was Debshankar and Senjuti who held the audience captive. Jocasta’s spine-chilling scream on seeing a blind Oedipus, and the final scene where she stabs herself, lingered on well after the lights had dimmed.
Naye Natua’s adaptation of Rabindranath Tagore’s all-women play Lakshmir Pariksha had the audience in splits as actor-director Goutam Halder dressed up as the domestic help Kshiro and delivered a knockout. The transition of Kshiro from a servant to a stone-hearted queen once her wish is granted was beautifully portrayed. The use of lights, flamboyant costumes and live music gave the play a carnival-esque feel. Impromptu dance pieces with folk music in the background added to the experience.
With a bare stage except for three pillars and two chairs, Prachya, New Alipore, recreated the life and times of the women in Tagore’s life in Ashamanya. Madhumita Basu, who has also penned the script, and Biswajit Chakraborty touched upon the women in the Tagore household, narrating stories while a screen in the backdrop showed photographs and video clips. The song-and-dance sequences enhanced the feel of the play.
What they loved
“Ashamanya was a very interesting experiment.”
— Soumitra Chatterjee
“I have seen many productions of Oedipus but the one by Drishyapat was exceptionally good. My eyes were glued to the stage for the entire 90 minutes.”
— Joy Sengupta, actor
“I must have read Thakurmar Jhuli back in second standard; the props and actors on stage seemed so real! I am sure even the elders will fall in love with the play.”
— Agnibha Mukherjee, Class VII, Frank Anthony Public School
“Adhe Adhure is a serious drama with a really good start that builds up beautifully. I last saw Lillete Dubey in an English play two years ago; she is a brilliant actor.”
— Mrinalini Majumdar, third year, Symbiosis Law School
“Debshankar Halder and Senjuti Mukherjee were outstanding in Oedipus. They were so deep into their characters.”
— Indrani Ghosh, who lives in Mumbai
“Ashamanya’s basic premise might not be new but I loved the correlation between the songs and each of the women. Plus, the play overall.”
— Saheli Goswami, actress