Posts Tagged Gujarati

Mela at Naatak – Play Review


Currently Bay Area’s naatak company is presenting its 59th production at Cubberley Theater in Palo Alto.  This production is naatak’s annual “mela”, a sort of theater fair. There are five short plays in five Indian languages; Marathi, Tamil, Gujarati, Bengali, Hindi and Improv comedy in Hinglish. English subtitles are projected for each short play above the stage. This is an absolutely beautiful way to showcase and enjoy India’s rich linguistic and cultural heritage. After a span of 21 years, naatak can proudly claim to have broughts 55 world class plays on stage. Over 850 performers have participated in these productions and 60,000+ attendees have enjoyed these shows.

पाचव्या मजल्यावरचा वेडा  – The Mad Man On the Fifth Floor – Marathi

The script for Marathi play is written by Anil Sonar. It is produced by Adwait Joshi and brilliant direction is provided by Anannya Joshi. A madman precariously positioned on the ledge of a fifth floor window is being watched by the crowd below. Some have deep concern and others don’t want to miss the excitement and yet some others are waiting with anticipation to the gruesome climax of the show with the madman jumping to his death. But what is this man up there? What is his story?

 লোকে কি বলবে? – What will people say – Bengali

Directed by Sudipta Chatterjee and produced by Deepika Sriraman, and based on “He Said, She Said” by Alice Gerstenberg, this Bengali play is translated and adapted by Sudipta Chatterjee and Harish Agastya. This short play focuses on the favorite Indian pass time, “gossip”. Casting is beautiful. A woman shares some juicy gossip about a romantic dalliance involving some friends. So interesting is a role played by gossip specially of romantic nature, in Indian culture, that targets of such gossip are often compromised and vilified so strongly that they can’t just let it go but instead feel compelled to justify, defend and give excuses. Will the gossipy woman have finally met her match in the strong woman targeted by the gossip?

Naatak Improv Hinglish

Naatak organization has matured so phenomenally that it can boldly brag to present improv comedy that is spontaneous and creative. In this short segment directed by Neha Goyal and Abhay Paranjape, a brilliant cast of characters perform improv games based on audience suggestions.

காஞ்சியின் துயரம் – A Tragedy in Kanchi – Tamil

Based on “A Florentine Tragedy”, a never completed play by Oscar Wilde, this play is set in 1930s during the Chola period, whereby a silk merchant confronts his beautiful wife and her royal lover. Will the play have an ending that befits the crime? Tamil speaking audience members are likely to greatly enjoy Kalapathy Sundaram’s brilliant translation. The projected English subtitles give some clue but it is hard to fully enjoy Wildesque witticisms in fast projected subtitles. Directed by Soumya Agastya and produced by Archana Kamath, this short play could well be Tamil speaking literature lovers’ treat.

 खिड़की – The Window – Hindi

Based on “The Open Window” by Saki (H H Munro) and adapted for the stage by Mugdha Kulkarni, is also directed by Mugdha Kulkarni and produced by Chaitanya Godsay.  This is a mystery about a missing husband, where an open living room window comes to play a significant role. The fear experienced by a young visitor is palpable and imaginative description of the lost man gives no clue to his disappearance until…………. Well, you’ll have to see it.

સાંભળ, તું બહાર જાય છે? – Everyone loves an errand boy – Gujarati

Based on Saadat Hasan Manto’s play, “Aao baat suno” this short play is adapted by Paresh Vyas and Vikas Dhurka and is directed by Natraj Kumar and produced by Devika Ashok. A lazy Sunday is transformed gradually into a comedy of errors, err…. into a comedy of errands. O M G — it is hilarious and also features the best dialogue, “Et tu brute” errr…. “Et tu Rajesh”.

For tickets to Naatak’s 59th Mela production, go to www.naatak.com .But hurry. There are only 2 more shows and tickets are selling out fast.

 

Advertisements

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Gujarati microfiction: કોણ કોને શીખવાડે…..


