The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Script steals passion

Theatre, for its latent character of emotional exhibitionism, lends itself well to stories of repentance and forgiveness.

But the protagonist for such plays must essentially be a strong script.

And thatís where Aapon Maanuh, an Assamese adaptation of a Bengali play by Mohit Chattopadhyay, fails.

Staged on the opening day of the R.G. Barua Memorial Jyotirupa Drama Festival at Rabindra Bhawan early this week, the play fell short on two points ó passion and logic.

The story goes like this:

Putul, an ageing former militant, seeks refuge in the house of Parashu, a man whose son he had killed during an operation two decades ago. Now suffering from a heart ailment, Putul hopes to spend the rest of his days with Parashu.

When Parashu, his daughter-in-law Nibha and grandson Nilu come to know of Putulís real identity, they refuse to accept him as their guest and ask him to leave. In a rather melodramatic turn of events, Putul suddenly falls seriously ill, throwing the family into a deep dilemma. Nilu, whose father Putul had killed, out of a deep sense of humanity, calls a doctor and saves the manís life.

Despite the actorsí best attempts, lack of attention to finer details made the performance jarring.

The audience goes home with unanswered questions, which should have been addressed on stage.

For example, how did an unknown man gain entry into a family so easily?

And why was his identity revealed so casually?

The props were minimal but suggestive.

The light design, though not imaginative, was more or less flawless.

The less said about the music and the sound design the better.

The four main actors, Abdul Mazid, Debajit Mazumdar, Mitali Sarma and Tapan Kalita tried their best. But except for octogenarian Mazid, none of the others show any insight.

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