Is it possible to keep the conflicts out of a household when the society outside is crumbling under communal tensions? This is the subject of the new play by the National School of Drama. The story revolves a secular household where the wife is a Hindu and the husband, a Muslim. They live as tenants with Daddu and his son, Sharad.
The members of the household live in harmony like many other households with laughter and love echoing from every corner, from the Madhu-Malati adorned windows to the white, neutral diwan. The lady in the front is Ipshita Chakraborty, the narrator who also plays the writer. The man in white dhoti-kurta is the actor Jagannath Seth who plays Daddu. The lady next to him is Sajida, who plays Shruti. The man behind her is Palash Protim Mech, who played Hanif and the man in green is Punj Prakash, who plays Sharad.
A large part of the play was enacted over this white divan which was Daddu's seat as well as the play area for the family.
The narrator with her impeccable prononciation carried the play with ease and dignity. The stage was set clearly with the ramp where she is sitting currently acting as the railway station, balcony, and street.
This rotating table was used cleverly to depict a corporate culture with the character in the limelight always facing the audience. This reminded me of my office because carrom was our lunch break activity as well.
The ramp doubling up to depict the saffron streets during a period of communal unrest. The white creeper near the window was the madhu-malati creeper planted by Shruti and Hanif.
Sajida who played Shruti, a writer and the Hindu wife of the Muslim professor Hanif. After watching many plays with her playing one part of the other, I had no doubt that she'd do justice to this part as well. And I wasn't disappointed.
Professor Hanif, played by Palash Protim Mech, with his students. He is shown to be a thoughtful and liberal man who is a successful writer as well as a teacher popular with his students. Throughout the play, this character is constantly struggling against being treated differently because he belongs to a minority religious community.
There are several actors who play multiple parts in a play and silently add to the depth of the story. For example, this actor in saffron was seen playing several parts, mostly of Hindu pandits and also silently changing the scene in the background.
Sukumar Tudu, another talented actor, who played part of the entire police force depicted by the brash and forceful Kapadia in the play. He is a brilliant actor and I have seen his performances in various plays before this as well.
The ramp doubling up as the stage for various scenes from the streets. The ramp was used very well throughout the play.
The scene where a shocked and confused Sharad gets a promotion. Very life-like conceptualization with tiny genstures such as the man in Pathani Kurta striking a pose when a picture is being clicked.
The director Ms. Kirti Jain being presented a bouquet after the completion of the play. The play was very complicated with each scene involving interactions between multiple characters.
Director Kirti Jain with Assistant Director Gargi Bharadwaj. I cannot help being impressed by the amount of talent these people have.
The entire team on the stage. The play has made me think. It raises issues and each character brings out various faces of our society. If you like watching plays, I recommend this one to you. For more details, check out: http://rangkarm.wordpress.com/2011/09/27/national-school-of-drama-repertory-company-presents-hamara-shahar-us-baras