ગુજરાતી microfiction – કોણ કોને શીખવાડે…..
દર્શના વારિયા નાડકર્ણી

મારા 7 વર્ષના દીકરાએ બીજી વખત પૂછ્યું, “હવે કેટલું દુર જવાનું છે” ત્યાં સુધી મેં તેના પ્રશ્નો નો જવાબ ન આપ્યો. પણ ત્રીજી વખત સવાલ પૂછ્યો ત્યારે મેં કહ્યું, “ભૈલા, સાહિત્ય અને કવિતા ની ચોપડી ઉપાડ અને કવિતા ગોખવાની છે તે ગોખી લે ત્યાં સુધીમાં પંહોચી જઈશું. ચોપડી ઉપાડીને ખોલ્યા વગર બારી માં થી બહાર જોતા મનોમન તે બોલ્યો “કવિતા તો હું ગોખી લઈશ પણ મારા કુટુંબ નું શું કરું? મારા સિવાય કોઈને ગણિત ની સમજ નથી. મારી મમ્મી ને કેટલા માઈલ જવાનું છે તે જવાબ આપવાનો હતો તેને બદલે કવિતા ગોખવા બેસાડે છે”.

માઈકોફ્રીક્શન વાર્તા એ આ મહિનાની બેઠકનો વિષય છે. બીજી ઘણી વાર્તાઓ શબ્દોનું સર્જન બ્લોગ ઉપર જરૂર વાંચશો। તેનું લીંક છે
http://www.shabdonusarjan.wordpress.com .  

 

, ,

Leave a comment

અજંપો (restlessness) – Gujarati Poem


ચશ્માં પહેર્યા છતાયે બધું ધૂંધળું દેખાય છે
હોઠે સ્મિત તોયે આંખેથી ઉદાસી દેખાય છે

હોળીની પિચકારી ના રંગ નીખરતાં નથી
લીલીછમ વસંત ઋતુ પાનખર  જણાય છે  

તડકે ત્રાસ થાય છે પણ છાંયડે ગમતું નથી
ઠંડી હવાની લહેરખી દિલને દજાડી જાય છે

જાણ છતાં કે પ્રીત પત્થર સાથે બાંધવી નહિ
રહી રહી ને નજર પથરાળા રસ્તે મંડાય છે

સાથ સૌનો તોયે દિલબર કેમ ભૂલાય ના  
માનવીના ટોળા વચ્ચે એકલતા અનુભવાય છે

, , ,

3 Comments

Gujarati Photo Haiku – ગુજરાતી હાયકુ


કેલીફોર્નિયા માં વરસાદ!!

આ જાપાનીસ હાયકુ માં જાણે

અમદાવાદી ચાતકનો સાદ

 

ફૂલની ખીલતી કળી

મસ્તીભરી વસંત ઋતુ, જુવાન પ્રેમીઓ

વૃદ્ધ વૃક્ષને છાયડે

 

, ,

1 Comment

Breakup & Makeup – “કિટ્ટા અને બુચ્ચા”: Gujarati Story


બેઠક નો આ મહિનાનો વિષય છે “કિટ્ટા અને બુચ્ચા”.  નાના બાળકો માટે કિટ્ટા અને બુચ્ચા ખેલ સમાન છે તો ક્યારેક આ નાજુક વાત મોટાઓની ઝીંદગી હચમચાવી નાખે છે.  તો સાંભળો નીચેની વાર્તા.  બીજી સર્જનાત્મક રચનાઓ http://www.shabdonusarjan.wordpress.com blog ઉપર જરૂર વાંચશો

રમોલાનો જન્મ થયો ત્યારે રમણીકલાલ ની ખુશી નો પાર નતો રહ્યો.  તે પોતે ઘરે ઘરે પેડા આપવા ગયેલા.  રમોલા તેમની આંખ ની કીકી સમાન અને તેને ક્યારેય કોઈ બાબતમાં ઓછું આવવા નતું દીધું.  રમોલા ઉપર જેટલો પ્રેમ તેટલીજ તેના ઉપર કડક નજર રાખેલી.  એટલે જયારે રમોલાએ ભાગીને નાત બહાર જ નહિ પણ યહૂદી સાથે  લગ્ન કરી લીધા ત્યારે રમણીકલાલ ને તો જાણે કોઈએ દિલમાં કટાર મારી હોય તેવું લાગ્યું.  સગા વહાલામાં મોઢું કેમ બતાવવું?  ઘડીકવાર તો એમ થયું કે હવે જીવવામાં કંઈ રહ્યું નથી ને આવા જીવતર કરતા તો આપઘાત કરવો સારો.  તેમનો ગુસ્સો તુરંત જુદી રીતના નિર્ણય માં બદલાઈ ગયો.  રઘુકાકા આવ્યા ત્યારે રમ્નીક્લાલે કહી જ દીધું કે “રમોલા સાથે હવે મારે કઈ લેવા દેવા નથી.  મારે માટે છોકરી મરી જ ગયી છે”.

