BRINGING MATTERS TO A HEAD

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By Ananda Lal
  • Published 21.07.07
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Shohan’s new offering, Helmet, directed by Anish Ghosh, finds the Bengali group attaining a peak in fluid acting and production values. These are boosted by Sanchayan Ghosh’s detailed mise en scène for a police station followed by a Calcutta crossroads.

The play itself, written by Rajat Ghosh, starts off on an entertaining note inside a typically dysfunctional thana with its clueless staff (picture). It would get lots of laughs if not for the fact that in this city, the state of law and order is no laughing matter.

The policemen have a problem: one of them has lost his headgear, which is eventually tracked down to the top of his traffic kiosk where he had placed it. Unfortunately, a pair of crows has laid eggs in it, and not only is nobody able to retrieve it, but PeTA activists insist that the nest should not be disturbed until the chicks fly away. Under pressure to protect the feathered fiends, the cops block traffic at this intersection.

All this makes great satire until the going gets serious as the enthusiastic police evict nearby pavement- dwellers too. The Ghoshes underline the contrast between preservation of avians and of humans. Helmet concludes on this grave social turn, at odds with the tone in the beginning.