Crystal Blouse with Broad Back Neck | Saree Blouse Patterns

સવિતાબેને તો રમણીકલાલ ને સમજાવવાની કોશિશ કરી “કે ગમે તેમ તો પણ આપણું લોહી છે, તેની સાથે થોડી આખી ઝીંદગી અબોલા કરશું”, પણ તેમનો ગુસ્સો જોઇને વાત પડતી મૂકી.  થોડા વખત પછી જયારે  સવિતાબેન રમોલાને મળવા ગયા અને જોયું કે દીકરી સુખી છે પછી તેમણે રમોલા પાસે વાત મૂકી કે દીકરા હવે તું પપ્પા પાસે જા અને સમજાવ.  પણ રમોલા પણ તેના પપ્પા જેવીજ હઠીલી.  થોડાજ વખતમાં રમોલાને મહિના રહ્યા અને સવિતાબેને પાછી  બંને ને સમજાવવાની કોશિશ કરી અને પાછી  વાત જવા દીધી।  છેલા દિવસોમાં છોકરી ઘરે આવે તેની બદલે સવિતાબેન જ રમોલાને ત્યાં રહેવા ગયા અને ડીલીવરી પછી તુરંત ફોન માં રમણીકલાલ ને સમાચાર આપ્યા.  પછી તો સવિતાબેન અવાર નવાર રામોલની નાની બેબી ને સંભાળવા રમોલાને ત્યાં જાય અને આવે ત્યારે રમણીકલાલ ને રીન્કી ની મીઠી મીઠી વાતો સંભળાવે.

એવામાં એકવાર રમોલાના હસબંડ ને નાની ચાર દિવસ ની ટુર નું ઇનામ મળ્યું.  સવિતબેન ક્યે “તમે બંને ફરી આવો, હું રીન્કી પાસે રઈશ”.  રમોલાને પપ્પાની ચિંતા થઇ પણ સવિતાબેન બોલ્યા “પપાનું  હું સાંભળી લઈશ. ને મને ચાર દિવસ રીન્કી સાથે મળશે”.  સવિતાબેન રીન્કી ને સંભાળવા ગયા અને આ બાજુ રમણીકલાલ ને થોડો દુખાવો શરુ થયો અને પાડોશી તેમને હોસ્પિટલ માં લઇ ગયા.  ફોન ઉપર સમાચાર સાંભળ્યા એવા રમોલાબેન રીન્કી ને લઈને હોસ્પિટલ પહોચી ગયા.  બધી તપાસ પછી ખબર પડી કે ગેસ ને લીધે દુખાવો થયેલ અને ડરવા જેવું કઈ હતું નહિ.  સમાચાર સંભાળીને રમોલા પણ ડરી ગયેલ અને તેણે તુરંત પાછા આવવાનો નિર્ણય કર્યો.  પણ સવિતાબેને કીધું કે “હવે રીન્કી ને હું ઘરે જ લઇ જાવ છું અને પપ્પાની તબિયત સારી છે એટલે તમે આરામ થી રયો અને પાછા આવવાની ઉતાવળ કરશો નહિ”.

માત્ર અઢી વર્ષની થયેલ રીન્કી રમોલા જેવી જ બોલકી.  રમણીકલાલ તો તુરંત તેને બાગ માં લઇ ગયા, આઈસ્ક્રીમ અપાવ્યો અને રમકડા લઇ આપ્યા.  એકજ દિવસમાં દોસ્તી પાકી થઇ.  રીન્કીએ નાના ને છોટુની વાત કરી, “નાના બાજુમાં છોટુ રયે છે ને તેની સાથે મારા કિટ્ટા છે.  કેમકે તેના કાકા એક રમકડું લાવ્યા હતાને તે દિવસે હું ગઈ ને તો છોટુ એ મને રમવા ન આપ્યું.  છોટુ ક્યે આજે તો હુજ રમીશ.  પણ હવે હું બુચ્ચા કરું? હવે તો બીજો દિવસ થયો એટલે તો મને આપશે જ ને?”  રમણીકલાલ ક્યે “રીન્કુ બેટા એવા કજિયા ન કરાય.  તું બુચ્ચા કરી લે.  પછી સાથે રમવાની કેટલી મજા પડે?  છોટુ તો તારો દોસ્ત છે ને?”  રીન્કી પૂછે “નાના તમે અને મારી મમ્મી દોસ્ત નથી?”  રમણીકલાલ ક્યે “એવું કોણે કહ્યું?”  રીન્કી ક્યે “મને ખબર છે કે તમારા કિટ્ટા ચાલે છે અને તમે તો અમારી ઘરે ક્યારેય નહિ આવો ને મમ્મી અહી નહિ આવે”.

રીન્કી ના કાલા કાલા શબ્દોમાં હમેશ ના કિટ્ટા ની વાત સાંભળીને રમણીકલાલ ની આંખમાં આંસુ આવી ગયા તે સવિતાબેને હળવેકથી જોઈ લીધું ને મનોમન બોલ્યા આ બંને બાપ દીકરી એવા હઠીલા છે કે હવે તો ભલે આ નાની છોકરી જ બેય ની સાન ઠેકાણે લાવે, મારે તો કઈ બોલવું જ નથી.  સાંજે નાના નાની સાથે છુપા છુપી રમતા રીન્કી ક્યે “નાના તમને ખબર છે, નાની તો મારા બેસ્ટ ફ્રેન્ડ છે”.  રમણીકલાલ ક્યે “લે રીન્કી તને તો ઈંગ્લીશ બોલતાય આવડે છે?”.  રીન્કી બોલી “આ તો મારી મમ્મીએ શીખવાડ્યું છે.  મમ્મીએ કીધું કે એ નાની હતી ત્યારે તમે મમ્મીના બેસ્ટ ફ્રેન્ડ હતા”.  રીન્કી ક્યે “મારી મમ્મી મારા માટે રમકડું લાવશે ને તે હું છોટુ ને રમવા આપીશ ને પછી હું અહી તમને રમવા માટે લઇ આવીશ, પણ મારી મમ્મી ખીજાશે નહિ ને?”  નાની ક્યે “તારી મમ્મી એમાં શા માટે ખીજાય?”  રીન્કી બોલી “નાના ને મમ્મીના કિટ્ટા ચાલે છે ને?”

સવિતાબેન રસોડામાં ગયા ત્યાં ફોન રણક્યો.  મોટે ભાગે આ સમયે રમોલા નો ફોન હોવો જોઈએ પણ રમોલા તો તેમને મોબાઈલ ઉપર જ કરે ને આ તો ઘરનો ફોન રણકી રહ્યો હતો.  સવિતાબેને રમણીકલાલ ને કહ્યું “જરા ફોન લ્યોને, હું કામમાં છું”.  રમોલાએ પપ્પાનો અવાજ સંભાળ્યો ને તરત પૂછ્યું, “કેમ છે પપ્પા હવે તમને?”  રમણીકલાલ ક્યે “સારું છે બેટા. બધા પાસે ખોટી ચિંતા કરાવી.  પણ આ બાને રીન્કુ સાથે બહુ મજા પડી ગયી”.  રમોલા ક્યે “અમે સાંજે આવવાના છીએ ને  મમ્મી કામમાં હોય તો તેને કેજોને કે કાલે જ રીન્કી ને લઇ આવે”.  રમણીકલાલ ક્યે “આજે સાંજે આવવાના છો તો પછી સીધા અહી જ આવજો અને જમીને નિરાતે ઘરે જજો, હું તારી મમ્મીને કહી દવ છું”.  સવિતાબેન રસોડામાં આ સાંભળી ને આટલા વર્ષોના ઝઘડામાં બધા આંસુ પી જતાતા તે  આજે ધ્રુસકે ધ્રુસકે રોઈ પડ્યા”.

તો થઇ ગયાને  બુચ્ચા?  દોસ્ત ન હોય તો રમવાની મજા ન પડે અને ઉપરવાળાએ ચાર દિવસ રમવા આપેલ એવી આ જિંદગીમાંથી અઢી દિવસ કિટ્ટા કરવામાં બગાડવાનો શો અર્થ?  

, , , ,

Leave a comment

Party – Play Review


Naatak company is formed by a group of theater enthusiasts of Indian origin, in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Since it’s founding in 1995, Naatak company has made huge strides in prominence and stature by bringing quality live theater, with Indian and Indian-American themes, on stage, in the bay area.  Naatak has now introduced season passes to enable regular theatergoers the convenience and price deal, for its outstanding performances.

The current play “Party” is based on original Marathi play, written by Mahesh Elkunchwar, in 1976.  Directed by Ravi Bhatnagar and Alka Sippy, the play is meant as a satire, aimed at India’s urban elite.  Based on some comments from my friends who have seen the original play in Marathi and/or the Hindi movie that came out in 1984, it was a highly intelligent satire of the pseudo-elite, the patrons of the arts and literature who nevertheless lived hypocritical lifestyles and held conflicting values.

The acting by a big cast of almost a dozen people in this play is fantastic, as has been typical in all Naatak plays.  The scene is the party hosted by  Damyanti Rane, in honor of a well known playwright, Diwakar Barwe, who is at the pinnacle of his success. Basab Pradhan, as doctor who is attending the party because he is Rane’s friend, has done a beautiful job of delivering his satirical lines, with a straight face.  Referring to Rane’s guests, he tells Rane at the beginning of her party, “why must you go on collecting these nut cases?” Sindu Singh and Vijay Rajvaidya are fabulous as Rane and Barve, respectively.  Only as the party progresses, the skeletons and the hidden agendas, the fears, and the disillusions harbored by these party-goers become apparent.   Barwe confesses to Rane that his work has not had much originality and he has held his top spot only because he defends his turf and discourages other budding writers.  His gorgeous live-in girlfriend, Mohini, a former actress (nicely played by Priya Satia), is in fact, addicted to alcohol and lives in the imaginary world of being deeply in love with Barwe, though he does not love her any more.

Snigdha Jain has done a great job with superb set design.  Manish Sabu and Anubha Prakash’s work with English sub titles is excellent. If you are not well versed in Hindi, you won’t miss the fun because English sub titles appear in a timely way, right above the stage.  Asheesh Divetia is perfect in his role as Bharat, a budding writer, who is plagued by insecurities, interspersed with moments of great insights and clarity.  Nandita Kant, in the role of Vrinda (Rane’s plain looking daughter and an unwed mother) seems to be the only genuine person at the party.  She spurns unwanted advances from her mother’s friend and suitor, Agashe, played by Puneet, before she confronts her mother about her superficial world that feels so alien to her.

The problem however, is that none of these interactions seem like extraordinary events that make a great story.  They also don’t feel like immensely ordinary events that the audience would deeply identify with and would move the audience.  They sort of just hang in there.  The satire in this play seems to fall flat, the dialogs are not supremely witty, jokes are not rip-roaringly hilarious, and none of the characters display huge depth or intensity.  I went to see the play with my friend and her smart, literature enthusiastic daughter, Sonia Mahajan, who is a freshman at a local high school.   After the play, I asked her what she thought of the play.  “Nothing happened”, she said.  I think that about sums up how this play came through.

The only things that happen of any consequence, were with a character who is absent from the stage, and whom we hear about  from Joginder (Ishmeet Singh), a local reporter.  Amrit, a promising writer-poet, is concerned with the plight of the tribal people and in stark contrast to these elitist party-goers, he indicates his commitment to the society through his actions, residing and fighting on behalf of the tribal people, seeking justice for them.  Despite fabulous acting by a brilliant cast, the play is not riveting.  Perhaps some brilliance was lost in translation.  More specifically however, these pseudo-intellectuals or elites in 1970s India, just seem like ordinary people, with ordinary concerns, and ordinary hypocrisies, in the 21st century, America.  At best, “Party” feels like an annoying party one is attending out of obligation and can’t wait to go home.  

I want to give credit to the NAATAK company for bringing a wide variety of topics, on stage.  Not every topic or theme can be perfect and resonate with every member of the audience.  The diversity and variation of subject matter serves to enhance the perspectives of Bay Area theater-goers, particularly those interested in themes related to the Indian sub-continent.  I have seen the play “Disconnect”  when it was performed at San Jose Rep, that will be presented by NAATAK in June.  Here is a link to my review –http://bit.ly/14uuKgm and I would absolutely highly recommend it.  With NAATAK casting and direction, it is likely to be absolutely brilliant.   There will be one or two more shows of “Party” and tickets and/or season passes can be purchased at www.naatak.comPARTY

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

2013 Year-in-Review – Year about expanding perspectives & moving out of comfort zones


Previous years’ turmoil continued in 2013 with debates around healthcare, privacy, race, gun control, weather and more, coming to a boiling point.  Everyone was persuaded to move out of their comfort zones, from Paula Dean (on race remarks) to those shocked by Sandy Hook shooting and Boston bombings (would gun control have an impact on curbing mass violent acts) to Obamacare (so many mishaps and jury is still out in terms of long term impact) to Pope St. Francis of Assisi (if Pope is sounding more like Jesus and embracing humanity, how are those entrenched in the church’s doctrine and dogma to make sense with any of it) to archaic “stand your ground” laws.  World events also compelled national leaders to expand their perspectives and confront moral issues around Syria (as the world sits by helplessly, a country of 21M has created 2M refugees and 120,000+ have died), China (flush with economic power, flexing its muscle), enormous legacy and impact of Nelson Mandela (lesson to insist on justice and then follow it with compassion and forgiveness).  And Mr. Obama has communicated that US delegation for upcoming Winter Olympics in Russia will include America’s openly gay athletes.  If storms and typhoons are any indication of winds of change, they were blowing stronger than ever, towards the year’s end.  Nearly 4000 people lost their lives and 4.4M people were displaced by super typhoon Haiyan, in Philippines.  In the US, tornados, thunder storms, black ice, freezing rain, and power outages, briefly turned the concern over from global warming to global freezing.  Winds of change are felt by many, as the job market has gotten stronger, housing market has markedly improved, stock market has rallied, hiring has continued to pick up pace and unemployment has fallen to 7%.  Yeaaaaaa!!!!

As the year draws to a close, as a recruiter (focused on life science, biotech, and medical device companies that were lagging behind in the recovery), the pace of hiring is making me very busy and quite happy.  Please see my opportunities in JOBS category of my blog www.darshanavnadkarni.wordpress.com and send resume to wd_darshana at hot mail dot com.  The year was anything but uneventful, for me.  I saw nearly two dozen plays (check out my reviews in the Play category), countless movies, read many books, attended book clubs, attended many conferences and talks (many of which I have written about on my blog), and attended many wonderful Gujarati music events (on which I have written in Gujarati). As a certified blogger, as member of the “press”, with my complementary tickets to live theater, conferences, and other events, it has been a great pleasure to spread the love and introduce many friends to the joys of quality entertainment and other events and I have interacted or have gotten mentioned by actors, directors, authors, and got mentioned in ads.  It’s been a fun ride.

Both of us, my daughter, Neesha and I traveled.  Neesha completed the last semester of this year, in a study abroad program, at Glasgow, Scotland.  California girl absolutely loved Scotland, despite the weather!  She also traveled to London and met the huge Kothari clan and many cousins (my mom’s side of the family), and traveled to Ireland (also loved it) and greatly enjoyed learning Scottish dancing.  Neil is busy and IT is his life, so he says.  My mom is doing well and I am grateful to the angels watching over her.  I took absolutely delightful Mediterranean cruise and visited gorgeous islands of Greece (Athens, Mytilini, Mykonos, Heraklion) and mystical Turkey (Istanbul and Kusadasi).  And then I went on yet another fantastic tour and visited amazing China!  While the Mediterranean cruise tickled the senses, the trip to China, at the year’s end, expanded the senses.  (Do check out my travel writeups on my blog, – a new category that I started this year).

Wish you a wonderful holiday season at the year’s end, and an absolutely fabulous journey and many blessings in 2014.
Darshana
SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAIn Turkey, 2013

Glasgow bid logo

Neesha was in Scotland Glasgow bid logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Neesha was in Scoland and D in Forbidden City, Beijing, China
20131116_155539

 

 

 

, , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

God of Carnage – Play Review (Bay Area, CA – NAATAK Co. Production)


God of Carnage, a play written by Yasmina Reza (in French) and translated by Christopher Hampton, has been beautifully adapted to competitive Indian parents, meeting to resolve a playground altercation between their two young kids, in this production, by Bay Area’s prominent NAATAK company.  It is produced by Soumya Agastya.  In his debut in NAATAK, as a director, Mukund Marathe has done a splendid job, that couldn’t be far from perfect.

In this 90 minute play, two couples, Anita and Anil Srivastav visit Renuka and Mukul Desai, at the Desai home, to discuss the playground fight between their two children, in which Anita and Anil’s son’ knocked out two teeth of Renuka and Mukul’s son.  At first, the couples observe the civilities, mind their manners, and amicably discuss how to deal with the situation.  Acknowledging his son’s behavior to be aggressive, Anil says “our son is a maniac” and in a spirit of cooperation and to not assign blame, Renuka accedes “we try to fill the gap in the education system, take the kids on field trips and museums but there is violence in the system”.

However, soon the hidden ugliness appears.  As the meeting progresses from coffee to rum, as the masks come off, the gloves too come off, not just between one couple and another but at times between men against the women.  And yet these people are not criminals or psychopaths.  In these people, we can see us.  Some character we identify more with, and some less.  In some we see our neurotic friends, and in some our foes.  The complex mix of characters and their ordinary zanyness is what gives this play, depth and poignancy.  Satirical dialogs make you laugh uncontrollably.

The four actors have done a marvelous job of playing their semi-neurotic roles.  Divya Satia plays the role of Renuka, a writer who works part-time in a museum.  She is an activist whose life is defined by causes.  First, her forthright, authentic approach sucks the audience in and then her “holier than thou” tone is both hilarious and annoying.  Her husband, played by Puneet, is a wholesale business trader and at first he is infinitely accommodating, but he soon emerges as cavalier (who tires of his daughter’s hamster and just releases it in the wild), easily looses his temper, is racist, and says “child rearing is wasteful”.  Pooja Srivastava plays the role of Anita, a “wealth manager” attired in trendy suit, stilettos, branded purse and appears very cultured.  However, soon she can’t handle the tension, begins to get ill, throws up all over on the hosts’ coffee table, and laughs like a child, when she manages to grab her husband’s cell phone and throw it in a vase filled with water.  Harish Agastya is playing the role of Anil, a fascinating character of a smart but slimy corporate lawyer who is preoccupied with his pharmaceutical client dealing with problems of side effects of blood pressure medicine and is constantly getting calls from the client.  He comes to the meeting with the attitude of observing niceties, get it over with, and move on to tackle the problems of his client.

As the gloves come off, Anita calls Mukund a killer (for releasing the hamster in the wild and allowing it to fall prey to other creatures).  After defending himself, wiping off the soiled coffee table, cleaning the soiled books, Mukund pours himself a drink and says “I am starting to feel serene”.  His wife Renuka is bewildered that only she is concerned about what trespassed between the children and says, “I am the only one not feeling serene.  In fact I’ve never been so unhappy”.  Meanwhile, Atul who felt from the beginning that it was much hoopla about nothing, explains that Desai’s son refused to allow his son to be in his gang and therefore, he says, “my son did good to beat the shit out of yours”.  It is apparent that as parents, all four have their blind spots and they are hardly looking for someone else to tell them how to do their job of parenting.

These are four actors on top of their sport and they have done a fabulous job with good acting, of behaving badly.  Yasmina Reza once said, “Theater is a sharp reflection of society” and in this play, the mirror is held close.  While providing the philosophical depth, the play provides great entertainment with razor sharp humor.  Opening night performance was sold out and two remaining shows this weekend are expected to be sold out.  Go to www.naatak.com for more information.

God of Carnage

God of Carnage (Photo credit: angela n.)

Enhanced by Zemanta

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Madras Cafe – Bolywood Movie Review


The two early dialogues in the movie, during the discussion between Indian Government officials, give a preview of what is to come.  One of them asks, “who are we fighting” and another one says, “regardless of who is involved in the conflict and the reasons for the conflict, the common people suffer”.   In a war, does it ever remain clear as to who the enemy is and while for generals the war is fought on maps, common people bear the the real cross.

John Abraham gives an excellent performance, in the role of Vikram Singh, an intelligence operative assigned by the Indian officials, to run a covert operation in Sri Lanka, in the midst of the raging civil war.  Vikram is assigned the task of slipping into Jaffna, and infiltrate and sniff out the information about LTTE (by then dubbed a terrorist group) and then help weaken the militant group, by arming and supporting the opposition.  Vikram’s wife (Rashi Khanna) is unaware of her husband’s extremely risky covert operation and while Vikram has “a whole army” to support him, she fights “her battle alone”.  In telling this series of interesting historical events, leading up to the assassination of Indian ex-Prime Minister, Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, Director Shoojit Sircar has done a fabulous job in not going overboard.  The story is told without typical Bolywood song and dance masala, without exaggeration.  The story of true events marked by extreme violence and covert operations is effectively communicated in a way that conveys the seriousness and the importance of the events, without explicit use of torture or extreme violence.   Nargis Fakhri gives also gives excellent performance in her role as the British journalist, also without overdoing it.

Acknowledging the fact that true and complex history that unfolds over a period of several decades is hard to chronicle in a movie, a Bolywood movie nonetheless, with Bolywoodish expectations; the film chronicles it well.  Film has been criticized for portraying Tamil Tigers (LTTE) to be extremely militant, while not acknowledging the equally violent acts of Sinhalese army against the Tamil minority.  However, in telling any history, one can only go so far back and the film did make a mention of violence against the Tamil minority; in fact, that is where the film begins.  The film is very well made and I would rate it as 4.8 on a 1 to 5 scale, with 5 being excellent.

For anyone interested, I have tried to capture here, a brief history of the events.

Sri Lanka (or Ceylon, as it was know then) got independence from Britain, at the end of World War II.  Ceylon’s politically savvy workforce was clamoring for independence and formation of its own socialist party and they opposed all types of communalism.  The national bourgeoisie saw their power weakening and they responded with separatist and communalistic policies.  A new citizenship law disenfranchised the large numbers of Tamil plantation workers brought from India, during the British colonization period, as indentured labor.  The educated and organized Tamilians in Ceylon began making their own demands, and even began to demand their own separate state.  These demands were met with change in the constitution affirming Sinhalese as the state language and Buddhism as the state religion.  Against this backdrop, LTTE emerged and at first was crushed with severe violence by the Singhalese army.  The LTTE resorted to its own brand of terror and with the control of infrastructure and savvy organization, put up severe opposition.  The LTTE was at first armed by India, and later got out of control and then fought against India.  It came to be listed at a terrorist organization by 32 countries, including India and the US.  When Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister, he emphasized peaceful negotiation and fair elections and stressed that political solution was the only way out of this quagmire.  The LTTE opposed it and Mr. Gandhi was assassinated by first human bomb, by an LTTE member, specifically dispatched to India, for that goal.   Ultimately, in 18 year civil war, nearly 100,000 people died.  (At the time, the population of Ceylon was about 10 million).

An enlargeable map of the Democratic Socialist...

An enlargeable map of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Enhanced by Zemanta

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

આબરૂ – Gujarati Poem – Aabroo


આબરૂ

Seasons

Seasons (Photo credit: ganzoman)

હું તો આબરૂ સાચવું છું કરેલા પ્રેમની
ક્યાંક તું સમજે કે આ લાગણી કેમની

ક્યારેક હવાની જલકીમાં કે અતરની મહેકમાં
યાદ આવી જાય છે પણ વધારે બહેક ના

અમસ્તા ચાલતા તાજા કાપેલા ઘાસમાં
દિલ ભરાઈ આવે એ કઈ ખાસ ના

આંસુ ઉભરાઈ આવે નાહકના આમજ
તારા ખંભા ની જરૂર છે એમ ના સમજ

લાગણીના ઉમળકામાંયે વીતી ગયી ઝીંદગી
સંવેદનાની પળ પણ વીતી જાશે કરતા બંદગી

તારું ક્યારેક નામ લઉં, કરું જયારે ખુદાને યાદ
એ મારો નહીં, છે એ પ્યારની ઋતુ નો સાદ

ના માન કે તારી યાદ મને સતાવે
મારું હૈયું તો માત્ર કરેલા પ્રેમ ની આબરૂ સાચવે

Enhanced by Zemanta

, ,

Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: